Collection of art vehicles sparks imagination at Butte festival

2014-07-12T10:11:00Z 2014-07-14T06:42:12Z Collection of art vehicles sparks imagination at Butte festivalBy Matt Hoffman Montana Standard The Billings Gazette
July 12, 2014 10:11 am  • 

The ChewBaru was eating up attention on Friday night.

There’s barely room to floss between the dentures, toothpaste tubes, molds and other dental equipment glued over the 1995 Subaru’s green paint. But the car still chomps up pavement as well as it ever did.

The ChewBaru is part of a display of art cars — drivable vehicles that double as works of art — at the Montana Folk Festival. They came from all over the country, bringing secondhand shoes on their roof, sculpted faces on side panels, and telephone numbers on the windshield.

There are about 1,000 spread across the country.

Harrod Blank, an art car creator and filmmaker, brought a bird-splashed red Toyota Prius.

“A lot of these are people’s daily cars,” he said. “The bird car, I take it wherever I go. It’s practical, but it’s also artistic.”

Rex Rosenberg has put about 95,000 miles on the ChewBaru since its permanent teeth came in. He purchased the car in 2005, dimpled with hail damage, but mechanically sound.

After a prolonged search, he scored a 75 pound box of dentures on Ebay in April of 2006. As he took the car to shows across the country, more people chipped in. A dentist in Tulsa delivers new material each year.

Rosenberg uses a special glue and clear silicone adhesive to attach the not-so-pearly whites to his vehicle. He also pasted pictures from old dental textbooks to side panels.

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