Ocoee resident and artist Robert Perry drew custom designs on his car with the classic permanent marker to transform it into a gallery on wheels.
Robert Perry’s car turns heads wherever he drives.
There isn’t anything particularly exotic about his ride; he drives a 2007 Nissan Altima. The thing about Perry’s that catches the attention of so many people is the paint job of elaborate patterns he freehand drew using a Sharpie marker.
“People go crazy,” Perry said. “People really react strongly when they see the car. They always turn their heads, and they always say stuff like, ‘You drew on that? You drew that?’ … If I’m in the car, or if I’m not in the car (but) near it, I’ll just see how they react and they think it’s so amazing. Most people haven’t seen anything like this.”
Perry, 32, is a lifelong artist of multiple mediums who practices multiple forms of expression. He draws, paints and also creates 3D art. He also expresses himself through dance, singing and rapping. His earliest days of creating art revolved around illustrating cartoons, he said.
“I could draw some realistic faces and stuff like that, but I used to draw cartoons a lot,” Perry said. “I would draw cartoon animals (and) everything you would see in cartoons. I could draw a cartoon bear or cartoon people with different colors … and that was like my style. I started doing unique cartoons that I would create that were my own characters. That’s what I did for years when I started originally. That’s my foundation for art.
“Now I just do these abstract drawings or designs,” Perry said of his style today. “I’ll just draw a design that has just a bunch of lines in it. … I do abstract designs with paint and colors. There’s not even a form or anything; it’s mainly (abstract lines). That’s the main thing I do now.”
When it comes to his car, Perry said he was inspired to personalize it with his own illustrations after he stumbled across the idea online about four years ago. He was researching different mediums and discovered the practice of drawing on a car. Prior to drawing on his own car, he drew a custom design on part of a small fishing boat, he said.
“I saw it on another car,” he said. “It had just black and white designs that had spikes and zigzags. I thought that it looked so cool on that car. It didn’t look like … anything I’d ever seen, so I wanted to try it.
“I drew on a boat one time,” he later added. “I responded to an ad on the internet for designing a boat. I only worked on it for a few hours. I worked on it for like six hours total, and it was just the side of a fishing boat, and this guy paid me some money to do it. That was the only other (vehicle) I really drew a design on. … I covered it with different things and some stars (with) some words on it, too.”
Although he discovered drawing on a car as an art form four years ago, he never got to practice that medium on someone else’s car. So, he decided to draw on his own car last year. It took him about a year to completely cover his car with his designs. Since he started, he’s had to redraw and touch up a few spots on his car, because some of the designs have faded over time. He’s added a layer of paint to some parts of the design to make it more resistant to fading, he said.
“This is actually the first car that I’ve done where I drew on the whole thing,” Perry said. “I didn’t have any help with the whole thing. … At this point, from the design of the car (to drawing on it), it took about a year to do in my free time (working on it) part-time.”
In addition to a way to express himself, the drawings on his car also act as a means to showcase Perry’s artwork. His car not only gets him from place to place but also serves as his mobile art gallery.
Perry is originally from High Point, North Carolina, and he moved to Ocoee about four months ago. He decided to move to the area to pursue an art career in the form of a clothing and design company. He even has a brand name for the company; he calls it Vita Luna 100 Clothing & Design.
“I created the shop, and I’ve made some individualized pieces of clothing — some shirts and sweatshirts — but I just launched the website for an actual web store … a few weeks ago,” he said. “I’m just now getting some printed T-shirts, too.”
Perry still is working on getting more products on the Vita Luna 100 website and also working on refining the website itself. In addition to shirts and sweatshirts, his clothing company also offers custom accessories such as bracelets and snapbacks.