The Art of the Abandoned Vehicle

05. Oregon, February, 2016 (05)
Billboard.
01. Oregon, February, 2016 (1)
Not a billboard.  But waiting to explode next time a brush fire passes underneath it.
14. California, June, 2014 (09)
Target.
37. Oregon, November, 2014 (3)
Chicken coop.
245. Oregon, October, 2016
Bird bath.
35. Oregon, November, 2014 (1)
Technically not an abandoned vehicle.
25. Washington, April, 2017
Sock puppet theater.
41. Oregon, January, 2015
Secondary suite.
181. Oregon, June, 2016 (07)
And Fred Kelly as Bunny.
040. California, January, 2015 (26)
Airplane.

 

**Note: This has to do exclusively with the visual art that is inherently found in and can be created around the viewing of an abandoned vehicle, not with the actual process of abandoning a vehicle. That’s not what we do here.  I do not, and have never, advocated for the abandoning of any vehicle in any way, shape or form.  Condoned?  Sure.  Even assisted once or twice.  Four times.  And I can’t tell you how many parts I’ve pulled from vehicles that were formerly abandoned.  I have no idea, actually.  But I know people who have.  And saved, like, a crap load of money doing it.  I wholeheartedly support the parts-pulling industry, but I stand to tell you, right now, that I in no way, no way, advocate for the reckless and largely criminal act of abandoning a vehicle by the side of the road. No way.**

I got a friend who used to buy cars for like $300 (it’s easy to do around here), drive them for a little while, then fill them up with garbage before abandoning them in small fields, Wal-Mart parking lots or downtown historic districts.  It was an obsession.  One time, he loaded a $300 car he owned with garbage and abandoned it across the street from where he was working in Cottage Grove, Oregon.  Right across the street.  His boss knew it, too, but couldn’t do anything about it.  A week later, three migrant workers had removed the garbage, moved in and were operating a medium-sized propane grill in the back where the bench seat used to be.

Made the Variety section of the local newspaper.

So, from my experience, the formula is simple: Take a car.  Leave it out in the rain and snow and sun its entire life.  Take some care of it, but not much (like, for example, change the oil regularly [every 10,000 miles] but never fix any oil leaks.  There’s a big difference).  Wait until it gets to at least 350,000 miles, preferably 400,000, at least one bearing goes out, you got about three inches of play in the steering wheel, the rear struts fail, and then take some silver duct tape and (if you haven’t already) cover half the driver’s seat in it.  Then get a can of primer, and (if you haven’t already) spray individual patches over the body, covering approximately 1/8th of it.  Then take a bunch of smoked cigarettes, and (if you haven’t already) fill the ashtray with them.  But, if you haven’t already, remove the cigarette lighter.  Sprinkle Douglas Fir needles under the hood, as well, over by the firewall, along with some dead oak leaves.  Then put a crack in the windshield, in the style of your choosing.  The car is now ready to be abandoned.  And later photographed.

Or, in the case of a quarter of the population of Eugene, Oregon, it’ll be ready to drive for another 150,000 miles.

And in the case of a truck, everything still applies, only on a larger scale. Except trucks don’t have struts.  They have leaf springs.  And those are really tough to blow out.

And in the case of a boat or a plane, I have no concept of that.

But this really wasn’t about abandoning a vehicle.  It was about taking pictures.

 

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