It's a mult-purpose - functional work of art.
It's a means of transportation.
It's one man's home - his sanctuary.
It's one man's obsession with creative expression.
He rolled into Santa Barbara and parked by the skate park, next to the bike path, by the pier.
It was really hard to miss. From the oddly cryptic visual imagery and messages lovingly created from applying colored beads to the side of his van with epoxy, to the thousands of children's action figures and toys attached to its surface... this van was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
It's owner was homeless - sort of... he lives in the van. For years he's attached a small treasure (if you are the sort of person who covets action figures and odd movie memorabilia) in action figures, camera parts, toys from famous movies, beads, plastic flowers, and about anything else under the sun you can think of.
The message of it all - to quote the mystic wisdom of Bill & Ted after their Excellent Adventure - "Be Excellent to Each Other."... oh... and Jesus was a space alien who came to Earth to give man marijuana so man could live an awesome life making love and being one with nature.
Which if you look carefully at the different panels of the van - is spelled out visually in pretty straight-forward graphic depictions. I especially love the Jesus doll he glued to the van next to some toy aliens and an alien spaceship.
I was asked if I took it seriously... did I consider this art? Absolutely! It's actually something that at first overwhelms you - there's just SO much to it. But then you'll start seeing little things you didn't notice at first. The Star Wars Princess Lea and Han Solo having a pick-nick on top of the Millennium Falcon, with a miniature bottle of wine and wine glasses. And you can't help but smile.
This van makes me happy every time I see the photos I took of it. And it makes me want to inspect it closer... to look for other hidden treasures.
If that's not art... I don't know what is. :D