Nolagirl and I were at spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity in the spring of 2018. We were looking at the art cars and came across one that turned out to be one of my favorites of the whole day, J Gurl by Diane Bombshelter from Tucson, AZ.
According to her website, Diane Bombshelter is primarily a painter who creates on black velvet. Apparently she’s really good at painting on cars too.
This is the big picture of what her art car looks like.
When I got up close and starting looking at the details, I liked the car more and more.
Here’s the sacred heart painted on the back passenger door. I like the way pieces of broken mirror were used to accentuate the painting and add sparkle to the area. Also, the rough edges of the glass could cut the viewer, which I think brings to mind the pain caused by those thorns wrapped around the heart.
Much of the imagery on the car is specifically female and really celebrates feminine power and energy. For example, here’s a uterus complete with egg tubes, ovaries, developing eggs, cervix, and endometrial lining painted on the rear passenger side of the car. Again, mirrors (this time round ones to echo the roundness of the eggs) catch the light and add sparkle and shimmer. Of course the pink background evokes stereotypical femininity but perhaps also a reclaiming of female strength.
Here’s a vulva, right over the gas tank! Do you think that placement was random or a conscious choice?
The details that went into this representation of the vulva make me really happy. The yellow represents flames, perhaps, or bolts of energy. The red jewels outlining the border are also very sweet–more sparkle, more pizzazz. You may not be able to tell from my photo, but the clitoris is entirely composed of shiny little jewels. This vulva is a celebration of womanly parts. This vulva shines!
Ah, there’s Quan Yin, one of my favorite manifestations of Goddess energy. According to a Crystallinks webpage,
Quan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. Also known as Kuan Yin, Quan’Am (Vietnam), Kannon (Japan), and Kanin (Bali), She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, She hears the cries of all beings…
Contemplating the Goddess of Mercy involves little dogma or ritual. The simplicity of this gentle being and Her standards tends to lead Her devotees towards becoming more compassionate and loving themselves…
Don’t you like the way I took the photo so the sunlight makes the area at the top of Goddess’ head glow? I’m pleased with that aspect of the photo, although I can’t remember if it was a conscious composition or a happy accident.
If the Blessed Virgin Mary is more your style when it comes to Goddess representation, Bombshelter has that covered for you on the hood of the car. The image of the BVM is made from flat glass marbles and is surrounded by small BVM statues. The blue flowers are artificial and permanently adhered to the hood as far as I could tell.
It’s obvious that so many loving details went into the design of this car. Even the dashboard is carefully decorated.
My favorite part of this interior decoration is the word “Goddess” spelled out in Scrabble letters. Clever!
In a 2015 article about the Art Car World museum in Douglas, AZ, Diane Bombshelter discussed pushing the boundaries of what cars are supposed to look like and represent in our society.
“Breaking that taboo opens people’s minds. It doesn’t have to be a certain way; it can be this way, too,” she said
“… I wanted to bring art to the public, instead of the public having to go to an art gallery.”
I greatly enjoyed seeing and appreciate this art car. Hopefully I’ll see it again someday and take photos of the art on the driver side.
See Diane Bomshelter’s paintings on black velvet on her website.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read about another art car called California Fantasy Van that was also at the spark! Festival.
I took the photos in this post, except for the one attributed to Nolagirl.