From the Art Cars series — one man's obsession with America's mobile masterpieces
Photographs by Harrod Blank
I live in New Orleans, where I’m an architect with a wife and two kids. My art car Booga was a rethinking of Mardi Gras in the city, and especially how we deal with the enormous amount of waste that is collected after it takes place.
The car is covered in Mardi Gras beads, many of which I collected right out of the gutter during or after the parades. I also spent hours harassing tourists on the street to give me their necklaces. I loved working on the car with friends – it was a collaboration of about eight people working together.
Booga was my daily driver for several years, but unfortunately it flooded in Hurricane Katrina and is no more. I still have a painted VW bus, but it’s not anything as special as Booga was.
I first got into art cars by going to Burning Man in '98 and got interested in participatory art making. To be honest it was more of the festival as a whole than the art cars at the festival that got me interested.
My car, Booga, is about a rethinking of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, especially how we deal with the tremendous amount of waste that is collected during mardi gras. This was a way to reuse some of the enormous amounts of stuff that gets thrown away during mardi gras. I collected a lot of beads for the car right out of the gutter during and after parades. I also got beads from people on the street, and purchased some (when I needed particular colors) from an organization that raises money for developmentally disabled adults by repackaging and selling used beads.
Unfortunately, my car is no more, as it flooded in Hurricane Katrina. I drove it to Houston for the Art Car parade a couple of years in a row, as well as a couple of mardi gras parades. It was my daily driver for several years.
I am an architect in New Orleans, I now have a wife and two kids. I still have a painted VW bus, but its not anything as special as Booga was.
My favorite memories? Probably the art car parades in Houston, spending hours on the street harassing tourists to give me there beads for the car, and working on the car with friends (It was a collaboration of about 8 people working together).