Featured: Wired for Beauty: Sculptures Capture Car's Essential Lines

Wired for Beauty: Sculptures Capture Car’s Essential Lines

By Petrolicious Productions
July 30, 2014

London-based Mr. Chris Twitchell is the man behind Wire Car Design, the enterprise that seeks to capture the art behind some iconic car designs, in scale, through the medium of wire.

They handcraft beautiful artistic representations of a car’s form in wire that can be displayed in any indoor environment. In order to accurately produce the wire frame, a 3D computer model is built to the exact dimensions of the chosen car which is then used to machine a model in high-density foam using a five-axis CNC router at a typical scale of one-to-three-point-five. This model then becomes the buck upon which the steel wire can be formed.

The buck is then pulled out of the wireframe and the wireframe sanded, cleaned, primered, and sprayed twice with the customer’s chosen color. Once completed, the entire artwork is supported bya clear acrylic frame that can then enable the artwork to be fixed vertically to a wall or horizontally, supported on delicate acrylic stands.

Chris was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his schedule to give us some insight into his work.

Q: Are you a full time sculptor/designer?

A: Sculpting and design is not my job but I really enjoy art and design, not only cars but day-to-day artifacts, buildings, and planes—particularly those from the 1920s through the 1960s. Working in London affords me the opportunity to see many great exhibitions at various galleries—well worth a trip if anyone has time as there’s always something on.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: After the initial Lotus Europa car artwork, which was spawned from me owning the real thing, I moved on to developing new artwork as shown on my website—a Porsche 2.7RS. Having recently joined the Porsche fraternity I have begun to appreciate how iconic the Porsche 2.7RS was and still is. Not only from the engineering brilliance, but also from a design aspect and that distinctive ducktail!

Q: Was it hard to start your career as an automotive sculptor/designer?

A: It is not my main career, but simply a passion of mine. I work in real estate but I’m never too far away from something to do with cars. Now if the question is “was it hard to start in real estate?” then that’s another question!

Q: What is your favorite subject?

A: I’ve tried to concentrate on capturing the pure lines of a cars body rather than rendering the artwork in too much detail (such as wheels, wing mirrors, etc) as I feel this can detract from the beauty of the overall shape.

Q: How did your passion for sculpture and vintage cars begin?

A: I have been around classic cars since I was born—I had no choice, I had car parts as ceiling mobiles! My father has always been a keen hands-on enthusiast with anything car related, which has rubbed off on me, my brother …and my mother! Also being a keen artist has also made me realize the artisan qualities of some of those early car designers—especially from Italy. Although I have been interested in car sculpture and design for some time, the seminal moment came when I visited the Ferrari museum and spotted a life sized 250 GTO which was rendered in wire. I assume this would have originally been used to help form the shape of the original car. It hit me at that moment that it would be great to re-create car bodies as a scaled down artwork in their own right.

Q: How did you develop your wireframe technique?

A: Trial and error mostly, and LOTS of patience! It takes a very long time to create each new artwork as each design is unique.

Q: Do you own or aspire to own a vintage car (and which one(s))?

A: Yes, I own a Lotus Europa twin cam and a Porsche 914/6 which I’m completely rebuilding and upgrading to incorporate a more potent 3.2 Carrera engine. Both cars are hugely underrated in my opinion, as they are superbly engineered, go around corners like they are on rails and are extremely quick. Also, whilst they might not be called beautiful, they are rare which is appealing.

Q: Do you have an all-time favorite car?

A: This is extremely difficult to say, but probably from an aesthetic and performance quality it would be a dead heat between a Ferrari 250 SWB and a Ferrari 250LM. I wish I could say I have firsthand experience of driving them but unfortunately not …yet!

Q: So what is your favorite road?

A: So far it has been ascending the Furka Pass in Switzerland and into Italy on a driving trip a couple of years ago. A fantastic ribbon of tarmac—oh and the views aren’t bad either!

Q: As an artist, when you look at a car what do you see?

A: Shapes, lines, and proportions. Whilst some modern cars draw my attention, they don’t appear to have the same flare as older cars. Safety requirements stifle the designer to some degree I feel.

Q: Where do you like or would you like to see your art displayed most?

A: Enjoyed in people’s houses, with the hope the art provides as much pleasure as it has for me.

Q: What is your favorite era of motorsport?

A: The 1960s—it’s the GT cars. If other enthusiasts haven’t been to the Goodwood Revival in the UK to watch the GT races, it should be on the ‘bucket list’ of things to do as it’s an automotive sight to behold. Moreover I think the 1960s cars are near the end of a motorsport era where most people can ‘relate’ to the cars. That is to say the types of cars which you could conceivably race, drive home and work on. The 1970s onwards saw much more technical innovation which prevented the amateur owning and racing cars, which for me, detracts somewhat from the experience.

Q: Is there a classic that you’d like to redesign for production today?

A: Not really. I enjoy the quirks and idiosyncrasies of many old cars as it’s those foibles that makes them what they are. If I had to make a choice though I’d say the Alfa T33 Stradale. Wouldn’t change the shape at all, that’s perfection, I’d just like it reengineered to work on the streets of the modern world.

Q: Where do you like or would you like to see your art displayed most?

A: The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Q: Given the chance to design or sculpt anything, what would you like to do? 

A: I’d like to recreate lots of designs, although the Jaguar D Type, Maserati A6GCS and 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR particularly stand out for me. I should also add to the list the Ferrari 250 GTO as this was the shape that inspired me to begin with.

To see more of Chris’s work, click here.

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Marie Llewellyn
Marie Llewellyn
7 years ago

Beautiful work sculptured by the hands of a true artist. I am sure it looks fabulous hanging on a wall. Maybe I could commission you to do one of my 1967 beetle?

Paulo Ferreira
Paulo Ferreira
9 years ago

Love the art ..would like to have one of this. But please dont change the engine on your Porsche 914/6. they are very rare and the value will keep going up in the authentic form. When you change an original, you destroy the history and the heritage..restore it in the original form!!!

Tim MonckMason
Tim MonckMason
9 years ago

Cool how the shape is obvious with so little information. Minimal wire gives us only the hint of shape yet my eyes fill in the gap easily and cars are instantly recognisable and total somehow. That skill of identifying where to have some wire is what makes this guy an artist I guess.
LM for me, always my vote for most beautiful, ever.

Thomas Kingshott
Thomas Kingshott
9 years ago

A Countach one would look awesome.

samir shirazi
9 years ago

I definately agree with his taste in cars

Matthew Lange
9 years ago

Is Chris’ Father Barry, owner of a rather lovely gold Iso Grifo that was subject to a 20 year restoration?

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani
9 years ago

Very cool…but big. Is is 1/4 scale? Wonder if he does smaller than that. Plus you would need the space too!

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