Alien Art Car
ArtCar Brand inspiration comes from cars such as the Alien Art Car in the Houston Art Car Parade. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ArtCar™ Brand inspiration comes from cars — art cars — namely those in the Art Car Parade in Houston. Many of us have a love affair with cars that begins with that first car we get as a teen, that old junker we take on our first road trip. ArtCars preserve those old cars by giving them new life in pop culture.

The Art Car Parade got its start in Houston in 1984 with the donation of a 1967 Ford station wagon to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Arts for its annual auction.

Houston artist Jackie Harris transformed the car into a mobile work of art with a budget of $800 for paint and plastic fruit, and the group of six who bought the Fruitmobile donated it back to the foundation. Also in 1984, Ann Harithas curated an exhibit called “Collision” at Lawndale Art Center that featured two art cars. Art cars, it seemed, were all over on the streets of Houston that year.

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ArtCar Brand Inspiration Gets an Added Boost from Music as the Parade Hits the Road on Montrose Boulevard

Then, in 1986, Rachel Hecker and Trish Herrera organized a New Music Parade. It was held in conjunction with the New Music America Festival. Some 20 artist floats and art cars paraded down Montrose Boulevard, ending at the dedication of the Museum of Fine Arts – Houston sculpture garden.

A few months later, Susanne Demchak organized a “Road Show” with Houston-based Pennzoil at The Orange Show on June 29. The show featured The Fruitmobile and 11 other art cars. There were also lowrider demonstrations and children’s art bike workshops.

1,400 Houstonians attended the event including Bill Large, who became a fan that day and has been one ever since. Today Bill commemorates his first ArtCar Parade with his vintage ArtCar shirt.