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In which we establish the fact that artcar is one word.  Stylebooks of the world take notice. 

Artcar is one word.  Yes and I’ll explain why so please, update your stylebooks.  From now on, whenever you want to describe an automobile modified or altered as an artistic effort or for decorative purposes you should use the compound word artcar instead of the two separate words art and car.

Hang on, we're gonna talk more about that in a bit, but first we'd like to take just a moment to welcome you to our brand new website Artcar Nation dot com.  Artcar Nation is the first of its kind, a comprehensive news and information magazine devoted to the artcar scene.  It's going to be all about artcars and the people that make them.  So if you drive an artcar or have worked on one at one time or another or if you just love artcars, (and who doesn't love artcars?), then I know you're gonna love Artcar Nation.

Howdy, my name is Paul McRae and Artcar Nation is my baby.  So who am I and what is Artcar Nation all about?  Many of you already know who I am, but for the sake of those of you who don't, let me present to you a brief history of my life as an artcar artist.  Even though I've lived most of my life in the Artcar Capital of the world, that’s Houston Texas by the way, in case you were wondering; I discovered artcars relatively late.  As it happened, one night I got a phone call from my mother who told me I should check out the program that was airing on PBS right then.   The program was a documentary about artcars, which I sat and watched transfixed and in awe.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The joie de vivre of these artcar folks and the artcars, wow, the artcars. I fell in love that night. I can honestly say that this program changed my life.  The program happened to be “Wild Wheels” by California filmmaker Harrod Blank. I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of that scene, but this being stone aged times when this took place, well before the era of the internet, it was several more years before I actually made direct contact with the artcar scene.  

The joie de vivre of these artcar folks and the artcars, wow, the artcars. I fell in love that night

I never saw myself as an artist that could make an artcar; I express my artistic side through photography.  So, never expecting to have an artcar of my own, I thought my mission in the artcar world was to be the guy that hangs around the artcars taking pictures and documenting the events.  However, once I started spending a lot of time around artcar artists and those amazing artcars it wasn't long before knew it was way too much fun to sit on the sidelines.  I simply had to join in the fun and get myself an artcar.  Not being much of an artist, as I said, I didn’t know how I'd be able to pull it off by myself, but with the help of my generous, and talented new friends I soon had an artcar of my own.  Dragonfire as I call it.  It's a fire-breathing dragon. Over the course of the past 8 years I've driven my little dragon from coast to coast and have been in dozens of parades.  Along the way, I've collected thousands of photographs stories.  It has been my experience that an artcar artist leads a full and interesting life.  But most of all, I've learned that being an artcar artist is one one hell of a good.

I can usually be found hanging around artcar events taking photographs.  You've probably seen me around. I'm the guy with the handlebar moustache enticing women to sit on their artcars for a photo opportunity.  And now you will also know me as the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Artcar Nation. So next time you see me, come up and say hello and tell me how we are doing.

Okay, that was fascinating I can hear you all saying, but what does that have to do with Artcar Nation?  We're about to get to that.

Why start a magazine about artcars?  Simply put, nobody was doing it and it needed to be done.  When I had the inspiration to create Artcar Nation, most coverage of artcars in the media portrayed artcar artist in a way that I fount to be somewhat demeaning.  Artcars were treated as an oddity to be gawked at and never to be taken seriously.  While it’s true that artcar artist are by and large a wacky and whimsical bunch there is so much more to it that the mainstream media by and large was missing.  I knew there needed to be a place  where artcars were treated with respect and dignity and not like freaks in a carnival sideshow.

I knew there needed to be a place where artcars were treated with respect and dignity and not like freaks in a carnival sideshow

Another big factor that led to the creation of Artcar Nation is what I percieved as the poor in the way that news is disseminated in the artcar community.  God bless the individuals that have been providing this vital service to the artcar community for all these years. I’d like to give a special mention to Kelly Lyles of Seattle, Washington and Bryan Taylor from Houston who have made it their task to keep us all in the know.  And I hope they continue to find and report artcar news wherever it occurs.  What Artcar Nation is going to provide is a better way to get the news out to the general public and keep it out there for future reference.

The idea for Artcar Nation came to me one evening in a flash of inspiration.  I can still remember it as if it happened yesterday.  It was way back in July of 2005 I had taken my first artcar road trip before my artcar was even complete.  It was at an after-party for the Minnesota Artcar Parade.  I, along with a bunch of other artcar artists, were at Jan Elftmann's beautiful home talking and drinking wine and trying to take in everything we had experienced that day.

Which for me it was a whole bunch. I had participated in my first parade that day thanks to Swirl Girl, who went out of her way to pick me up and shuttle me around to every event that took place in her totally awesome Colorwhirld artcar.  My head was still buzzing from the experiences of the day meeting all of the beautiful Minnesota artcar people, the experience of being the center of attention as thousands of eyes were all trained on our car, and even eating rhubarb pie for the first time. It was there at Jan’s that I found myself having a conversation with Greg Leierwood and Jill Waterhouse about artcars in the media.  I was relating to them what I just told you about how terrible artcars, in my opinion were treated when it hit me. “There should be an artcar magazine" I blurted out. Some place that can provide a contrast to the gawker coverage of the mainstream media, a place that will show what artcars are really about.  We talked more about it more that evening, Greg, Jill and I, but the germ of the idea had stuck in my head. I tossed the idea around in my mind for a while until it became clear that this was a thing I needed to do.


So here we are six years later after many fits and starts which included a 3-year stint where I returned to school to learn most of the skills I used to create this website and other things that have stood between me and my goal of creating Artcar Nation.  It has finally reached fruition.  I hope you like it.

Lest you think that Artcar Nation is a one-man show, it took the contribution of many fine folks to bring this enterprise to this point.  I would like to thank all of the writers, editors, graphic artists, web designers and anyone else who has contributed to this labor of love.  One of the last, and certainly one of the most important steps in the creation of Artcar Nation was the assembling of a crack team of writers who are its lifeblood.  I am very excited to have so many wonderfully talented folks on board, lending their talents to this venture.  I’m already looking forward to reading whatever they write next.

I’m already looking forward to reading whatever they write next.

Now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way, let’s talk about the word artcar.  I’ll bet you thought I had forgotten all about it.

Artcar ˈärt-kär an automobile modified or altered as an artistic effort or for decorative purposes.

Why one word rather than two?  The answer is simple really.  An artcar is a unique combination of art and transportation.  As such, it deserves it’s own word, unique from all other words.

Furthermore, by using the word artcar, you are simplifying matters.  In the age of search engines, artcar stands out amongst the millions of results for the words art and cars, both of which have infinite variations on their meanings.  A search for “art car” yields 489,000,000 search results.  Search for “artcar” and the number drops to 2,720,000.  You have eliminated 486 million unrelated search results.

With this declaration, we are urging all media outlets to update their stylebooks to include this newly defined word.

What makes an artcar an artcar?  Well that’s a discussion for another time.  Stay tuned!