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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The Ioniq 5 will be the first dedicated electric model designed on Hyundai's new battery electric vehicle platform.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Company, the parent of the Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis brands, has released a new series of photos and videos teasing the forthcoming Ioniq 5. The midsize crossover is slated to Abe the first model in the company's Ioniq dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) lineup brand.

It will also be the first vehicle that is underpinned by Hyundai's new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The architecture is similar to what General Motors unveiled with its Ultium platform. The vehicle, Hyundai says, will showcase a "fundamental shift in design approach" for the company where vehicles are designed around the platform rather than modifying existing vehicles to put in BEV power systems like what is in the Kona EV.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 car teaser preview back Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

The fresh design elements in the Ioniq 5 include Parametric Pixels, the smallest unit of digital imaging, as well as the CUV's color, material, and finish (CMF) direction that works to connect digital functionality with its analog counterpart. The car's front end features pixel-inspired lights, u-shaped and squared off at the corners. Its clamshell hood spans the entire width of the car, which is a concerted effort to minimize panel gaps and increase aerodynamics.

The wheels feature aero-optimized design and come in 20-inch diameter, the first ever fitted to a Hyundai EV.

"Ioniq 5 presents an all-new customer experience through innovative EV design that is evocative of the icon that established Hyundai's design DNA," said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. "Beginning with Ioniq 5, our dedicated BEV lineup brand will redefine the relationship between people and their cars, establishing a new standard against which all BEV design experiences will be measured."

In addition to the photos, Hyundai released videos that preview the Ioniq 5's core technologies. Three feature "ultimate camping" scenarios where owners are able to use the Ioniq 5's general power supply (110/220V). In each video, the camper is seen using IONIQ 5's 3.5KW of V2L-supplied power, which they use to roast a turkey in a large oven, listen to music on high-end audio speakers, and exercise on a treadmill—all at a camping site.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 car teaser preview front wheel Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

The '5 Min Challenge' video highlights Ioinq 5's ultra-fast charging capability that enables it to drive more than 62 miles with only a 5-minute charge (WLTP).

You can watch all the videos below.

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 1. Cooking

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 2. Sound

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 3. Running

Ioniq 5: 5 Min Challenge (teaser) - Trailer

IONIQ 5 will debut in a virtual world premiere event in February 2021.

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The BMW xDrive system celebrates its 20th birthday this year.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The year was 2001. It was the second year of a new millennium that had gone ahead without much disruption despite all of the concerns about Y2K. It was the advent of modern infotainment systems and BMW was on the cusp of debuting their new iDrive system.

The technology first appeared on the BMW 7 Series, which was ridiculed for a whole host of reasons, with iDrive just another part of what critics thought was wrong with the car.

A new, four-minute video from BMW released to coincide with the beginning of CES celebrates (?) just how far the iDrive system has come in 20 years. Why the question mark? The video is the perfect example of the age old tale of the boy who likes the girl but to hide it he constantly picks on her and shows off in front of his friends, with a smattering of disrespecting your elders.

A story of generations. BMW is a part of CES 2021. www.youtube.com

The entire video takes place in a darkened garage with the 7 Series voiced by an aging male who uses words like "whippersnapper" to ridicule the forthcoming BMW iX, comparing it to a "Tomagachi" and accuses it of being a toy car because it's not in production yet. The iX is voiced by a female who accuses the 7 Series she calls "grandpa" with "sniffing at the gas pumps too long".

The iX accuses the 7 Series of being past its prime, saying that it's impossible to talk to "their generation". The two voices rattle through the various features of their iDrive systems and while the iX's voice goes over that system's, the 7 Series voice replies with a swear word that refers to feces from a male cow.

Then the iX voice explains what infotainment intelligence means to the 7 Series while touting that the iX "knows everything because I'm always online".

BMW iDrive Evolution: BMW 7 Series with iDrive (2001)

Photo courtesy of BMW

After being thoroughly insulted, the 7 Series drives away and the iX seeks them out saying the popular refrain, "I didn't mean it that way" before explaining that without the original iDrive the iX wouldn't exist.

While amusing, the video clearly fits in with social media posts the company has featured recently where they make fun of older buyers, who are also known as the bread and butter of BMW's audience. It's an interesting sales tactic.

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