Earlier this week, I went hiking around Sundance Ski Resort in the mountains north of Provo Canyon. As I was returning down the Sundance access road, I noted an unusual vehicle several cars in front of me. From the rear it looked like a gigantic pudgy hot dog. The dog was orange and its transportation (the bun?) was yellow.
As the wiener truck turned onto the Provo Canyon highway, I could see that it was an Oscar Mayer promotion. Because of highway construction, I was unable to catch up with the truck. This caused some momentary frustrations.
Luckily(?) for me, the wiener truck pulled into the fast mart/gas station at the mouth of Provo Canyon. This gave me the chance to have my picture taken with “wonderful” example of Americana. The wienermobile was attracting quite a crowd.
It also gave me a chance to talk to the driver. I asked him if he had heard any good wiener jokes. He just rolled his eyes and said he thinks he has heard them all . . . multiple times.
The OM promotion made me wonder if maybe moveable art might be an underdeveloped cultural activity in the United States. Right now we have floats, but I’m not a big fan of parades. Besides, floats, like the wiener truck, are usually promoting something. Only a few are beautiful just to be beautiful. We have the inflatables in the Macys’ Thanksgiving Parade; but they are largely just cartoon characters. You also have the graffiti that taggers put on railroad cars. But most of it is offensive to the eye and I detest vandalism.
In Asia, they frequently decorate their jeep/taxis, buses, and trucks with colorful graphic designs. And the decorated vehicles add a lot character to the urban environment. But most of it wouldn’t qualify as art. It’s pleasing to eye (if a bit cluttered sometimes), but doesn’t cause us to stop and think (other than to remind us to clean up our closets).
So what could we do with moveable art? We could encourage a few semis to put specifically created two-dimensional works of art on the sides of their trailers. We could also use panel trucks or the racks on the top of vehicles to display both paintings and sculptural works. But better yet, we could commission works that integrate the vehicle into the work of art (much like OM has done, but without the commercial tie-in). The French company Citroen has already attempted this when they used a frog as the inspiration for one of its cars (recently made semi-famous by the TV show The Mentalist).
Postscript: The reader of the post is left on his/her own to decide if I’m serious . . . or not.