A few years ago, Brooklyn artist Jonathan Brand sold a 1969 Ford Mustang that he rebuilt with his father to pay for an engagement ring. In his latest work, entitled "One Piece at a Time," he has reconstructed that Mustang, piece by piece, at 1:1 scale, using nothing but paper.
Brand mentioned that the American automobile has played a large part in his personal life and his art. His grandfather worked as a millwright at a Detroit car assembly line. His uncles and cousins are mechanics. And he, together with his father, has restored 3 vintage cars.
One of those cars, a 1969 Mustang, took him five years to rebuild and has been the inspiration for several of his bodies of work. Below is a photo of the Mustang that he used as a basis for his art work.
Brand uses digital drawings as his source and printing the blueprints with a large-format inkjet printer. He would then meticulously cut out and folded the components to create spark plugs, nuts and bolts, a radiator, and even the individual tires — complete with life-like treads.
Here is what Brand has to say about his art project which will be showcased at the Hosfelt Gallery in New York City.
"The car is being shown in a slightly unfinished state. I have been working on it for 2 years which includes drawing the car and parts in 3D on my computer as well as the printing, cutting and folding. I drew everything; undercarriage, brakes, suspension etc, but realized that to make all the internal mechanicals this could become a life-long project so I chose to focus on the more visible and personally significant pieces.
I haven't ruled out making the missing pieces but this project is more about my experience and connection with the original car rather than a complete diagrammatical inventory of a 1969 Mustang. Also the details of the car are based more on my memory of the details. I no longer have access to the car and chose not to use a surrogate to measure. I like when things are slightly wrong, just like my memories can be slightly off.
This is my first time working with these materials. One thing that is important to me as an artist is to always use new materials. I learn something new with every project and rarely repeat it. As far as making a statement, I have been overwhelmed by the online reaction to this work and it's really great to connect with such a wide range of people.
My intention with creating existing objects is to reclaim things that are lost for myself and create new experiences out of my past. The original car didn't run, I never drove this one. Its body and interior were refinished but not its mechanicals. We restored 2 others that were complete restorations but this one was never finished so in a way the paper version is just as complete as the original."
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