Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Low and Slow: The "Art" of the Lowrider

Mr Cartoon and Estevan Oriol at the Mesa Contermporary Arts Center (September 12, 2008 - January 11, 2009).

The exhibition will include Estevan Oriol's lowriding lifestyle photography, Mister Cartoon's 1979 Monte Carlo with a one of a kind flake paint job and car part "canvases".

The Chicano car culture, spawned on the boulevards of East Los Angeles, has sparked a form of art that's gaining acceptance in art galleries and museums worldwide.


Oriol has an archive of 200,000 photographs, out of which about 50,000 are on a lowriding theme. They have been used in more than a hundred magazines. Eighteen photos will show in Mesa.
The cars stand out on the road, but Hollywood movies often depict criminals using these cars as getaway vehicles.
"It's not realistic," Oriol said. "What can we do? We have to pay the price for that."
The price comes in the form of police stopovers.
"At the end of the day, they don't find anything wrong; why waste their time?" he asked.

His car

Oriol bought his first car in 1989, a blue-and-white 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS, in order to join a car club. He decorated, accessorized and added the lifting and lowering mechanics to the car over several years.
"It's just part of our culture, growing up around it, you get attracted to it," he said, adding "If you see my car, you'll understand. You can't take your eyes off of it."

Mister Cartoon

Although known for decorating lowriders, Mister Cartoon also tattoos rock stars, models and sports stars, including Eminem, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé Knowles. Recently, he applied his busy black-and-gray markings on Victoria Secret model Marisa Miller and Phoenix Suns center Amare Stoudemire, who plans to attend the Friday event.
"Like a black-and-white movie, tattoos never go out of style," said Mister Cartoon, who shares a studio, store and tattoo shop with Oriol in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row. They market their joint and individual collaborations, including apparel, shoes and multimedia art and design.
Mister Cartoon owns 13 lowrider vehicles, some of them in various phases of completion. His 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which sports a metal-flake paint job, a muraled frame and custom chassis, was craned into the Mesa Contemporary Arts courtyard and is the centerpiece of the "Low and Slow" exhibit.

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