For the devoted reader of Lowrider magazine, colors, lines, and reflections are what makes a lowrider a canvas on wheels. Mesa, Arizona, was the place to be in September at the new (and beautiful) Mesa Contemporary Art Gallery, which featured a very special and unique art exhibit displaying the artistry work of famous lowrider and tattoo artists like Mister Cartoon, OG Abel, Danny D, Efrain “Bugs” Gonzales, Estevan Oriol, and Jack Rudy. This distinctive art show was the first of its kind. A grand opening to mark the event took place Sept. 12 and 13 for an exhibit that runs through January 2009.
For the grand opening weekend, Mesa Art curator Patty Haberman contacted Lowrider magazine’s senior car show judge and executive member of the Lowrider Hall of Fame, Richard Ochoa, to assist in coordinating a lowrider weekend at the art center for a car show. The event featured as much lowrider art outside as is in the gallery itself. Due to very limited space this was an invitation-only event to which over 25 car clubs participated, bringing out Arizona’s most colorful and artistic works of art on two and four wheels. The main stage featured live bands and the manic Hispanic himself, James Rivas, hosted the Friday night happening. A nighttime car show was the perfect scenery for the Arizona summer and with Budweiser’s Hensley and Company as a sponsor, the beer garden quenched many thirsts.
The main focus of this special engagement was to highlight, educate, and promote the artistry of the lowrider and Hispanic cultures and its influences on contemporary art. For some of our OG readers the ambiance of the once-prominent Mesa Super Show set the positive mood for the event. Throughout the gallery, unique works of art were displayed on hoods along with canvases that adorned the walls, including a ’64 Impala quarter-panel complete with flake, candies, pearls, and graphics created by Alex Lopez and showcased at the gallery. One of the first premiere lowrider bikes, “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” owned by Pat Torrez and family, was donated for the gallery. Mister Cartoon’s fully customized ’79 Monte Carlo flying the Lifestyle Car Club plaque was center stage. Also in the gallery was the famous Chavez Ravine ice cream truck that’s owned and mastered by legendary guitarist Ry Cooder.
The showcase area featured Arizona’s finest classics and custom cars, trucks, and bikes. Old-school jams, carne asada food booths, and all-night entertainment filled the Mesa Art Gallery grounds. And what’s a car show without a hop? Todd Lan of Street Life Hydraulics kept the spectators entertained with his world championship radical hopper. The world of art and lowriders collided instantaneously creating new lowrider fans who fell in love with more bounce to the ounce.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to the City of Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Motorsport Showcase, Budweiser, New Times, Juxtapoz, The Edge, Power, and Mega radio for their contributions and sponsorships, all of which made this great event possible.