Hoodwinked! Art from the Engine Room

hood of minivan painted with giant human eye
Here’s lookin’ at you. The big eye on the hood of the Red Fish Bowl art van in Lawrenceville. One of many fine examples of artworks created for the engine hoods of automobiles.

Staring right back at you is the biggest eyeball you’ve ever seen. We’re talking about a King Kong-sized window to the soul. Gulliver’s frightened ocular as he’s swarmed by Lilliputians. The last thing your reincarnated keister sees before the fly-swatter takes you onto your next life … and it’s parked right there on Butler Street.

Our Lady of Perpetual Torque, Bloomfield

If you thought great art was confined to museum halls and bathroom stalls, banish that notion from your mind! Yes, it’s everywhere and anywhere. Why, you’ll find the work of budding young Picassos, Yayoi Kasamas, and Thomas Kinkades on worksheds, mailboxes, trash dumpsters, and right in the middle of the street.

But cars, man, cars! We’re Americans! We drive everywhere and get angry doing it! The automobile is our religion and its finish coating is this temple’s elegant spires and stained-glass windows. Why not treat it like the holy house it truly is?

We’ve all been hoodwinked in one way or another, but this time it’s in the very best way. The mother of all mothers blessing an F-150; a chainsaw-wielding mastodon rider with a window to another galaxy; someone’s sun-bleached Easy Rider fantasy played out across the front of an Econoline van.

So let’s get down under—and over—the hood and rev up another great canvas for self/automotive expression.

Chainsaw-wielding mastadon rider with a window to another galaxy, Lawrenceville
Stag in sunlight by Jim M., Jeannette
airbrushed artwork of two motorcycles on hood of a van
Motorcycles in the desert, Polish Hill
worn hood of 1970s Pontiac Firebird with painted logo for the brand
The mother of all hood art! 1970s Firebird, Strip District
VW Beetle painted with wild confetti-like shapes and colors
Confetti Beetle, Bloomfield
hood of car painted with skull and bloody fangs
Bloody skull/fangs, Lawrenceville
C OOL STUD S, Bloomfield. [Side note: they also could have gone with HO DENTS.]
front of van with hood custom painted as "Bad Girl"
Bad Girl, Downtown. [Side note: true to her name, Bad Girl was illegally parked.]