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Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 - Canvassed | Art & culture

San Diego artist turns car recall into an opportunity for art

Kevin Six's recalled 2007 Chevy Cobalt to be transformed into a mobile gallery filled with messages to General Motors

By Kinsee Morlan

The last time San Diego actor, activist and artist Kevin Six made an appearance on this blog, he was attempting to engage the community in his conceptual-art commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement. This time, Six has something to say about the recent Chevy Cobalt recall.

A not-so-proud owner of a 2007 Chevy Cobalt, Six says that before he takes his car in to have it fixed, he's inviting artists to help him paint the outside of the vehicle with messages and imagery meant to communicate their disappointment in the slow and slimy way he says General Motors handled the recall. His car will be be parked at On the Edge Art Gallery (7317 El Cajon Blvd.) in La Mesa. 

More information on the project can be found at

Six's full press release follows: 

(San Diego, April 16, 2014) Actor, director, social activist and sometime art impresario, Kevin Six, is seeking to send a message to General Motors the only way he can.  By using his recalled 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, as a canvass for activist artists.  

“The idea is to send messages of hope for those with recalled cars (that have not yet been repaired), of caution to those who share the road with us, and of shame to GM,” says Kevin Six, self-proclaimed DeathTrapArtCar gallery manager.

The DeathTrapArtCar is part community arts project, part arts activism and part protest. 

“It’s like a sit-in but on a moving vehicle.  More like a drive-in,” says Six of his vision to have his Chevy Cobalt painted with messages from local artists.  

So far, two artists have agreed to create protest art on the car and Six is seeking more – by advertising right on his car.  

“My car is effectively worthless,” he said. “With all the news about these cars, no one would buy it and I can't, in good conscience, sell it knowing what I know.  So to my mind, this is the only thing I can do.”

General Motors is recalling over two million cars for problems that they knew about for almost ten years and they are only admitting to 13 deaths as a result of the problem.  Reputable automotive publications put that number at over 300. 

“General Motors needs to be made to look as horrible as I feel driving my death trap of a car. I can’t afford to replace it, and GM won’t fix it, so I want artists to help me make a statement on it.”

Six originally thought that the car was priced to move because of its “Caution Tape Yellow” color.  He did research on the Cobalt but found surprisingly little about the car on the internet. He found out, after buying the car, that General Motors was involved in purchasing the search terms relating to "Chevy Cobalt," "Cobalt Recall," and everything else about the Cobalt -- and other cars with the same problem.

The car was acting strangely, but nothing to worrisome, thought Six.  

“It seemed like there was a loose wire.  The dashboard lights turn off at odd times, the headlights turn off when I pull the emergency brake, the speakers don’t all work at the same time.” 

Then came the recall and it all came together.

“When the recall notice came I had the idea; when the time promised to fix the car came and went, I talked to my wife about it; and when my Chevrolet dealer emailed me a trade in offer ‘better than CarMax,’ I began in earnest.  

So far Six’s efforts include a website (, a promise from two artists, and a lot of ideas.  As a former arts administrator, with marketing, PR and social media skills, Six’s DeathTrapArtCar movement will get up to speed soon.

“We’re looking for artists, people with cars available for painting, and donations of time, paint and clear coating,” said Six. Artists, activists, or interested parties may visit, or email for more information.