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Sellwood woman leads Art Car revival

by: Rita A. Leonard, This “octopod” Art Car was painted by Sellwood resident Emily Hall, president of the Portland Art Car Revival Club.

Emily Hall roams the city in her own special octopod.

The Sellwood woman has painted her '93 Geo Metro to resemble a giant orange octopus in a turquoise and silver sea. Glass beads are glued onto the yellow-highlighted tentacles that curl from the hood back toward the trunk, making this one of the newer 3-D Art Cars in Inner Southeast Portland.

Although she is studying to be a civil engineer, Hall is currently president of the Portland Art Car Revival Club. 'I've lived in Sellwood for eight years now, and painted 3 different art cars,' she says. 'KATU featured art cars in November on a program called 'What Makes Portland Weird?' You can see other examples on their website, www.KATU.com, in the 'features' section.'

Hall notes that in September, 25 art cars from all over the country and Canada converged on S.E. Miller Street for a display meet. Another art car owner lives nearby, and often has three or more of the unusual vehicles parked in the yard and at the curb. 'We're hoping the Miller Street exhibition will become an annual event,' she says.

Hall's 11-year-old son, Oscar, chose the theme design for her octopod. 'The octopus is his favorite animal,' she says. 'We have at least 30 toy octopi inside the vehicle, as well as an original painting of the rare deepwater 'Dumbo' octopus. I call the car 'my power animal', since I have tentacles into everything.'

The strikingly decorated octopod used to have a working PA system, but now it just serves as a piece of drivable public art. 'We used to play various animal noises on the PA system when we drove around town, but not any more,' says Hall. 'I'm glad people enjoy just looking at the artwork. I think art should be accessible to all, and this is a fun way to do that.'