Mobile Masterpieces: The History of BMW's Art Cars

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1990 BMW 535i by Matazo Kayama

BMW Art Car # 9 - 1990 535i by Matazo Kayama

In 1990, BMW commissioned its first Japanese artist -- Matazo Kayama -- to use his talents on a new 535i sedan -- arguably, the least sporty Art Car produced to this point.

Like Rauschenberg before him, Matazo broke from hand painting the car, opting instead to utilize an airbrush and metal clippings. According to Matazo, the design portrays his fascination with BMW’s technology while linking the car to Japanese culture.

1990 BMW 535i by Matazo Kayama

Matazo airbrushed elegantly flowing light- and dark blue lines long the 535i, along with a bird-like shape on the trunk. He then used the traditional Japanese methods of kirigane and arare -- metal cutting and foil impressions, respectively -- to tie the car to his native country.

“I did not become fully aware of the BMW’s distinctive contours until after the car had been fully dressed in color,” Matazo remarked after seeing his car finished and elegantly draped with paint and reflective metals.

Interesting tradition from BNW. my favorite is the 92 3-series(#13), but the old flame motif in the 82 (#3) is nicely done too. The design in #15 must have been thought up the night before. interesting article.
Very well written and researched article!!
Great article!! I never thought of cars as art but this discussion helped me to appreciate what these artists did. Very cool!

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