Saturday, September 6, 2014

The beautiful vans of Bushwick

I love when people paint their own vehicles. Usually they do a questionable job and the results are hilarious. However, I ran across a couple of vans out in the artsy heart of Bushwick that are truly great. First we'll start with Life, the Universe, and Everything:
Here we have what started life as a 1991-1993 Dodge Ram Wagon Van in what I think is LE trim due to the upper and lower chrome lines along the sides. This was the 8 passenger (conservatively as I'm sure you could fit twice that in this beast on the way to Burning Man) alternative to minivans and station wagons. If you had a soccer team to haul around or several kids and some sister-wives but didn't want the shame of being seen in a minivan this was just the ticket. None of that has anything to do with why this van is being shown to you now though. Somebody elected to paint a seriously comprehensive mural on every inch of it!
I liked it from afar, but as I got closer it began to dawn on me just how special this van was. The upper chrome trim is obviously the water line with a beautiful sunset above and eerily perfect undersea images below. Just look at the lighting on that whale!
Schools of dolphins, porpoises, and fish of all kinds swim amidst the filtered sunbeams.
There's even a little sailboat near the back.
Along the top the sunset fades into a star-filled night sky.
Taping off all the windows to add such detail is just wonderful. I love whoever did this!
Oh yeah! The front is straight-up DEEP SPACE!
As we round the corner so does the mural:

On this side we see the same waterline but with a psychedelic celestial vision of the heavens above.
Jupiter front-and-center with an asteroid belt behind.
The underwater scene on this side is pure tropics with clownfish, blowfish, and rays all swimming along beneath the universe.
Earth is representing on the back corner next to the only graffiti I could find on this beauty; right on the window! In my mind even the most against-the-world tagger couldn't bring himself to sully what is truly a labor of love. If someone lifted a fat marker or can of Krylon to this thing hopefully their cohorts would talk them out of it.
I hate to say it but I recognize this sort of damage from a minor 1-car accident I had before I even had my license. I remember clearly looking lazily over my shoulder while reversing too fast and slamming directly into a telephone pole, causing a dent just like the one that this bumper is sporting. Mine wasn't this bad though and I just hi-tailed it back home unnoticed.
The back is a little more folksy and homegrown with it's field of flowers somehow growing out of the ocean. Whatever! This van is top-notch.
Across the street was this more rugged beast:
This was once a Ford Econoline from anywhere in the 1992-2007 range. You see these things everywhere, but never this awesome!
Unfortunately this thing gets tagged occasionally by lazy chumps who only have the creative skill to scrawl out their name. If you're going to vandalize something in a personal way at least have the courtesy to put your heart into it. I'm talking to YOU Preston, Chremo, drvaid, Hanbo, and Mother Pigeon!
The white stenciled police tower is a great touch. For those of you living out of the city that image is of a mobile tower that the NYPD drags into either high-crime or touristy areas to watch over the people below. Nothing like setting up a mobile prison guard tower to win the hearts and minds!
THE ADVENTURES OF THE SILVER SPACEMAN is such an awesome thing to write on the side of your van. As you can see this thing is rotted to oblivion with rust. What was once the rear wheel well is now a softened suggestion of one as the entire body dissolves from the ground up. 
Regardless I just want to applaud both of these owners on their very fine work. Keep it up!

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