Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Traveling art September 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Art car, entire view of #89


I’VE SEEN THIS CAR tooling around Faribault and parked at the local library. It’s memorable. One-of-a-kind. Definitely photo-worthy. But I never had my Canon DSLR with me when I spotted it. On a recent Saturday I did.


Art car, front of


I practically flew from the van with my camera upon sighting the colorful car parked along Central Avenue in front of the Paradise Center for the Arts. And then, bonus, the owner strode across the street toward his vehicle as I was snapping frames.


Art car, Michael in photo


He is Michael. No last name given. I didn’t ask. We chatted briefly, enough for me to learn that this former travel industry professional “works to travel.” His words, not mine. He’s been to about 100 countries.


Art car, close-up side


A close examination of the national flags and words pasted onto Michael’s Saturn reveals those destinations: Bangkok, Vienna, Zurich, Barcelona, Hawaii, Paris, Delhi…

“Try to see it all,” the message adhered to the trunk advises.


Art car, horse on roof


Art car, elephant on roof


Art car, helicopter


And Michael has, via some interesting, and ordinary, modes of transportation—car, plane, train, helicopter, horse and elephant—documented by toys attached to the car’s roof. He rode the elephant in Laos or Cambodia. I can’t remember which.


Art car, front side close-up #90


Michael, though friendly, seemed reticent to engage in a more in-depth conversation. Maybe he was, like me, on a tight schedule. Or simply reserved, choosing to maintain a level of mystery about himself and his travels. That’s OK.


Art car, Frank Zappa quote


I asked if there was anything specific on his car that I should photograph. He directed me to a Frank Zappa quote on the windshield: “Progress is not possible without deviation from the norm.”


Art car, rear back close-up


Perhaps that reveals more about Michael than anything he could have spoken.


Art car, hood close-up


As does this question, posted on the Saturn’s hood: “Where to next Michael?”

FYI: To read another post about an art car I’ve photographed in Faribault, click here. Then click here to view one I photographed in Northfield. And to view a photo of another art car, photographed by one of my favorite Minnesota documentary photographers, Dan Traun of Red Wing, click here and check out the Sept. 14 entry.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling