Art Cars: The Blue Valkyrie
This was an awesome, incredible project.
Meet the Blue Valkyrie. She’s an ‘85 Toyota Cressida painted from grill to tail lights with a triple coat of Carribean Sea Krylon paint (yep, that’s a spray paint job!) The concept was to turn what had once been a modest-looking farm vehicle (I've hauled haybales and livestock in this thing) of an indeterminate grey-brown-silver-black color that no one could agree on, a car that just didn’t stand out, into something edgier– the goal was to turn her into a vehicle that had all the charm and sleek style of a fighter jet.
But why turn a boxy looking four-door sedan like this into something that looks like it came roaring out of a mad max movie (without the roll cages and spikes) or possibly like some kind of retrotastic space fighter? Well, the Blue Valkyrie has one incredibly endearing feature– like the Millenium Falcon or Serenity, she’s never looked like much, but she’s got it where it counts. Even with 200,000+ miles on her, she purrs like a kitten and handles a little better than a drunken spider. Applicable jokes from buddies and passengers include “She’s the car that made the Kessel run in less than 8 parsecs” and “Ship like this, be with you 'til the day you die.” She's like the modular little frieghter that could, and despite a few electrical problems that I've had to iron out and a few persistent fluid leaks, she's never let me down.
Probably her most eye catching feature though is the hood. I designed the image itself, and the design went through several incarnations before paint got anywhere near the hood, but the actual final "brush-to-car" painting you see here was literally done with brushes and acrylics, courtesy of a local tattoo artist who worked on it over a period of two days. I’m not much of an artist myself, and since my initial concept was really vague, we had a few disagreements about the design as it was coming together and ended up compromising on a few things (like the hair and the tattoo on her arm) The basic idea was to give it that “pin-up girl” feel, like something you might see on the side of an old World War II era fighter, and you can see elements of that in the “kill marks” spraypainted with stencil along the “nose” of the car.
Doing these marks was a lot of fun. It’s all black spray paint shot through printed, cut-out stencils, each of which only went so far. (White paper turns soggy the instant spray paint touches it) but this gave me incentive to put a lot more variety into the markings. Initially, it was all cats, dogs, a baby carriage and a disabled parking space (huh huh) but then later on, I added things like a shark and a couple of UFOs. (Not to mention the Zentradi, the WWI era Iron Cross Germans, and the one Imperial insignia peeking out from behind the leg of that EZ up in the picture.) Needless to say, this is a rig that’s seen some action– other marks include things like a guy mowing his lawn, Elvis, (added in the last six months) and a dreaded “@” sign.
- Brita Era - Artemis Ink
Tattoo artist who did the hood. Check out her tattoo pics!
All in all, I’m pretty proud of how this project came together. It’s a great car to take into town– the looks alone that you get are priceless. And the total cost? Well, if you consider that the car was less than a thousand dollars brand new, has required minimal maintenance for the last five or so years (think less than five hundred dollars) and that the total cost for all the paint and painting (minus the favors I received) was somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty dollars, it was a pretty inexpensive project.
And it’s not like this is a show car or something that just sits in the driveway– the Blue Valkyrie is a hardworking and dedicated utility vehicle, fully registered and papered. I take her out on the road almost every day, and she performs at a level of quality that is top notch, whether she's hauling people (seats five, maximum) livestock feed (fits up to two bales of hay, plus eight fifty pound bags of pellets or grain) construction supplies, landscaping materials, or firewood (she can hold a little over a yard of wood).
As of 8-11-11, the Blue Valkyrie has passed on to wherever awesome dead cars go. You can read the car's memorial by clicking here.