Now more formally known as..

Lord Duke the Mighty, Mighty Mobile Museum!

for Harrod Blank’s Art Car Agency
descriptive content & car concept

1976 Ford Granada 2-door
Length x width x height = 18’ x 6.5’ x 11
Height = 12 feet (entire top section removable for shipping/transport)
Weight = 5,000 lbs. 

Construction materials used:
Nuts and bolts, sheet metal screws, baling wire, flexible steel rebar, cases & cases of 100% silicone, 1-Shot paint, spray foam insulation and more.


FIRST PLACE – Daily Driver Division, Houston 2000
ARTIST’S CHOICE – Hawthorne Street Festival Art Car Parade, Portland, OR, 1998
PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Portland, OR, 1997 Hawthorne Street Festival Art Car Parade

Exhibitions & Parades:
[Note: This is only a partial list as Duke has appeared in dozens of parades nationwide in his 12 year career.]
Idyllwild, California's Cafe Aroma – Featured art installation, May 2003-February 2004
New Orleans 2002 – Mardi Gras season (Jan-April), multiple appearances
Albuquerque, NM – Arts festival exhibitions, 2000, 2001
Indianapolis 500 Parade – and inside pavillion exhibition, May, 2001
Scottsdale, AZ – Museum of Contemporary Art, opening & parade, 1999
Tucumcari, NM – Festival exhibition & parade, 1998
San Francisco – Art Car Fest, 1998, 1999
Houston, TX – Orange Show Art Car Festival & Parade, attended annually 1995-2002
Portland, OR – Hawthorne Street Festival Art Car Parade, 1997, 1998
Minneapolis – Wheels As Art Parade & LynLake Street Fair, 1998
New Orleans – Jazz Fest Parade, 1997
Los Angeles – FX Collectibles Exhibition w/Doctor Demento, 1996
Las Cruces, NM – spring arts parade, 2000
Bozeman, MT – summer parade, 1998
Idyllwild, CA – Independence Day parade, 1995, 1996, 2003
Solana Beach, CA – Fiesta del Sol parade, 1993

Television & print news:
[Note: This again is only a partial list as so much coverage of Duke occurs w/o my even knowing it, and there is much I have forgotten. For example:
Duke's pièce de résistance – May, 2001 At the Indy 500 parade, on a run around the track and at an indoor pavillion show that weekend, television media went paparazzi-crazy over this mad hatter assemblage car from the west, the likes of which one reporter told me "corporate Indianapolis has never seen." Duke appeared on TV every day during our 5-day stay in that city. Alas, what footage I did capture remains on video cassette awaiting digital transfer.]
Automotive Section front page feature! – Riverside, CA Press-Enterprise, Feb. 2003
Houston Chronicle – photo w/article, May 2002
Albuquerque Tribune, Arts Section front page feature story – "Joy Ride" August 10, 2001
ABC Houston – Pennzoil Art Car Parade, parade and interview, April 2000
The Travel Channel – American Journey, footage, March 2000
Quatro Rodas, Brazil – print article in Brazil’s equivalent of Car & Driver, Feb. 2000
San Francisco Chronicle – Driven by Creativity, print interview & photo, Sept. 24, 1999
CNN Burning Man story – Fall, 1997
BBC1 Great Britain – Burning Man special, feature interview and footage, Sept. 1998
KZTY 11 NBC Fargo – Duke the Art Car news feature, July 1998
ABC Nightline News – Burning Man special, footage, September 1997
KOTI 2 NBC Oregon – Duke the Art Car news feature, August 1997
Channel 2 Germany – Meine Amerika, interview and footage, July 1997
News 25 ABC Dallas – Duke the Art Car news feature, June 1997
PBS – Neat Stuff, footage, 1997
The Learning Channel – art car feature, footage, 1997
KNBC Los Angeles – short news feature on art cars, May 1996
FX TV – The Collectibles Show, interview, May 1996
other.. – news features in San Francisco; Tucson; Austin; Houston; Minneapolis; and Rapid City, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls, SD.

 Special attributes:

  • Interactive toys and tools abound on Duke, including several Fisher Price toys with buttons and bells and windup music boxes, all low on the car’s exterior for the easy reach of small children. An ample array of dials and toggles and spinning things are within the reach of adults as well. Also at adult height are a self-serve postcard box, an informative "Top 10 Questions Answered" plaque, and a 3-ring binder bolted to the car’s trunk featuring laminated photos and articles and history of the car. Duke’s interior is chock full of smaller treasures, many of which are toys with pull-strings or wind-up activation.
  •  The Live-in Steamer Trunk Sculpture is surely Duke’s most fantastic attribute. Literally an "upstairs" to the car, the Trunk Sculpture is a loft bedroom 5-feet wide by 8-feet long by 5-feet high comprised of the exteriors of 23 old travel trunks bound together with steel rebar, spray foam and silicone, and attached to the car in a welded bed rail frame. Duke features 3 gutted television sets for windows; two of these are upstairs in the Trunk Sculpture. The ceiling of the trunk room is almost entirely sky, featuring a 3-foot by 5-foot household bubble skylight which can either be opened for ventilation or removed entirely, as during a parade so that many people can stand up top and wave out. Built as it was to resemble a piled-high stack of luggage atop the car, the "moving cross country" theme actually works, fooling most observers into thinking the trunks are whole. Percentage-wise, few people guess that the sculpture is empty and serves as sleeping quarters. The interior theme of the Trunk Sculpture is "The Station." Featuring an operational HO-scale train and two dozen tiny, lighted dioramas or "shrines" to friends and family now-deceased, the theme reflects the message of the poem of the same name, reminding us to enjoy the journey to its fullest and not always be looking to "Get there!", to get to the station which, in the end, is death. [The Trunk Sculpture interior theme work is presently under construction.]
  •  Truly a rolling museum, Duke features an under layer of seven years of public graffiti, including autographs of Stephen Stills, Eric Idle, Weird Al Yankovich and Ken Kesey; photographs of Martin Sheen, Wavy Gravy and other luminaries posing with the car; and a 1996 letter of gratitude and awe from the Chairman of the Board of Ford Motor Co.
  •  Upon Duke’s dashboard rests every silver dollar and Boy Scout achievement badge and ring and bracelet and belt buckle and every other thing I treasured as a child growing up. The steering wheel, totally encrusted with beads and jewels and coins, features at its center a pair of mirror sunglasses through which I have watched myself pilot this ever-blooming coral-reef-of-a-car through ten years and dozens of parades and road trips nationwide. And Duke’s downstairs ceiling is a photo gallery and treasure trove of the car’s and my history.
  •  Two brass ship’s portal windows from a yacht once-owned by Herbert Hoover make up the car’s two rear side windows.
  •  Objects of very special sentimental value abound on Duke’s interior, including: my first nephew’s first bottle nipples, saved before my sister could throw them out and glued to the ceiling with pictures inside of my sister growing up; a 2-foot long braid of my girlfriend’s hair, the full measure of her hair growth from when she lost her virginity to when she met me; and a French medal of honor with the photo of Pierre de Gaulle presenting it to my beloved, now-deceased mentor.
  •  In the past year, colored lighting has become a part of Duke’s showmanship. Currently Duke features: a cast human skull with red light emanating from the eye sockets; a horse skull on the hood with bright green eye lights; red and orange interior lighting; a bright red ship’s lantern on the Trunk Sculpture driver’s side; a dozen back-lit seashells in a landing strip-like, V-pattern on the hood; and ultra-violet lighting upstairs in the Trunk Sculpture.

Everything else:

  • Inspiration – Hunter Thompson’s writing; a love of pirates and ships and steamer trunks; frustration with my own writing and the loneliness and lack of response that went with it.
  •  How long – Ten years, very slowly.
  •  Where made – California, Oregon, Arizona, Texas & New Mexico
  •  How many people helped – thousands I believe, though only with the paint under layer
  •  Transformation – awesome, from a graffitied chop-top "convertible" to a roofed graffiti and found-object car to the massive, antler and typewriter and skull and bone-encrusted road galleon that Duke is today.
  •  Victories – In late 1998, my labor and the love and cash donations of some two dozen art car artist friends brought Duke back from dead-engine death with the installation of a new engine. Duke was voted the favorite of his peers at an art car parade in Portland in 1998, and took First Place Award in Houston among daily driver art cars in 2000.
  •  Tragedies – More than anything, the death of my mentor before she got to see Duke’s rise to fame or see us on parade in a major event like Houston or San Francisco. Otherwise, Duke has been very lucky and was only side-swiped once, of which the resulting dents only gave rise to more gluing on of objects.
  •  Discoveries – I have, I believe, discovered what it is to be famous and am thankful that I can walk away from my car when I’ve had enough and disappear into the crowd, invisible, a nobody.

About the driver:
I am presently at work on a feature-length screenplay, the proposal for which caught the interest of "Fight Club" director David Fincher. I am a writer of great versatility and talent. I have in my treasure chest three unpublished novels, half a dozen self-published volumes of poetry, and close to a hundred steno notebook journals. I am also an accomplished public speaker, capable of talking with ease to large groups about my art, my writing and my travels. I frequently read my poetry aloud at poetry readings. I have also done voice-over work for documentaries and radio. I have a hidden talent that I am hoping to have surface in the form of a humorous monologue: celebrity voice imitation. From the ages of 6 to 15, I was a child stage actor and am not only at ease on stage but am something of a ham when I get going. I juggle machetes and spit fire when the occasion calls.

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