Victoria's annual Art Car Parade brings mobile masterpieces to downtown

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

By by jessica rodrigo/
May 15, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.
Updated May 16, 2013 at 12:16 a.m.

Step one: Find something you've got an interest in.

Step one: Find something you've got an interest in.

Downtown will come alive with creations and monsters the size of cars - or even larger.

The Nave Museum has rallied up more than 50 cars for the second annual Victoria Art Car Parade on Saturday.

"There's always a variety of cars in the parade," said Amy Leissner, Nave Museum executive director. "I love being able to come in the art cars and bring it to Victoria."

Cars will rally at North and Main streets and make their way through downtown until they arrive at the museum, where drivers can park and show off their rides. Families and art lovers will have a chance to take a closer look at the cars and admire the work the artists have put into their mobile masterpieces.

Artist Ken Browning, mastermind behind The Roachster - an art car that looks just like the name sounds - has been a longtime participant of the Houston Art Car Parade and will return to Victoria for his third appearance in the downtown parade. His roach ride, complete with flaming antenna, is made out of scrap metal and stretches 25 feet long.

"I can't draw very well - I was shorted in that talent - but I can visualize things that I can make into art," he said.

That talent - along with the experience he had growing up with a dad who built race cars for fun - armed Browning with the ability to transform a Toyota Celica GT into a first-place winner in the Houston Art Car Parade in 2000. Since then, his indestructible, larger-than-life art car has crawled its way as far as Victoria and Austin.

He still builds art cars when he's not tending to his plumbing business in Houston, but he said it's something anyone could do.

Step one: Find something you've got an interest in.

"Think about going with that theme, because it will make it more fun for you if it's something you enjoy already."

Step two: Gather your tools and materials.

"I'm fortunate enough to have a metal shop," Browning said. "But you can do a car with as little as almost nothing."

You can cover a car in knitting, paint, mirrors or knickknacks or rebuild a car so that it doesn't even look like a car anymore. He's even seen a 12-foot-tall chicken art car in the Houston Art Car Parade.

Step three: Get it done.

Set aside the time to build it. For Browning's roach mobile, he took a Toyota Celica GT (the older year model that was still rear-wheel drive), and tore it apart.

"When you drive it, you're basically sitting above the back wheels," he said of the 25-foot art car.

Step four: Take a spot in the Art Car Parade.

Showing off your car is one of the best parts of having it. Plus, you get to swap stories with other art car artists and owners.



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