The Blue Hawaiian
As my friends and I were having, what I thought was, a normal and relaxing lunch at the abandon and graffiti filled Castle Hill, a car that was bizarre on a level that cannot be explained in simple terms pulls up.
Have you ever woken up one morning and decided you would glue objects to your car in an effort to make it ‘fancy’? Holly and daughter Gena Klemm have done just this.
In 1997, Holly and Gena were instantly inspired with the idea of art cars after, “seeing the mayor decked in a red tux, with his red hair, in his red car,” at the Mayor’s Parade in Hampden.
They decorated their first car for Baltimore’s Art Scape Festival in 1997; however, Holly said, “they never qualified because they had to have it towed since it wouldn’t run.”
Although their neighbor had no interest in art cars, he gave them two cars, one of which is the exact car they pulled up in today, “The Blue Hawaiian”. For the past 11 years, Holly and Gena have turned heads as they stroll around in their 1988 Chevy. Originally created in Baltimore, it now permanently resides in Austin where it’s sand castles, murals of the sea and it’s interior filled with tropical colors, instantly make you feel as if you are at the beaches on the islands of Hawaii.
The Klemms exhibit their cars at classic shows annually; especially the Annual Art Car Parade in Houston, where around 300 cars are displayed and over 300,000 people show up.
Some might think gluing ‘junk’ on a car is just part of the whole ‘Keep Austin Weird’ vibe. This kind of stuff is all over the South, and although it may be weird in Baltimore, Holly thinks, “its something people enjoy because it is an old car. It’s touchable and sits right on the street. Even if the cars are weird, people still relate to them.”
Despite originally being baffled by this unusual car, talking to Holly gave me insight on something I really didn’t know much about; and, turns out, she was right. Sitting in an art car, regardless of how strange it may be, enabled me to gain an appreciation for it on a deeper level that I normally wouldn’t have had.