When Cars Are The Art

Some people may think that cars can't be works of art, but "art car" enthusiasts know otherwise.

Art cars are decorated by people from all walks of life, and no artistic ability is required. They can be made out of any automobile and made to fit any theme.

Some art cars are painted in crazy colors, while others have been shaped into new objects, such as shoes or slices of pizza. Art car decorations include holiday lights, magnets, beads and nearly anything else that can be glued or attached to the car.

Some "cartists" treat their art cars as sculptures, leaving them on display, but others drive their masterpieces around on a daily basis. This is the greatest difference between art cars and their cousins, mutant vehicles, many of which cannot be driven legally.

The art car movement gained momentum in the 1990s and has continued to gain popularity, especially in major cities. There are art car events all over the world, where cartists put their creations on display and compete for prizes and trophies. The competition doesn't create a hostile environment, however.  Cartist communities are very welcoming to each others' art.

One of the biggest art car shows is the Art Car Parade. Held annually in Houston, Texas, the Art Car Parade welcomes more than 260 art cars from around the country to compete for cash prizes in several categories, including "Best Painted" and "Best Contraption." Judges are usually high-profile names from the automobile and entertainment fields.

There are no entry requirements for Art Car Parade participants, and any decorated, wheeled vehicle can be entered, including bicycles, golf carts and lawn mowers. Nearly a quarter of a million people attend the Art Car Parade, often returning the next year as contestants themselves. If you attend an art car event, you may find yourself falling in love with these exquisite sculptures, too.

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