Cars as Art

Artist Claudia De Sabe reveals the challenges of inking the world's first tattooed car

A unique Lexus UX has become the world's first tattooed car.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Earlier this year, tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe inked the world's first tattooed car, a 2020 Lexus UX. The work is a combination of Japanese artistry and new-age craftsmanship.

Instead of using a traditional tattoo gun, De Sabe used a Dremel, which caused indentations in the model's steel skin, similar to what a needle does to a human's skin. It was the Italian native's first time tattooing something other than the human body inn her 15 years of professional experience.

World's first tattooed car

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The design features a sweeping koi carp along the length of the vehicle. Koi are common in Japanese culture as they are believed to represent good fortune and perseverance. Koi can live to the age of 35. In contrast, goldfish traditionally live to be 10 to 15 years old and bass only make it five to 10 years.

Snakes and botanicals also play into the design.

From concept to completion, the project took six months to produce. The actual tattooing took place over five eight-hour days. De Sabe, who has a studio in London, recently divulged more about the project.

Starting with the outset, De Sabe took inspiration from Japanese culture. She has traveled there and studied Japanese tattooing. "My main inspiration for the design of the car was all the beautiful artwork that I've seen in Japan; in the temples, Ukiyo-e prints, all that artistic background," De Sabe said. "That also is very much translated and used in Japanese tattooing."

Lexus – The Making of the World's First Tattooed Car www.youtube.com

When designing a tattoo, the artist has to consider the layers of structure of the human body. The same occurred for De Sabe when working with the UX. "When you tattoo somebody, you're mainly thinking about their body structure and how the muscles and tissues go onto the skeleton," she said. "I saw the car in exactly the same way. When you work on skin, there is a softness to it. Completely different when you're working with a Dremel onto the car body. It is just metal on metal."

Further describing the carving process, De Sabe said:

"I used a Dremel to carve the paint off to reveal the metal of the body of the car as an outline, especially for the waves and the koi, because we liked the idea of scratching the car, but to do something beautiful. On top of that, we used car paint to fill in the koi design and the waves. Most of the design work is based on that, and we just used gold leaf to give a little bit of accents of light, and add a 3-D element to it, across the car."

In a traditional year, this vehicle would likely make its way to auto shows across the world. Stay tuned to see where it pops up on display.

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Lexus took a different approach to launch the new IS.

Lexus

Lexus knows how to make a good V8. The LC 500, RC F, and even older cars like the SC 400 all feature a buttery, powerful Lexus V8. The IS sports sedan never has been given the V8 treatment, but that's about to change for the 2022 model year. The automaker is jamming a big V8 in the space normally occupied by a four- or six-cylinder engine to create the 2022 IS 500 F Sport. The automaker's new marketing campaign for the car takes a slightly different approach than the "big red bow" commercials it usually makes, starting with a short documentary called "License to Thrill."

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport 14 drivers competed for a chance to be one of the first IS 500 F Sport owners.Lexus

The IS 500 F Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 472 horsepower. It's the most powerful Lexus IS ever, so it's not surprising that the automaker chose to highlight its performance in its launch marketing campaign.



The documentary follows 14 auto enthusiasts who participated in a driving event for a chance to own (buy) one of five early cars. Drivers were taken to the Apex Motor Club in Arizona, where they received tips from Lexus IMSA drivers Townsend Bell, Jack Hawksworth, and Aaron Telitz before hitting the track in an IS 500 F Sport. Each driver had an opportunity to set the best lap times in the car. Top lap times earned a chance to be one of the first to purchase the car, but Lexus also gave away one IS 500 to an unexacting participant.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Lexus gave away one of the cars.Lexus

The IS 500 launch will include other events that involve artists and content producers. Pro driver JR Hildebrand will drive the car for a MotorTrend special, while 100 Thieves and Garagisme will create publications and video content involving the car.

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Musical artist H.E.R. has worked with Honda designers to customize a Civic Type R.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
H.E.R. graced the stage at the 2021 Honda Civic Tour but before that happens, the R&B singer-songwriter has put her stamp on a custom-designed Honda Civic Type R. This one-off is part of a longstanding tradition of Civic Tour headliners designing a custom Civic.

The unique-looking model is a reflection of H.E.R.'s personal values. Nuance, subtlety, and "sharing your heart" are held high. This all starts with the car's exterior where a deep black matte finish washes over the model while chameleon-tinted headlamps and windows, purple brake calipers and nebula painted trim are presented as intriguing highlights.

Designers worked to customize the cabin as well, adding nebula painted accents and special LED interior lighting that changes colors based on music and sound inside the vehicle by featuring custom colors, moods, brightness levels and rotating color patterns, adjustable by a smartphone.

H.E.R. Unveils Custom ‘Honda Civic Type R’ Presented by the 2021 Honda Civic Tour www.youtube.com

"One of the things that drew me toward the Honda Civic Tour was knowing that I'd be able to design my own vehicle, and out of all Civics, I picked the pinnacle Civic Type R," said H.E.R. "Infusing my personality into all aspects of my performances, and also expressing it through my favorite products, is something that I am passionate about. So being able to create and share my custom Honda Civic Type R with my fans is just so special to me."

H.E.R.'s custom Civic Type R joins Honda vehicles designed by past Civic Tour headliners, including Maroon 5, OneRepublic, Demi Lovato, blink-182, Black Eyed Peas, One Direction, Charlie Puth and more.

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