In 2007, I took a new route through a nearby neighborhood and spotted a familiar silhouette. Parked in a driveway stood a 1964 Toyota Landcruiser. It was full of cobwebs, and clearly hadn’t run for some time, but my stomach did a little flip-flop just the same. I’d recently begun sketching out a body of work inspired by my father’s off-road racing career—a serious hobby he pursued when I was a boy. He was a Landcruiser devotee, and my family had a series of them from this era, most adorned by zebra stripes so we could pick him out even when racing numbers were obscured by dust.
I found reasons to drive by this forlorn Toyota every few days. Finally, I spotted the owner and offered to take it off his hands. Thus began several bodies of work using elements of my childhood to explore larger ideas: the impulse to conquer challenging landscapes, the drive to push our limits, the need to create meaning through personal quests, the construction of masculinity in ex-urban environments—you get the idea.
I took the car apart and made sculpture from its body (Hilites, 2008) and engine (Can’t Stop it, 2009) as well as lots of related work. Soon, I started dreaming about a performative element that would tie all this work together—and produce more. A grant from the California Community Foundation helped me rebuild the car and get it running. Shows at theMiami Art Museum, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (Barnsdall) and the Laguna Art Museum focused my thinking. A team of friends provided both moral support and considerable labor. Now I need a little more help from a lot more people.
In spring 2012, the National Off-Road Racing Association is staging a vintage rally of the Mexican 1000 race from Mexicali to La Paz. This was my father’s favorite race—and he did well in it over the years. I am preparing the car and myself for this journey, and I’m seeking sponsorship through United States Artists’ microphilanthropy site for artist projects. Please watch the video, read about my project and consider a donation. Your gift is tax-deductible, and will make the difference in my ability to participate.