It’s A Work Of Art (featuring Vic Lee)

Back in sixth form, I was studying an advanced GNVQ in Art and Design (fanfare please, I achieved a distinction) and the group headed to see the ‘Sensation’ exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts in London. This day is ingrained in my memory as I left really not knowing how to feel. Disturbed? Intrigued? Enlightened? 

Although the art included in ‘Sensation’ spanned many different styles and media, the shock factor tied them all together. Notable works included Tracey Emin’s tent titled ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With’, Marc Quinn’s ‘Self’ – a self-portrait of the artist created by filling a frozen silicone cast of Quinn’s face with ten pints of his own blood, and Damien Hirst’s iconic Formaldehyde shark – ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

This brings us around to our main topic, unlikely pieces of automotive art by Hurst, Quinn and Emin, which are tame in comparison to the ‘Sensation’ exhibition way back in 1997.

The Art Car

Some cars are considered a work of art in their own right, but some cars have been specifically designed to be next-level art projects.

Tracey Emin’s Fiat 500 (2007)

Emin designed vinyl wraps on four Fiat 500s in 2007. The first one, entitled ‘I Told You Not To’, sold at a charity auction for £42,000, although that same car sold for only £13,750 in 2011. One of Tracey’s other Fiat 500’s sold in 2008 for a whopping £200k.

Damien Hirst’s Audi A1 (2010)

This unique Audi decorated by Damien Hirst was the star attraction at one of Elton John’s auctions. The candyfloss pink paint-splattered Audi A1 was spin painted by Hirst in his Gloucestershire studio.

The German manufacturer sponsored the car for the auction, making it at the time, the eighth consecutive year Audi had supported Elton John’s AIDS charity event. The actual road-worthy A1 was sold at an auction for £350,000.

Marc Quinn’s Rolls-Royce Phantom (2019)

The modern Phantom art car was born from the collaboration between Rolls-Royce and British painter and sculptor, Quinn. He elevated the new Phantom to pure artwork on wheels, with the livery taking inspiration from Quinn’s ongoing series of iris paintings, named ‘We Share Our Chemistry with the Stars’.

The car was sold for £888,000 as part of a philanthropic event called ‘Evelina Art for Allergy x Dine on the Line’, hosted by the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood.

Unfortunately, I have not been up close and personal with the art cars mentioned above. However…

The team at WDA managed to see this stunning art car in-person at MsD Live, where it took centre stage at Silverstone. Radical Motorsport and Vic Lee‘s collaboration saw Vic live painting on a Radical SR8 at the amazing ‘Art on Cars’ event at Hedsor House. 

Vic Lee personally describes himself as an artist & illustrator, a mapmaker, muralist, inker, author, printer, dreamer & general ragamuffin. He also produced the McLaren Extreme E livery, and it’s amazing. The drawings on the car represented the Arctic, Ocean, Amazon and Desert, bringing together all the locations covered on the Extreme E race calendar in 2021.

To bolster the automotive artworks that Vic has undertaken, there is a limited number of hand-screen printed and individually hand-inked prints available, all finished with red detailing. These are signed and numbered, and you can choose a Porsche 911, Fiat 500 or a VW Camper from ‘The Road Less Travelled’ collection (for just £145) here


I invited Vic to answer a few questions…

What was the first car you owned?

“I should first go back before car ownership. My first vehicle was a 1972 Vespa 150 Super which I customised. I used to paint murals all over the bodywork. I was 15 at the time and bought the scooter for £25! Every 6 weeks I would sand the bodywork, respray and then hand paint and customise. Attending many a scooter rally across the UK.”

“My first car was a Mk 1 Ford Escort. I used to restore cars too and my ownership included a 1955 Ford Consul Mk 1, A 1965 Ford Consul Mk 2 and a 1968 Hillman Super Minx.”

Do you have a favourite Art Car?

“No, not really. I love painting on cars. It’s a real challenge from flat walls!”

What would be your dream car to ink on?

“I would love to do a Bentley/ Rolls Royce or any prestigious supercar. I like the idea of a classic British car due to my classic geezer tone of voice!”

Do you have a preference for digital doodles or physical doodling?

“Physical inking is so invigorating, there are no changes or reworks, I love the finality of making a mark. Though digital is also amazing. I use Procreate a lot for print projects. I adore the fluid lines you can create. I guess a mixture of both is the answer.”

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