Tom Cramer's BMW Art Car - 2007 Creation

I Won Art Car !

Jul 23, 2007

At Tom Cramer‘s (artist website) impressive 2005 show at the Mark Woolley Gallery, I really wanted to buy one of his works, but unfortunately it was almost completely sold out. In the 1990's Tom hand-painted over a dozen art cars for friends and the could be seen all over Portland and the Pacific Northwest. OPB's Oregon Art Beat episode on Tom where he discussed his Art cars. At 2:52 you can see a short montage of 5 of his cars.

As part of the DeSoto building opening, Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft a patron donated a 1977 BMW 320i and Tom donated 2 days his his time and wonderful effort to paint an art car. How cool is that.

This new art car was then raffled off to support the home of the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Below are some photos I took of the work in progress, never knowing my future with the car.

Tom Cramer Art Car being painted

After looking several of the galleries again, I went back to the car.

Tom Cramer Art Car being painted

Taking the above photo, I had a feeling it could actually be my car. Guess what? I won the raffle! AWESOME!!!

When I mentioned this shot to my dad he advised I should obscure the plate. …though it is going to be pretty easy to spot around town. The colors of the car are wonderful. For those who have looked at my art, you can tell I that like more subtle colors 🙂

Tom Cramer’s next show is at Laura Russo Gallery October 4-27 2007 (Review on PORT blog). I’m certainly driving there in my new ride.

Art Car Day 1

August 28, 2007

27th of July was day one of possession. I cruised around for an hour. The car created lots of smiles from all kinds of people on the street! Thanks Tom, awesome painting!

Tom Cramer Art Car first time home

I also want to thank Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft for setting this up and raffling it off.

Tom Cramer Art Car first time home

Tom Cramer Art Car first time home

The Portland Mercury story on the Museum of Contemporary Craft opening and the Art Car raffle.

Anna Fidler - Car history

Aug 13, 2007

Having just dropped a few bucks for a few art car repairs (no regrets!), I decided to flip through various service documents to get a feel for what upcoming service may be required.It seems beyond, of course, Portland artist Tom Cramer painting the car, the car may have crossed the path of another Portland artist. One of the service documents was a 2004 “consumer pre-purchase inspection” with the name “Anna Fidler” on it, could it be the same Anna Fidler who has had several shows at Pulliam Deffenbaugh. This would have been one year before she received her MFA from Portland State.I wrote about Anna’s recent opening in my blog my June 1st thur posting

  • (excerpt) Anna Fidler’s show rocked. They didn’t want me taking images so I’ll just point to "Theory of Levitation which I really enjoyed and suggest you just go and stand in front of for a while.

It looks like the she didn’t buy the car as the owners at that time latter did the repairs that were indicated on the pre-purchase inspection form.

Brad carlile art car raffle ticket

I later exchanged emails with Anna and found it was indeed her, but it was a light mint green at the time. This is a very fun little twist of art car history!

Tradition: BMW Art Cars

Sep 20, 2007

After getting my art car I’ve been hearing more and more about the art cars. I learned more about the making of the Andy Warhol's 1977 320i BMW art car (same year as my art car). Here is footage from the 1979 24 hours of Le Mans where it came in 6th place. Andy wrote, “I tried to portray speed pictorially. If a car is moving really quickly, all the lines and colors are blurred.Documentary on the Art Car (video is silent until 12:21)

Here is a list of the official BMW Art Cars:

More at BMW Welt and BWM Museum:

Tom Cramer Karmann Ghia

Oct 1, 2007

tom cramer carmen ghia 1965 sept 2007 art car

First of all, in October, Tom Cramer is having a solo show at the Laura Russo Gallery (805 NW 21st, Portland, OR). The opening reception is this 1st Thursday 4-Oct from 5-8pm. He has been doing some very interesting new work. I’m really looking forward to the show and the opening should be fun with two Art Cars there. 🙂

Some of you may have seen the Karmann Ghia in the photograph on the left around town (I haven’t seen it yet, but two of my friends have, including the photo on the left that is courtesy of LaValle Linn (copyright 2007). This is Tom’s brand new paint for his 1965 Karmann Ghia Art Car.

tom cramer carmen ghia 1965 sept 2007 art car

If you’ve seen a BMW painted in a similar manner that was also the work of Tom Cramer, but I own the keys to that 320i art car. If you’ve been following this blog you know that I won it as part of the Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts opening their new place.

Last month, I exchanged emails with Tom Cramer about how to take care of my art car. He told me what kind of paint he used and that was all I needed to figure things out. I told him what a joy it was to drive around in the car and he said mentioned he missed driving art cars, I guess he got busy. Fantastic!

There is also a image of Tom in the process of painting my BMW 320i art car in the September ’07 issue of the Portland Monthly (Vol 5, issue 9, page 48).

Olafur Eliasson BMW Art Car

Dec 4, 2007

Olafur Eliasson, was chosen to design the sixteenth BMW Art Car. Alexander Calder was commissioned to create the first one in 1975. You can see more about the previous cars in my posting: My car joins a tradition of BMW art cars; Eliasson started with the BMW H2R, an environmentally-friendly liquid-hydrogen-powered vehicle, striped it shell and transformed it. But it needs a special chilled environment maintain its 2-ton ice covering. At SFMOMA can see Olafur Eliasson’s art car in a installation called “Your Tempo” as well as his first American mid-career retrospective with works from the last 15 years called “Take Your Time”. At SFMOMA see “Your Tempo” until 13-Jan and “Take Your Time” until 24-Feb-08.

There is also a PORT review of his works.

Olafur Eliasson was selected by an international board of curators which met in April 2005 to discuss the future of the BMW Art Car Collection. The board consisted of: Bruce W. Ferguson, Dean of the Columbia University in New York, Pi Li from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Peking, Suzanne Page, Director of the Musea da Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Larry Rinder, Dean of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Donna de Salvo, Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Prof. Dr. Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Director of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

Art Car from Outer SPACE

Dec 4th, 2007

My art car has been spotted from outer space! It now joins the Great Wall of China as something that can be seen in outer space 🙂

Brad carlile art car from space

Art Car seen from Outer Space

I was showing a friend my new GPS-enabled phone and zooming in to a parking lot where I sometimes park, low and behold there was the art car from over a year ago captured by satellite imagery on google maps!

Brad carlile art car

Art Car in Parking Lot

In 2007, the satelites had less resolution, the resolution has since improved.

Art Car Urban Camo

Oct 18, 2008

My art car is hard to miss. which makes it very easy to find in a huge parking lot. For those of you wandering around with you key fob looking for flashing lights and listening for your horn, I would suggest an alternative - grab a brush and liberate your self from mono-color.

There is only one place in Portland that I could loose my car. I call it "Urban Camo"


Brad carlile art car camo with The Machinery by Tom Cramer

Art Car is where? My car the The Machinery mural by Tom Cramer

Brad carlile art car camo with The Machinery by Tom Cramer

Tom Cramer painted both my Art Car and The Machinery mural on N. Williams and Shaver in Portland Oregon

In 1989, The Machinery, at N. Williams & Shaver, was painted by Tom Cramer, and was restored in 2003, just as gentrification started on Williams. Cramer later painted a similar mural at Ciao Vito on NE Alberta.

In 2003, in a Portland Tribune article Tom talked about the The Machinery restoration project:

[Cramer's] original vision was to make something bold and colorful that could stand up to the neighborhood, he says. In the 1980s the area was harder-edged, and there was a lot of gang activity.

What Cramer continues to like about the mural today is that it's not trying to sell anything, either commercially or politically. But it still has an "upbeat edginess."

"It's improvised. It's like jazz, and it just kind of goes for it," he says, adding that given its absence of a larger message, the mural probably wouldn't stand a chance of being approved by an officially sanctioned public art committee today.

Unfortunately the building withTom's mural The Machinery was torn down in 2017. Tom painted a new mural inside the bulding that was built on this land.

My projects on Myanmar: