Featured: GALLERY: Our Favorite Design Icons From The 2017 ArtCenter Car Classic

GALLERY: Our Favorite Design Icons From The 2017 ArtCenter Car Classic

Alex Sobran By Alex Sobran
October 23, 2017
10 comments

Photography by Alex Sobran

From its perch in the hills of Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design has been churning out top industrial designers, photographers, fine artists, and general aesthetic excellence for decades. And included in the ranks of its alumni is a long string of automotive designers who collectively, continuously, shift the paradigm of what our cars look like.

You’re likely to find ArtCenter graduates heading design teams at the largest and most prominent manufacturers (there are too many to list, but Frank Stephenson and Chris Bangle jump out as examples of this), and though building consumer products on a massive scale may seem antithetical to artistry, this is obviously not true. It is a challenge like architecture is a challenge—working within the many confines of budget, physics, schedules, etc.—and when done well, it has the ability to serve aesthetic and utilitarian needs simultaneously and seamlessly. This is why we love cars in the most general terms, isn’t it? For gorgeous form and ferocious function all wrapped up in an object that we can interact with on so many different levels.   

Yesterday, ArtCenter held its annual Car Classic event at its hillside campus in Pasadena, and like last year’s focus on hand-built vehicles, the 2017 edition of the show was also tied to a theme: Red, White, and Blue, representing, respectively, the achievements in automotive design and engineering from Italy, the United States, and France. Beyond the charms of Fiat Jollys and the menace of Chevrolet Corvettes though, the curation of cars arrayed on the lawn this past Sunday was a feat in and of itself. The venue was broken up by region, and as you might expect from an organizer like a top art college, color coordinated. The sun was brutally hot, but it was shining on an assembly of cars so varied in their purposes and pulchritudes that even my mistake of wearing long pants couldn’t take away from the experience.

Besides the impressive display, there were tons of current students, alumni, and other automotive designers in the crowd offering a rare opportunity to take in the beauty of vintage cars while talking with those who know what it takes to build the next generation. Petrolicious was honored to again be a part of this splendid day, and we had a pleasure meeting some of you in person. For those who couldn’t attend, I hope you enjoy the gallery we’ve put together below! 

Join the Conversation
Related

10
Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
9 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
CatimannAndrewAllredPaul IpolitoBill MeyerHarv Falkenstine Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Catimann
Catimann

What I always find ironic is how people Oooo and Awe over the iconic or even the strange stuff some of these designers came up with. Some of the 60’s kit cars are now big dollars but didn’t sell back then because of the work involved or they just didn’t look right for the public then. However when someone mods a car to their own taste (which is design in it’s own right) they are often shot down.

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito

I filled out the survey today and my only request on what I would like to see on this site was “Put Guitar Slinger on mute”

AndrewAllred
AndrewAllred

Everyone just needs to ignore him. He has, what we call in psych world, negative attention seeking targets. The more attention he gets for being negative the more he feels he matters.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

I’m very bummed out that I missed the Art Center show. I let the date sneak up on me and even my Mustang GT couldn’t get me from Prescott to Pasadena in time.
I lived just down the street from the campus for a few years and always visited the events there….a great school
to be sure.
Thanks Alex, for once again making me feel like I was there, minus the heat.

Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine

Alex, the key line in the article is…”For those who couldn’t attend, I hope you enjoy the gallery we’ve put together below! ” Enjoyed it immensely, I did not find your photography sloppy at all, I found it authentic, the angles, the sun all made me feel like I was walking around seeing these cars in person. Appreciate you sharing this experience with us. Obviously, at some point you have eliminated into Mr. Guitar Slinger’s morning cereal, perhaps we should measure your success by his critique. I am determined to attend this event next year. The Art College can be… Read more »

Jonathan WC Mills
Jonathan WC Mills

Nice to see this relationship continuing. Art Center and Petrolicious remain kindred spirits on many levels.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Sloppy photography placed in an incomprehensible overly busy grouping detracting from what could of been an excellent article on an interesting albeit somewhat superfluous event

And may Hunter S.Thompson and Robert Hughes shine brightly upon my words

😎

Dennis White
Dennis White

A legend in his own mind!

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito

Speaking of a “somewhat superfluous event” , I would be inclined to add the day of your birth to that list.