First published: Summer 2017
Over 250,000 cheering spectators witnessed Houston’s largest ever art car parade, as the city’s Mayor and the Texas Southern University marching band led over 250 vehicles in the annual celebration of art in motion.
Organised by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art and with guest of honour Cheech Marin, the parade was celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Houston Art Car Parade was initiated by a small band of anarchic artists and has developed into a massive community event for the city with over $10,000 in prize money awarded for various categories.
Art car pioneer Harrod Blank leads the parade with his famous Camera Van
In 1984 Houston artist Jackie Harris created one of the first art cars, the iconic Fruitmobile. This led to more and more art cars being seen driving around, until some were included in the 1986 New Music Parade and in the same year Susanne Theis (nee Demcheck) organised a parade at the Orange Show featuring art cars and low riders. Following the success of these parades, in 1988 the Orange Show Foundation organised the first official art car parade, and the event has grown in scale and popularity since those first 40 cars were watched by a couple of thousand spectators. Now, over three days, entries from 23 US states roll along the parade route, including not only cars but also unicycles, go carts and even outlandish lawnmowers, along with gleaming custom cars and the low riding Houston SLABS with jumping hydraulic suspension systems. The night parade which previously was dominated by flame throwers and pyrotechnics takes the spectacle to another level and is now a whirl of synchronised lights flashing and pulsing from the art cars, and sometimes with flames, smoke and sparks shooting out.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #94.