VW Bus for Gus ArtCar (1989-1990)

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This ArtCar had a short but vibrant life. On one side was a huge painting based on an x-ray specs ad from an old comic book – you know, so you can hypnotize girls. The rest of the ArtCar, however, was devoted to a graffiti aesthetic with spray paint and word play.

The front said “Don’t Look Back” backwards (like an ambulance) and the back said “Orgasms are Free” next to the figure from Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Above the “orgasm” quote someone wrote “Why is our generation the only one that wonders why Dorothy left Oz?” in lipstick. Why indeed.

Other phrases on this ArtCar include: “No one lends money to a man with a sense of humor” (from the Monkees Head movie), “More extremity & less spanking,” and poems stenciled on such as:

• artcarjarwar
• artmartczar
• farbar
• star

On the inside it said “Look out Gus” because my dog, Fungus, sat on a couch where the backseat used to be. He ended up flying around the bus some if I had to slam on the brakes.

This car died in Vacaville, CA (the town where Charles Manson was imprisoned), and I resolved to make my next ArtCar out of something mechanically reliable. I bought a new truck . . .

VW Bus for Gus ArtCar (1988-89)
© Philo Northrup

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