The all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover art car looks exciting

The all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover art car looks exciting

  • Nissan’s all-new Ariya electric crossover comes in some nice colors, but nothing as complicated as this one. It’s the work of Pinstripe car artist Chris.
  • This work helps Nissan promote the easy-to-use new Ariya.
  • Custom work like this costs between $10,000 and $25,000.

Nissan is trying all sorts of things to promote its all-electric Ariya crossover, its first all-new electric vehicle since the flagship Leaf arrived in late 2010. An adventurous couple just completed a drive from the North Pole to the South Pole in a modified Ariya. JD Power has recognized the Aryia as the class-leading ‘most attractive’ car, and now Nissan has rolled out a technical version of it.

Car artist “Pinstripe Chris” Dunlop spent several days designing the Ariya you see here. If you think it looks like a circuit board, you’re not alone.

“The goal was to get more of an electric feeling, you know, not just using the car as a canvas, but what the car actually is to motivate and inspire the idea behind the artwork,” Dunlop said. Car Week.

Close-up of car license plate

Electricity doesn’t flow through lines, it looks like it does.

Mark Vaughn

So this is the circle plate we see around Arya?

“I would say that, I think everyone reads it a little differently,” Dunlop said. “So it’s not necessarily important.”

But the artist had a slightly different idea when he got to work on the custom paint job.

“In my mind, I was kind of thinking about neon signs, the way the lighting works, the way the curves work, the way the angles work. Just kind of this beautiful glow, but kind of a narrow line feel. And it looks like part of a circuit board.”

He didn’t have a specific pattern in mind when he started. First, he colored a dark blue background of Cretex acrylic below where the white pinstripe would go, then hand-painted the pinstripe itself with a fine brush over the blue. By the way, the design is asymmetrical, with one side not matching the other. You can trace completely different evolutions of the lines throughout the car.

“I think weird things like this are more interesting than perfection. Perfection is good, but yeah, something that looks like a signature is an interesting idea whether it’s accidental or not.”

Dunlop has worked on Nissan cars before, most recently applying a pattern to a white Nissan Z using black pen.

“I’ve built a lot of cars this way. That’s a lot of fun, a little more spontaneous, a little more, just kind of going forward, a little free-flowing. You’re just filling the surface with design and pattern — just an aesthetic thing. It’s fun to watch that happen in person.” “

Blue car parked in a parking lot

Notice how the art car stands out among the production paintwork.


Likewise, the style that emerged in the Nissan Z was not intricately pre-planned. It came straight from Dunlop’s imagination.

“It’s more efficient that way. If you try to plan things like that, you’ll get nowhere.”

But what if the customer asks to know exactly what his car will look like before signing the deal? These jobs range from $10,000 to $25,000, after all.

“I’ve built, I want to say, 27 or 28 art cars over the years this way. And it’s usually the corporate-type customers who want to see more of the plan. It’s more effective to say no than to argue back and forth with them.”

Nissan did not seek pre-approval for the Ariya.

“A lot of the companies I work with, they’re very go-with-the-flow. If you just explain, you’ll know, ‘I’m not going to do anything I’m not proud of.’ Just give me a little space to have fun and we’ll make it work.”

Dunlop also works in 2D art – acrylic on canvas – and it looks great too. You can see some examples on his Instagram page, pinstripe_chris or visit

With the long tradition of car pinstripes from The Greek and Von Dutch to the modern masters, there’s always a way to make your car stand out from the rest.

Photo of Mark Vaughn's head

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six car miraculously fed by a single-cylinder carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all of its products, and everyone who ever worked there. This was the introduction to objective criticism of automobiles. He began writing for the City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of an automobile magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided that Auto should cover Formula 1, sports models and touring cars, and no one stopped him! From there he gave an interview to Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show and has been with us ever since.

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