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How Artist Chris LaBrooy Sees the Automotive World




There’s a kind of perfection in experiencing something in its natural environment — like a V-8 muscle car hurtling down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue or a vintage Ferrari flying along the Mille Miglia. While artist Chris LaBrooy understands and appreciates an automobile’s ideal context, he enjoys wistfully twisting and contorting cars he loves within the fully digital, three-dimensional worlds he builds.

His impossible compositions are odd and alluring because they appear hyper-real, though every single pixel is meticulously 3-D-modeled, using photographs only for reference. “Nothing is meant to be deliberately deceiving, but that’s a function of the craftsmanship and the hours and hours of experimentation that go into this,” says LaBrooy.

LaBrooy, a 36-year old graphic designer, came onto the automotive art scene in 2012 with “Auto Aerobics” and “Tales of Auto Elasticity,” which feature classic cars and trucks stretched like taffy, strangely floating or folded over themselves. “Once the proper scene was set, it all became about manipulating the car into something extraordinary, into something nobody’s ever seen before,” says LaBrooy, who by day works as a freelance graphic artist.

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It takes LaBrooy four months to map out and bring to life these digital worlds. His process always begins with the concept of an environment in space and time, giving his vibrant automotive subjects a harmonious sense of place.

One of his latest works, “Tokyo,” is a love letter to classic Japanese cars that LaBrooy, born in Scotland, first discovered playing video games such as “Gran Turismo.” The Japanese cityscape is detailed obsessively, down to the iconic Nakagin Capsule Tower. Odd as it is to see a Nissan Skyline GT-R lopped in half and Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog shacking up inside a warped AE86 Toyota Corolla, it’s even odder that everything seems to fit and make sense in a sort of bizarre logic. You can sense LaBrooy’s childlike adoration for these foreign classics, which he celebrates by using the visual aesthetic of the video games he first discovered them in.

A fondness for his personal Porsche Cayman has inspired LaBrooy’s latest project, which is a headfirst dive into outlaw Porsches and the Southern California car collectors’ world. “Outfits like Magnus Walker and Singer really represent what a buoyant time it is for car culture, where old meets new,” LaBrooy notes. He’s rendered a dozen Carrera RS coupes in a pool, peeking out of the water like synchronized swimmers.

LaBrooy fashions new ways for us to experience the cars we love, challenging us by changing their known forms but not their emblematic environments. Think of them like digital snow globes he can shake up and play with on a whim.

Find LaBrooy’s work at chrislabrooy.com, which will also soon feature a web shop for prints.

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November 6, 2016