The MutoArt Mobiles

Wednesday, 2/15/2012
1995 Chevy Extended Cargo Van  -

This is the van I am taking for the road trip.
I gave the big white van a little makeover...

I sanded and primed it of course.

And then painted it with chalkboard paint.  I didn't have the spray paint kind I keep hearing about (I'm not sure it exists, I have never seen it in the stores).  I had to paint it on with a paint brush... which I have to sand down again because the paint brush left ripples that are hard to write on.

Here is the finished product so far.... but I still have to sand the ripples off to make writing on it more pleasurable.  I am going to add the website on the side in paint so it won't rain off and probably add some more chalkboard paint and also maybe a mural and of course I got to put my logo owl on the roof and possibly the front doors.

I plan on painting the trailer too.  I bought a automobile painter spray gun over a year ago that I am thinking of using for the base coat or underpainting and paint a mural over it.  Either way I need to get on it because I want to use the image of the van and trailer on a new business card.

If you have any suggestions about what and how to paint my van or trailer feel free to comment!  I think you have to comment of the very bottom of this page.  I have not mastered setting up blogs yet.... forgive me.

A little history...

1990 GMC full size Vandura

In 2008 I purchased "Harvey" he was a 1990 GMC Vandura, a full size conversion van. He was beautiful, till I ripped him apart. I had big dreams of what the custom insides were to look like, pulling out the carpet, seats, floor boards, and pretty much everything. Harvey had an engine problem, an erratic idle. I worked on this problem for quite some time, trying many replacements including: serpentine tensioner, oil pump, pcv valve, IAC motor, fuel filter, timing chain (yes, its a chain!!! you want to see it?? I still have it!!) and gears and timed the engine or tried to, I heard a loud noise... it was the starter cracking... oops.
It took a while but finally figured out after getting to know pretty much everyone at Autozone on Cassat.  On a last guess what the problem was, I met a mechanic that told me it sounded like a bent valve. I think he was right.. now remembering that going through a puddle during a huge storm, it felt like it was loosing power but not enough to think it was going to take over my life, well, Harvey's life.

I noticed other mechanical problems so I junked Harvey... RIP Harvey!! I miss you... but not that much.. sorry.

All the while when I was having trouble with the van, I had a 1998 Nissan Maxima, a manual... super fun. When I couldn't use the van for art shows anymore, I had no choice but to alter the Nissan and maximize the maxima.... I pulled out the back seat, the sitting part and the back part where you lean on ( it was separate... ) to utilize the space for my displays my friend Richie and I sawzawed the metal between the trunk and the back seat area creating a large trunk or a maxima van or something...
Instead of getting lettering on the side done or getting those magnet things I decided to get creative. I painted most of my car in chalkboard paint, the rest of it is green (because its my favorite colour) and the drivers side fender is black and white striped because I had a hit and run in Boston - replacement fender was red from a you pull it in Massachusetts. I could either put the red fender on and look like a junky car, get it painted the same original green- but it wouldn't match and I would need a full paint job--ya right, oooor.... I could just paint it to intentionally not match and make it interesting to get into every day... since its on my side.

1998 Nissan Maxima (purchased in 2001)
 These photos were taken on April 15, 2010

I painted the inside a little as well, (it was tan... how boring)!

There are some problems with my Nissan.. 3 oxygen sensors are out - I get terrible gas mileage, not to mention the fumes that I breath in from the huge exhaust leak behind the catalytic converter, the exhaust is only held up by metal clothing hangers, the antennae broke off a long time ago, the dent in the rear passengers door is from an accident I got into, wasn't my fault... (I fought it and won) both those doors don't open.. if you want to ride with me you have to climb through the window, the trunk only closes with the bungee cord I have attached to it - when I go over speed bumps or going down Herschel and over Stockten my trunk flys open then slams shut, small oil leak, every 6 months I need to bleed the slave cylinder for the clutch, breaks are a little rough and one rotor is warped just a little, the running lights don't work but I duct tapped push lights where the dual break lights/running lights would go (I have other 2 other break lights that work so its all good), and the passenger seat is broken won't move back and forth anymore.. but the heated seat works!!

sounds and looks like a lot.. but it's not so bad. It has 222,360 miles and it is on the first and only clutch, also my first and only clutch. I learned how to drive standard with that car! I really wanted to make it to 300,000 miles but I don't think its a good idea to drive it right now, or at least not till I fix the exhaust and running light issue...

YOU probably think I have gotten a bit off track trying to explain a little history... but these vehicles have a lot to do with the road trip. They took me to my venues,

After 9 years and 222,309 miles....
It's April 15, 2010 & we have had our run. She is falling apart and I don't feel like trying to catch all the pieces. I forgot to add, the spoiler fell off after I sat on it.


It was my butt that broke it, either way, Kitty (yes, I named my cat Kitty, how very artistic, I know) apparently enjoys the absence of the spoiler.

Check out the links to a funny website that my car was posted on:

I was spotted parked close to Mossfire Grill one day and photos were posted on here is the link:


scroll down.
here's another link:

Look! I cleaned it... this is the front, I am sure you knew that...or I really hope you did... (we are just gonna say..... you did....)

YES!! This vehicle (the sedan) is a CHALKBOARD vehicle!!  The idea actually first came to me during a conversation with Steve from Kickbacks... I was joking about painting the location and date of each show each week and how my car would just get wider and wider as I painted more and more layers on it... then I jokingly said I should just paint it with chalkboard paint.... and then... the light bulb flicked on!  The next day I came to work... the deed was done... I had my first chalkboard vehicle!
I think that blue is very calming when your cut off in traffic.. I think I am on to something here... um yes, yes, I did indeed paint on the leather interior... some say I am crazy for doing that... I say ooooh pretty!
A Darlene Muto Custom Job. you take out the back seat completely and then sawzaw the metal off and there you have it a Nissan Maxima station wagon (in disguise as a normal sedan).
Here is another custom job. I got my friend Richie to help me though. It was a bed at one point for a road trip to New Orleans Jazz Fest. It doubles as a great place to load up art and display walls.
Check out my custom roof rack... If you're interested I bet I could rig one up for you.. but if the bungee cord breaks and smacks you in the head... sorry.
Here she is--> the trunk doesn't shut... I need to replace the latch. Very easy to do, I just never did it... I was too busy, uh painting.. yeah.
Closer view...

Another view of the roof rack.

The Nissan Maxima....
chalkboard and loved.

Driving to Atlantic Beach Art Walk was really fun with these panels on the roof. I couldn't go faster than 35 mph. It took me forever to get there... and would have a hard time not falling asleep on the way back...
Here's a top view. I am so glad it didn't rain... on the way to any show... that would have been a bad thing.

It soooold.... I am sooo sad... I took one last rendezvous with my standard (stick shift baby) and then sold it.

you remember the lovely smashed green door?? Well notice how it is kinda smashed into the front door....
Below is a close up for your eyeballs to see what I am actually saying....
Its kinda hard for even myself to understand what that photo is below... but the door is actually slightly over the front door.. making it unable to open.After showing this car a couple times to people saying that the need at least one of the passenger side doors to open.. I decided to hit it with a hammer.. (because Hammers always help) and what do you know... look below... bam.. it opened.. now all you have to do is push the top part and pull the handle and waaalahh it opens... so glad it decides to open now after all my dear friends have been getting in and out of the window for the past year and a half... somewhere I have many many pix and videos of numerous friends getting in and out.. and some of people getting stuck... I will be posting if I can find them... hehe.

The sticker in the middle of my steering wheel is a Mossfire Grill cookie sticker... Oatmeal Chocolate Chip... huge cookies that are the BESSST!!!!
I quickly spray painted over the green front with black...
Did a quick job over the green smashed door... I ran out of spray paint, and didnt have time to use wall paint and let it dry... I had another potential buyer on the way over.
I painted over the black and white stripes on the fender... can't have anyone else representing the Muto Mobiles known stripes.... uh uh...

1991 Toyota Previa

Meet Martha the Martian from Mars....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Well that is what she looks like... a space ship... which would mean that there is a martian inside.... oh wait... then that would be me.. I am the martian... hmm... anyways with out further ado here is Martha the whatever...!!!

The first thing I did was change her battery. The battery posts were in the wrong area so I had to rig it. It worked great!! Check out it below:


Notice the posts... I hope that is not going to cause problems in the future...
Next I changed the tail light that was out.
Look where the engine is! The dipstick is below the drivers seat... which is not so fun when the drivers door won't open...I tried to fix the door. It is stuck shut. I win.. I got it open... but was having trouble, so....

I tried harder to fix it...
It didn't work, so I gave up and shut it. I am just happy it shuts, and stays shut.. you know it could be worse.. what if it wouldn't lock.. that would not be good. So all in all I am happy.

I went and got the fluids flushed and cleaned out... this was so scary to watch... I forgot what he called what he was doing but it was pretty scary and stinky. He by a mistake fumed this lady as she walked by.. it was really funny..
Yes, as you know I will be giving Martha a MAKE OVER!!
I will be paying attention to detail etc a little more so than the maxima.
here is Martha's make up:

here we go on to the highway... I-10
Success... I am going fast and nothing is falling off...

No more loading up this way, panels on the roof and bungee cords everywhere... good bye Maxima.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Martha's Big Change....

Back to the Chalkboard....

Mini Vans are Not Sexy. Astro vans are different...

Martha needed new tires after all!! Dry rot city!!
All four were changed and then I went down to Lakeland Florida and checked out the Art show called 39th Midflorida Mayfaire-by-the-Lake on May 9th. I took a friend Matt with me. Its about 4 hours south of Jacksonville.

Happy Birthday Martha!!! Over 200,000 k !!!!

just before the BIG 200,000 miles... she's still young though... its not the number but how old you feel!!

1995 Chevy G10 Extended Cargo Van (purchased June 2011 with 26k miles!!)