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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Audi AreA1 at Leicester Square: Thoughts

I saw this is the paper yesterday, intrigued me. Audi are showing off their new A1 range using a concept called 'AreA1', which will play host to all those who want to see the A1 and get close to the newest addition to the Audi range.

So far, so boring. I do like cars, me, but I've never really put Audi with excitement. Especially in my age group. Hence why they've come up with this idea. I'd imagine the conversation went like this:

"Hey, we really need to reach out to the arty, trendy, youth crowd, with our amazing and reasonably priced new A1 Audi"

"I've heard of art."

"I've heard of an artist. Let's get Damien Hirst to do a custom car. He is so underground."

"I concur."

And so they did just that. Audi have teamed up with Damien Hirst to produce a one-off painted car, which will be on display in "the heart of London’s bustling West End [sic] Leicester Square, and from the 14th to the 18th of July this iconic destination will have an iconic addition in its midsts – the new Audi A1."

Sounds interesting, they describe the process as "Using Hurst’s ‘spin painting’ technique each body panel was painstakingly removed from the car and placed on a spinning turntable where Hurst dripped brightly coloured paint from above. The body panels were then re-fitted to create a totally unique, road legal work of art."

Painstakingly removed? Don't they just have robots to do that? Hmmm.

My qualm isn't with the idea; it's fairly interesting to have an artist paint a car and have it on show in central London, even if it's been done before in various incarnations. Apparently it's recently been auctioned; one would assume/hope for charity but it doesn't mention which? I do however, think Audi have missed a trick here: Damien Hirst doesn't really need the publicity, it would have been so much nicer for an up and coming artist to have done this. That way it's a 2 way thing; Audi get their 'cool/trendy' publicity about their expensive car (I'm just jealous because I drive a Fiat 500) and the new artist gets lots of exposure. Damien Hirst is extremely obvious. Hey ho.

Having said this, the actual car looks good. Dripping paint is always a winner. The roof is where you can really see the spun paint - quite pretty really. And at least Audi are trying something new and engaging people in a way that isn't a well airbrushed tv advert - not many car companies step out into the ambient marketing area. And I shouldn't really pass judgement until I visit this strange 'AreA1' (which keeps reminding me of Area 51...heh...)

I guess I'm just cynical about big corporations trying to maximise publicity with crazy art/culture experiments. It's just too transparent to me. 

AreA1 is on until sunday so if you want to check it out in person, why not? I probably won't make it down; can't afford to come into London this weekend. If you like Audis, and you like Damien Hirst, well then, that's pretty amazing. Go go go.

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