Burners in Brooklyn: Artists Bringing Art Cars to the Wider World

The Brooklyn Paper has published a story on veteran Burner and visionary artist, Yarrow Mazzetti. I first met Yarrow in 2010 when I camped with the Overkill crew, he’s a great guy and builds some of the raddest art cars out there – the Fish Tank, the Lady Bugs, and many more.

Fish Tank at Fertility 2.0

Fish Tank at Fertility 2.0

A metalwork artist is creating high-octane art by driving a bit of Burning Man into Brooklyn.

Artist Yarrow Mazzetti is turning the “art car” phenomenon of the funky desert art festival into big business here — and the outlandish Burning Man-style sculpted vehicles that he creates in his Williamsburg garage are turning heads around the city.

“These are ridiculous sculpture concept cars,” said Mazzetti, who builds anywhere from two to 15 fanciful vehicles in any given year.

Mazzetti’s own personal transportation is one of these cars, a tricked-out Sacramento limousine service dubbed the “Batlimo” by his Tribeca neighbors.

Some Lady Bugs with their Mother Ship, Freeform Festival NJ 2012

Some Lady Bugs with their Mother Ship, Freeform Festival NJ 2012

Each Lady Bug has its own generator and sound system, and 3000 LED lights in its shell. Yarrow transports them around the country in a custom designed Lady Bug-mover semi trailer – every time I see him there’s more Lady Bugs, the last count I heard was 15. Everybody LOVES the Lady Bugs.

The Fish Tank’s design shows the experience of its creators in building the “right” kind of Art Car. It is surely one of the most interactive art cars on the Playa. Anyone can jump on it and have a good time – as long as you can run fast enough to catch it! It’s not a bus, after all…

Significantly, Yarrow is bringing his art cars to other events beyond Burning Man. One of the Fish Tanks was in the Houston Art Car parade last year, and another one in the Reno

Lady Bugs at Double-Seven at the Gansevoort Hotel, NY, October 2012

Lady Bugs at Double-Seven NY, Oct 2012

Art Car show; some of the Lady Bugs were at the Freeform Festival in New Jersey and Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. And these art cars just love to tear up the streets of South Beach during Art Basel in Miami – the Fish Tanks have been painted by Red Bull challenge champion street artist and Burner Hans Haveron.

Both the Lady Bugs and the Batlimo had major roles to play in lighting up the darkness of Lower Manhattan, during Hurricane Sandy.

Yarrow, who on occasion can seem like a caricature of himself, builds his vehicles as caricatures of their owners. Who obviously have a good sense of humor, healthy egos, and booming bank accounts: expect to pay this artist $100,000+ for one of his creations:

Yarrow Mazzetti driving one of his Lady Bugs

Yarrow Mazzetti driving one of his Lady Bugs

Mazzetti says that what for many people is a part-time hobby to indulge in the months leading up to the annual desert festival at the end of August, has become a full-time trade for him in New York, where people pay him big bucks to create art cars to keep the whimsical Burning Man spirit alive year-round.

“People have gotten so much life force out of the experience that those who have the means want to give back to the spirit so that other people can receive what they found at Burning Man for themselves,” he said. “So they fund art cars.”

The fully customized cars start at around $100,000 — and the price goes up from there.

Mazzetti says he tries to get to know the owners first before creating what he hopes will be an authentic automotive reflection of them.

All the cars are designed in a way to be a caricature of the owner,” said Mazzetti. “We usually hang out or take a trip, go somewhere or go skiing, and during that time we’d talk about what they’re trying to do. Do you want it for your friends, to pick up girls, a party car, a light car, transportation car? I try to find out what makes them tick. A lot of times I’ll ask what their spirit animal is.”

nautilusAlthough the price might seem high, it’s not out of the ballpark: last year’s Playa Force One spaceship was rumored to cost $450,000; the entrance door alone on Christopher Bently’s library-equipped Nautilus cost upwards of $20,000.

If you’ve got the money to burn, trust me, you’re going to have way more fun with an art car than a Ferrari.

Congratulations to Yarrow and his team for getting much-deserved publicity for their ingenious creations.

Look out for this “Bat Limo” on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan

Some of the other art cars mentioned in this story, not built by Yarrow. Here’s the door from the Nautilus:

Here’s Playa Force One – the “engines” on the wings are speakers, the wings fold down and the party begins.

Playa Force One - photo by Tomas Loewy

Playa Force One – photo by Tomas Loewy

3 comments on “Burners in Brooklyn: Artists Bringing Art Cars to the Wider World

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