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Life Arts    H4'ed 11/10/19

Glitter on the Highway: Art Cartists Adorn Joshua Tree

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The Glitter on the Highway exhibit featuring amazing art cars runs from Nov. 9 - Dec. 1, 2019 at La Matadora Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA.

King of the Road Puzzle Montage by Tim Klein
King of the Road Puzzle Montage by Tim Klein
(Image by La Matadora Gallery)
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I asked gallery owner, Colleena Hake, what inspired her to develop the show: "November is a time for nostalgia, so I invited my old art car cronies to do a show...I have fond memories of caravanning with the art "cartists" back when I had The Doll Car (co-created with Phillip Estrada). Later I created Cardelabra, a '74 Grand Prix "Wishing Shrine on Wheels," covered in candles, candle wax, and art."

Cardelabra art car by Colleena Hake at All Souls' Procession in Tucson, AZ
Cardelabra art car by Colleena Hake at All Souls' Procession in Tucson, AZ
(Image by La Matadora Gallery)
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She continued, "La Matadora Gallery is located right on Highway 62, and five Art Cars will be parked there to liven it up!"

J-Gurl art car by Diane Bombshelter at La Matadora Gallery
J-Gurl art car by Diane Bombshelter at La Matadora Gallery
(Image by La Matadora Gallery)
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Ralph Wilson of Bisbee, AZ, is one of the "cartists" exhibiting in the show.

Mixed media cartist, Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson
Mixed media cartist, Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Aka "Mr Shrine," he has been making shrines for over 36 years, and has taught shrine-making in museums and other venues including at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MOCA and the Museum of Latin American Art in LA, Moma in San Francisco, and the New Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR.

Community Shrine in  Eureka springs, Ark  Our Lady of the springs,  Dedicated to Our Mother
Community Shrine in Eureka springs, Ark Our Lady of the springs, Dedicated to Our Mother
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for visiting with us, Ralph! You are one of the exhibitors in the "Glitter on the Highway" exhibit featuring art cars - which, I understand, can be full-size or model vehicles. Please tell us a little about your piece in the show and your inspiration for it.



'Ex Shrine' and 'RV Shrine' on exhibit at La Matadora Gallery
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Ralph "Mr. Shrine" Wilson: My piece in the show is an old Tonka pickup truck, decorated as if it were to be in an art car parade, with a few spiritual twists. Like all art cars, it all comes from the Land of Make Believe.

RV:  Religious  Vehicle No.  1,929
RV: Religious Vehicle No. 1,929
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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I had that truck for a while, and I started gathering a lot of objects" and when I get the right object, I know it, and that's when I start to work on the car. I work on it til it comes out right. I just go by "feel." I know when it is not right. A shaman told me long ago that anything contrived would kill me.

When I was on the road in the West, a wise older Hispanic woman was buying stuff from me, I think it was for the LaRaza store in San Francisco. She asked, 'why is a tall anglo making Mexican kitch? I think you have some Guatemalan in the woodpile!"

MAB: Ha! I know that you also have done some full size art cars. That is so cool! Can you give us an example or two?

RW: Here are some photos of the Mermaid Car and the Flag Car for the Clinton Presidential Library.

Renee Richetts' Mermaid Artcar, artified by Mr. Shrine.
Renee Richetts' Mermaid Artcar, artified by Mr. Shrine.
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Renee Richetts' Mermaid Artcar: artification process
Renee Richetts' Mermaid Artcar: artification process
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Flag Art Car commissioned by the Clinton Presidential Library
Flag Art Car commissioned by the Clinton Presidential Library
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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MAB: Most of your work revolves around shrines, in fact, that is how I discovered you, because of your Make Your Own Shrine kits, which I love and use in my classes! Can you share a little about what a shrine is? Is an art car a shrine? Why is it useful to make a shrine?

Shrine kit and shrine
Shrine kit and shrine
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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Shrine kits
Shrine kits
(Image by Ralph 'Mr. Shrine' Wilson)
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RW: Everyone has a shrine that they maintain on a window sill, dresser top, the fridge door, the garden...

A shrine is a place to go to ask for "send up and blessings," for anything you choose. Or, it can just look cool! Art cars are shrines. Just take a blank car (make sure it runs) and theme it to something that calls to you.

MAB: Well, Ralph, now I feel like my Prius is naked -- I might just have to artify her! Thanks for visiting with us!

RW: Shrine on!

Glitter on the Highway runs from Saturday 9 November 9 - Sunday Dec. 1.

Gallery hours: are 12-5 PM Saturday & Sunday (also, by appointment)

Exhibiting artists include: Beth Allen, Gretchen Baer, Harrod Blank, Diane Bombshelter, Godfrey "Doc" Daniels, Emily Duffy, Ken Duffy, Colleena Hake, Tim Klein, Heidi MacDonald, Rick McKinney, Philo Northrup, Kate Pearson and Ralph "Mr. Shrine" Wilson.

Location: La Matadora Gallery

61857 Highway 62

Joshua Tree, CA 92252

For more info text Colleena at 520.370.1465

Shrines made by Meryl Ann Butler's Day of the Dead workshop students, using Mr. Shrine's shrine kits:

Shrines honoring the departed by Meryl Ann Butler and students honoring departed loved ones
Shrines honoring the departed by Meryl Ann Butler and students honoring departed loved ones
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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