The Artmobile



The car pictured above was not vandalized.

In case you can’t see the image, that’s a car — a regular, everyday automobile — covered in a lot of chalk. It’s parked at a pretty crowded commuter parking lot at a train station in Westchester County, New York. Each weekday, hundreds of commuters take trains from that station into New York City, and many of them park in the same parking lot as that car. The other cars — dozens upon dozens of them — are not covered in chalk.

That’s probably because the other cars don’t have a note written on them, one which invites passersby to take a short break and create a little bit of temporary — and mobile — art. Here’s another picture of the same car, a few weeks and at least one car wash later.



The license plate tells 90% of the story. It reads “DRAWONME.” The other 10%? That’s alluded to by the three or four pieces of sidewalk chalk left on the roof of the car — by no means a coincidence.

The car is owned by a 20-something Westchester resident named Philip Romano. He coated his 2004 Hyundai Elantra with chalkboard paint and then drove it around to strategic locations, making sure to provide the utensils of not-quite-graffiti. In the summer of 2013, for example, he parked it in front of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see if true art enthusiasts would take the license plate literally. It proved popular — one report claimed that the line went “around the block.”


The car has been spotted throughout the greater New York City area — on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, at a Connecticut amusement park, and of course the train station noted above, among other places. There are no known plans for a roadshow of wider range, so if you’re not in that areal, you’re stuck with photos. More can be found at a Tumblr set up by the car’s owner, here.

Bonus Fact: Chalking a car is temporary and likely won’t leave any lasting negative effects, but without permission, it’s still likely vandalism. There are similar types of vandalism which aim to create beauty in a non-permanent way. One such method of graffiti is called yard bombing, where, as seen and explained further here, vandals cover trees or lampposts or basically anything else in colorful, crocheted sweater-like coverings. Time Magazine has a photo gallery of notable yarn bombs.

From the ArchivesThe Birth of a Shoe Company: The other time I learned something neat from the side of an automobile (in that case, a delivery truck). Although I don’t mention it in the article itself.

RelatedChalkboard paint and sidewalk chalk. 2004 Hyundai Elantra not included.