Arizona Artcars get Well Deserved Attention


Reported By Paul McRae

A new article by Niki D'Andrea appeared today in the Phoenix New Times that talks about the little known, but well established artcar scene in Arizona. The article focuses on four prominent artcar artists who have immigrated to the Grand Canyon State, Harrod Blank, Jose Benavides, Richard Fletcher, and Maricopa Mel.

Harrod Blank, well known as the director of 3 artcar documentaries, has established an artcar museum in the border town of Douglas that he hopes to have open to the general public later this year.

Jose Benavides is the creator of a 17' long Virgin Mary that is made out of license plates from all 50 states.

British native Richard Fletcher has created many "star cars" while working for Jay Ohrberg in Los Angeles.  He continues his passion for making and modifying American Cars.

Maricopa Mel has created many artcars that wouldn't look out of place in a Mad Max movie.

The article also mentions hotbed artcar community of  Bisbee where artcar artist Gretchen Bear and Kathleen Pearson live and work among others.  Diane Bombshelter of Tuscon is mentioned as well.

The article also touches on the history of artcars and the rise of artcar culture spurred by Burning Man and the Houston Artcar Parade. 

The way this statement is worded "The Houston Art Car Parade at the annual Orange Show in Texas" leads me to believe that they think the Orange Show is an annual event that artcars are a part of.  More correctly, the Houston Artcar Parade is an annual event that is sponsored and run by The Orange Show Foundation.

One thing this reporter learned from the story, that Jose Benavides Virgin Mary car was part of his masters thesis statement.  This has dispelled my notion that Houstonian Smitty Regula's Big Chicken was the first artcar to be built as a thesis statement.

Check out the article here:

Photos by Paul McRae and Jamie Peachey.

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