Big Red, Heroicar take top Art Car prizes

Kirk Strawn's oversized, 2:1 scale replica of the VW Baja Bug, Big Red. Crafted out of a 1959 Walter Class 1500 Crash Truck, Big Red is the second in a series of early VW replicas created by Strawn and his collaborative group The Walter Project. (Credit: Orange Show Center for Visionary Art)
May 13, 2013 5:42:59 PM PDT
In an annual tradition that honors the individuals who have spent countless hours creating the myriad of elaborate art cars seen during the Houston Art Car Parade, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art awarded $15,000 in prize money to entries in 12 different categories using criteria such as overall theme, craftsmanship, design, originality and transformation.

"Giving back to the artists who have put their time and resources into producing these masterpieces is an important part of the Houston Art Car Parade," said Orange Show Center for Visionary Art executive director Lynette Wallace, "Without the creativity and dedication of these exceptional individuals the Houston Art Car Parade would not exist."

Taking this year's top prize, "The Mayor's Cup," which included a hand-made trophy from artist Randy Blair and $2000, was Kirk Strawn's oversized, 2:1 scale replica of the VW Baja Bug, Big Red. Crafted out of a 1959 Walter Class 1500 Crash Truck, Big Red is the second in a series of early VW replicas created by Strawn and his collaborative group The Walter Project. Accepting the award in front of a large crowd at the Orange Show Monument, Carol Chamberlain, from Scotsdale, Arizona, thanked the Houston art car artists for welcoming them into their close-knit community, and announced that Strawn will be donating $500 of his award back to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

Four first place winners were chosen as "Best Art Car" to receive $1,500 and a handmade trophy courtesy of artist Bob Wink. Welsh artist Andy Hazell, who spent the past 2 weeks in Houston creating his Superman-inspired entry "Heroicar" took the prize, as did Brooklyn-based printmaker Dennis McNett whose elaborate patterns and drawings covering an old ambulance was a huge crowd-pleaser. Also winning the first place award for Best Art Car was Joe Haden's "Tired and Feathered," which he considers his version of a cross between a 1930's Duesenberg and a chicken, as well as Cherie Smith and Sharon Neyland's soda-can covered "POPART" car.

Below is the complete list of awards and award winners.

Mayor's Cup - $2000
Big Red by Kirk Strawn & Friends

Best Art Cars

First Place - $1500
- Heroicar by Andy Hazell
- Tired & Feathered by Joe Haden
- POPART by Cherie Smith & Sharon Neyland
- Wolfbat by Dennis McNett & friends

Second Place
- Lace Car Room Room by Joe Haden
- Shattered Vanity by Nicole Strine
- Big Banana Car by Steve Braithwaite
- Gartenzwedgland aka the Gnome Car by Magda Boltz-Wilson

Third Place
- Karmageddon by Deb & Bill Elliott
- Peeps in the Deep by John Gregory
- The Recycle Cycle by Richard Renner
- Pastry Resistance aka "My Crumbly Artcar" by David Wilson

Best Lowriders

First Place - $1000
- Baby Boy by Jesse Leal
- Brown Pride by Miguel Requena

Second Place
- 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood by Jesus Jimenez

Best Daily Driver Art Car

First Place - $1000
- Big Banana Car by Steve Braithwaite

Second Place
- Simply Charming Dragonfly Car by Stephanie Walton and the students of Northbrook Middle School

Third Place
- A Little Bit of Nonsense by Randy Blair

Best Youth Group

First Place - $500
- Things That Go Bump In The Night by Paloma Garner and the students of Jefferson Davis High School

Second Place
- Simply Charming Dragonfly Car by Stephanie Walton and the students of Northbrook Middle School

Third Place
- Kaleidoscope Dreams by Mary Reed and the students of Memorial High School

Best Contraption

First Place - $500
- River Run by George Sacaris
- Backyard Staycation by Marlene Iacoviello and Jana Jordan

Second Place
- Fire & Ice by Ben Gibson and Nicole Strine

Best Cycle

First Place - $500
- You Wanna Go! by Drew Bettge and the students of Manvel High School

Second Place
- The Soul Keeper by Kimberly Bainter

Third Place
- Bika-a-saurus by Koralina Pyor

Best Music

First Place - $500
- Minor Mishap Marching Band

Second Place
- The Last Taco Tango by Last Concert Caf?

Third Place
- The Night Train Band

Best Performance

First Place - $500
- The Z-Bra Mobile's 13th Birthday and Bar Mitzvah by Amy Lynch Kolflat and The Z-Bra Krewe

Second Place
- The Cowboy Dave Show by David Gregory

Third Place
- Lucha Mobile by Todd Bowers

Best Free Speech

First Place - $500
- Dove for Love not War by Patrick Renner and the students of Sharpstown International High School

Second Place
- The Peace Portraits by Claire Loe, owned by Lindsey Molnari

Third Place
- Fusion of Contradiction by Brandi Renee Hammond

Best Painted Car

First Place - $500
- Map of Space & Time by Rebecca Lowe

Second Place
- Strings by Charles Washington

Third Place
- Texas Natives by Chris Green
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