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How Instagram Car Artists are Influencing Automotive Design

Author: DonutTime: 2024-01-20 00:50:00

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Formal Automotive Design

The automotive design process has traditionally followed a formal pipeline utilized by major auto manufacturers. Designers with formal training would sketch ideas on paper, adhering to parameters around feasibility and market viability. After a design is approved, a clay model is sculpted to visualize the car in 3D before further iterations and final production.

This traditional process aims to drum up hype and interest for the brand through unveiling sleek concept cars at auto shows. However, the final production models often end up being substantially different from the initial eye-catching concepts.

The Traditional Design Process

Automotive designers at large manufacturers undergo specialized training and education to learn how to design cars. They don't have full creative freedom, as leadership decides what kinds of vehicles to build based on what will sell. Designers have to balance visual excitement with practical considerations around manufacturability. After a drawing is complete, designers modeling the car in clay. This tactile approach still has advantages over modern VR technology, allowing real-world interaction with the design. The end goal is usually the reveal of a flashy concept car to generate hype.

Concept Cars Generate Hype

Concept cars are all about getting people excited and showing the brand's future direction. However, the eventual production models tend to be toned down for mass market appeal. For example, Kia debuted the aggressive GT concept in 2011, then the GT4 Stinger in 2014, before launching the more subdued Stinger crossover in 2017. While the final version retains some core styling DNA, it went through notable evolution from those initial concepts.

Meet the Instagram Car Artists

In contrast to traditionally-trained designers, many top automotive artists making waves on Instagram did not study car design formally. Talents like Khyzyl Saleem, Jon Sibal, and Ash Thorp started in other creative fields like graphic design and video game concept art before gravitating toward automotive renders.

They bring their artistic talents and imaginations to car culture, rather than classical vehicle design expertise. This fresh perspective gives their visions incredible popularity on social media, even attracting the attention of major automakers searching for inspiration.

Rendering Process and Influences

At first glance these heavily-modified vehicles look like Photoshop creations. But in reality, tremendous 3D modeling skill and effort goes into crafting every component of the cars and scenes.

Lighting, materials, environments are all constructed from scratch. The artists cite movies like Blade Runner and games like Need for Speed as influences, infusing their renders with sci-fi and dystopian aesthetics. This helps give their imaginative vehicles a heightened sense of realism and place.

Sci-Fi and Retro Futurism in Car Art

The cyberpunk tone utilized by artists like Khyzyl Saleem taps into the current popularity of retro futurism. Films from decades past portrayed wild future visions filled with angular, aggressive vehicle designs.

This retro future vision persists today both in the art world and increasingly in forward-thinking automotive brands. Tesla's angular Cybertruck seems straight out of an 80's sci-fi flick, while consumer appetite for retro styling keeps growing.

Did Instagram Artists Inspire the Tesla Cybertruck?

Tesla tends to march to the beat of its own drummer, catching the world by surprise with the reveal of the Cybertruck. Love it or hate it, the truck's origami styling stands out radically.

Given the Cybertruck's synergy with the signature aesthetic of leading Instagram artists, one wonders if Tesla designers browsed their feeds for inspiration before penning their own sci-fi transport.

If the Cybertruck succeeds, it could encourage more daring creativity from the auto industry rather than conservative me-too designs. The potential impact of these artists stretches far beyond social media likes.

More Artists to Follow on Instagram

For eye-catching automotive artwork, be sure to follow talents like Khyzyl Saleem, Ash Thorp, and Jon Sibal. But many other gifted artists are worth checking out as well:

Abimelec Design, Jaked Car Art, Adry53 Customs, Karan Adivy, WNLVD, Paul Fuentes, Aaron Beck, Rain Prisk, and Robert Designs just to name a few. Every artist brings their own unique flavor to both cars and culture.

Why Fusing Art and Cars is So Impactful

The automotive artists of Instagram provide value for both creators and fans. The act of making and sharing their visions is therapeutic, while the end results can border on thank-you notes to auto lovers.

By showing what's possible even without formal training, they expand the realm of imagination and inspiration. As some even design real-world parts now, they will only gain more influence over the industry.

Loving cars and loving art need not be mutually exclusive. The passionate creators playing in this crossover space give transportation emotion and life rarely seen on a factory floor or auto show stand.


Q: How is formal automotive design different from Instagram car art?
A: Formal designers are classically trained and conform to industry parameters while Instagram artists have more creative freedom.

Q: What is the car rendering process like?
A: It involves 3D modeling the vehicle, modifying it digitally, adding backgrounds and effects, and photographing it in a virtual space.

Q: What are some key influences for these Instagram artists?
A: Many are inspired by sci-fi and retro futurism from movies like Blade Runner and retro video games.

Q: Did the Tesla Cybertruck take inspiration from Instagram car art?
A: The cyberpunk styling is very similar to many popular renders, so it's possible Tesla designers were influenced by artists like Khyzyl Saleem.

Q: Who are some great Instagram car artists to follow?
A: Check out Khyzyl Saleem, Ash Thorp, Abimelec Design, Jaked Car Art, and others mentioned in the article.

Q: Why is the fusion of art and cars impactful?
A: It pushes automotive design boundaries, brings visions to life, and forms a therapeutic creative outlet for both artists and fans.

Q: Can formal design and Instagram art co-exist successfully?
A: Yes, they have a symbiotic relationship where the formal designers create products and Instagram artists put their own spin on them.

Q: Are widebody kits on classic cars controversial?
A: Some purists oppose modifying vintage vehicles like the Miura but others appreciate reimagining classics in a modern context.

Q: How can I learn automotive rendering?
A: Look up tutorials on 3D modeling programs like Blender, practice drawing concepts, study films and games for inspiration, and follow artists on social media.

Q: What skills are needed to create automotive render art?
A: You need 3D modeling ability, digital painting skills, photographic and cinematic knowledge to stage scenes, and creativity.