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Ornamental Conifer GR Supra Brings (Almost) Lost Art of Sign Painting to SEMA360

Remember how interest for Polaroid’s instant film skyrocketed when it was announced that production would cease? It’s just a positive example of how an artform threatened with obsolescence becomes instantly culturally relevant once more. Another one would have to do with the (almost) lost art of sign painting – which has recently resurged as people try to distance themselves from the corporate language of international brands.
Toyota SEMA360 Ornamental Conifer GR Supra 20 photos
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Personal identity – even in business use case scenarios – has become a major point of inflexion in today’s world. Assaulted by the digital and mass-market presence of worldwide-renowned brands, many lesser-known companies have reverted to the “old ways.” And sign painting is one way of rebelling against the system.

It is interesting that an artform that goes against the current was selected by one major corporation for an event that’s watched by an entire world, but the Toyota SEMA360 Showcase clearly refers to the hand-painted Ornamental Conifer GR Supra “Art Car” as a contemporary “Tribute to the Lost Art of Sign Painting.”

We could muse about how a project with international recognition clearly signals that said artform is not actually lost, but we are just going to leave the philosophers to debate all that going further. And focus on our gearhead element, the GR Supra itself, in turn.

The name - Ornamental Conifer – is actually the alter-ego of British artist Nicolai Sclater, so the odd moniker really has a very simple explanation. Moving on, the GR Supra is part of Toyota’s first wave of releases for the “SEMA360 Builder Showcase” (November 2nd to 6th) - the company promises even more concepts in the weeks to come.

Sclater used a rather bland Turbulence Gray hue as the starting point for this 2021 GR Supra 3.0 Premium example and tried to imagine “what motivates and drives enthusiasts to customize their GR Supra sports cars.”

He then only used enamel paint and brushes, hand-painting every single letter and graphic, which include expression such as “True to Form” and “Lightning Response.” Because Sclater is also the art director of Race Service, a Los Angeles creative agency and culture hub dedicated to car enthusiasts, there will be some tie-in artworks moving forward – limited-edition shirts, key chains, air fresheners, water bottles, or tote bags, among others.



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