I happened upon Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick at a local vintage car show last fall, as he set up off the main roadway against the flow of spectators and other showcars on this day with two of his ‘art cars’ on display. I’ve encountered a couple of these art installations at VW shows over the last decade, but this was the first time I was introduced to this as an actual medium – I just figured people liked sticking things on their cars to attract attention.
Chatting with Ken, I learned that there was a healthy interest in this form of artistic expression and in fact these were two of the five ‘art cars’ he’s completed in a varied artistic career spanning several decades. The one I was most drawn to was known as the “Emblem car”, for completely obvious reasons. Every square inch of this 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder is adorned with chrome emblems and name badges that Ken sourced by scouring through auto wrecker yards; by his own admission the display contains nearly 6000 separate emblems and took over 2500 hours to complete back in 1990. In addition the car teems with gleaming chrome hub caps and chrome rear tail lights stuffed onto the rear window ledge – you can honestly get lost in the “Where’s Waldo” search of your favorite car maker’s emblems.
I’m glad that I had the foresight, as I was beginning to leave his area, to ask Ken if would allow me to make a portrait of him beside his
car artwork. Despite the hasty request, I really enjoy this resulting image of him, processed with a black and white treatment to celebrate the mostly monochrome “palette” he established with this art car. An honest portrayal of the artist I had the pleasure of discussion for a brief period on that Saturday morning.
My few words here hardly do justice to Ken’s artistic history – his website has far more detail about his range of artistic endeavors.
The artist: Ken Gerberick
1957 Pontiac Pathfinder