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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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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The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is expected to hit the market later this year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The next-gen Infiniti QX60 is almost here. The long-awaited successor to the top-selling Infiniti model has been in the works for a while but the first official glimpse at the SUV happens today with the release of a teaser photo and video of the interior.

Billed as being "serene" and "spacious", the family-friendly crossover will retain its three rows of seating when it arrives stateside. It will also have premium leather appointments, intuitive technology, and ambient lighting, according to a release sent by the company.

The model was first teased in a private video shown to journalists in the autumn of 2019. Since there, a number of changes have been made. The fresh images show off a wide but not tall infotainment screen, similar to what you'd find on a Lexus or Hyundai. There's what appears to be a fully digital radio/climate controls screen on the center stack with physical dials for adjusting certain functionalities.

All-New 2022 INFINITI QX60 Tech Stories: Performance - Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) www.youtube.com

There's a quilted leather dashboard and long horizontal design feature that seamlessly covers the dashboard vents under one housing. Though not shown, the QX60 is expected to have a fully digital instrument cluster.

Infiniti has already divulged a few key details about the revised QX60. It will be powered by a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. That's the same power plant that is in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. The SUV will be available with all-wheel drive. It's likely that the QX60 will have drive modes similar to those in the Pathfinder.

The model will have a 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity. A 3,500-pound maximum is standard.

Infiniti is promising a Sports drive mode where the movement, power, and control of the car are said to be similar to those in a sports car. Gears are held longer and engine braking helps along the way.

The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is expected to arrive in North American showrooms in the fall of 2021, followed by other markets worldwide. It will debut June 23.

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