Auto Art

I met my very first industrial designer when I was about 16. Well, to be fair, he was really just a an 18 year old kid getting ready to go off to Pratt Institute in New York to study Industrial Design. Either way, as a career choice, it was something completely new to me. This kid was an artist. He liked to draw. Every scrap of paper in his sphere became a occasion to create something. He’d draw anything- people, places, things, animals- but the thing that really got him, the thing that was sending him off to New York that fall was drawing cars. He wanted to design cars.

Not being much of a car person, I couldn’t really understand the connection between art and cars. But, fast forward a few years, and I get it. I get the allure of a classic car, not just aesthetically, but emotionally. In other words, a really great car makes me think of really great adventures. It’s no accident that James Bond is known as much for his car as his jet-setting and world-saving. Luckily, I got hip to the art of cars just in time for Portland Art Museum’s current exhibition, Allure of the Automobile.

The exhibit, which runs through September 11, is a celebration of car design, and its connection to many of the important design movements. There’s no doubting their place among other great designed objects.