Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baltimore Sun Article Today

Five Things I Have To Have Now

By Alex Plimack

June 29, 2008

Self-proclaimed "cartist" Conrad Bladey has been creating works of art from cars for the past 20 years in Linthicum. The extravagant vehicles have become staples at the annual Artscape, where two years ago they were sans gas engines. Bladey then sought to create a human-powered art car, what he says was the natural progression in the project. The Art Gurney, devised from a gurney bought at the Maryland State Surplus Warehouse, was decorated with buttons and paint from other car projects and serves as a memorial to a friend who passed away during its construction.

"It is quite useful for hauling the food, cooler and other essentials, but it is also comfortable as a lounge chair," Bladey says.

Bladey will feature the Art Gurney at Artscape in July, where it will be the centerpiece of his horn hat collection (brass horns on artistic hats that can be played while walking).


Gasoline and money

"I shall combine two into one. The arts community and institutions consume art, creating wear and tear more than they support it, so we are left with many repairs and lots of wear and tear on the vehicles. ... I do not regret the money spent; however, real support for the arts would be good and helpful. I do not want a profit - I would give it away. I just hope to break even."


A place in the country, paid off

"I am a student of architecture and would greatly appreciate an old Victorian eclectic-styled structure with elements of many architectural styles. A structure for the mind to journey."



"In addition to being an artist, I am a professional folklorist. I specialize in calendar customs - customs and celebrations that occur at the same time each year. Despite knowing the rituals, artifacts and recipes, and customs, it is difficult these days to find proper revelers."


A season ticket to the opera

"It is torture that one of mankind's greatest inventions, opera, is kept out of reach of the ordinary citizen because of inflated costs at all levels."


A new car

"Preferably large; preferably with its own gas. It will be made into an art car one minute after I receive it! All of my current cars are old."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Open Studio First weenend in August Y'all Come! Free!

Press Release June 13,2008

From/Contact: Conrad Bladey, Hutman Artcars, 410-789-0930

Topic: Open Studio-Tours-Food Sales-Art-Artcars: "Where do Artcars Come from Daddy?"

Date: Saturday/Sunday August 2-3 Rain Date August 9-10

Place: Hutman Artcar Studio and Visionary Art Environment 402 Nancy Ave. Lnthicum, Md. 21090

To find us go here:

Summary: On display: Hutman Artcars, Artcar Related hats, horn-hats, and costumes. Meet the visionary artists Conrad and Margaret Bladey. Tour the Hutman Art Environment, Enjoy the Gardens. Artcar Notecards for sale, Hutman Publications for Sale. at or near cost. Music, Light refreshments, yard sale, bake sale, horn hat parade. Bring your children! Sidewalk chalk art.

Details: For almost 30 years Conrad and Margaret Bladey have created wondrous visionary artcars at the Hutman Studio and Visionary Environment in Linthicum. Many "firsts" in the Artcar world including the first use of large art magnets, street line coverings, solar lights on artcars, horn hats, were invented here. The studio has produced the following artcars: Sticker car I, Sticker Car II, Party Car, Handy Car, The Mondrian Mobile, The Sole Car, the Magnet Truck and most recently Stella the star car and the Jonn's Paradise Art Gurney. Many horn hats have been created here as well. When we have not been creating artcars we have been adding to the Visionary Art Environment. As you wander around the garden you will find sculptures made from cast iron piano plates in the form of butterflies and birds and reptiles. Under the dogwood are bowling balls cornering a few helpless pins. The studio Leg Gate is a favorite covered with doll legs painted gold with two large bug and frog sand boxes on the exterior. There is the decision tree and a good number of European Gnomes. Visitors are greeted by a jewel encrusted shrine to the last manual typewriter on the front walk ivy growing in the keys. Bachus fountain adds cool comfort in the pond enclosure. As music plays out back visitors will have an opportunity to assist the self-funded visionary artists through the purchase of Hutman Publications, Photos of Artcars, Artcar Notecars, yard sale and baked goods items. Light refreshments will be served, music, visitors can try their hand at chalk art and there will be a procession of horn hats. Visitors can explore the artcars up close that they have seen traveling at high speeds on the roads. Cartists will be available to take their questions.

Hutman Artcars are almost entirely funded by the Bladey family. This means many sacrifices for materials and to keep the cars road worthy. We depend on the generosity of the public. We do not regularly sell art at festivals so we depend on donations made and this one event each year helps us to cover costs. Which are in-fact never covered entirely. Additionally many visitors come because they have seen the cars on the road and they wanted photos and to take them safely. This provides the public with a great opportunity to ask questions and experience the art.

To explore the Visionary Art Environment and Hutman artcars go here:

For More photos of the garden go here

For Artcars Go here

For an Update concerning our activities and recent photos go here Highly recommended!

The Great Artistic Divide

Greetings good people! and Good editors too!

Artist Inc. vs Artist Think

As a Folklorist and Anthropologist it is my calling to focus on the cultural aspects of art. It is my profession. That is why I seem to talk about it more. It is all that education and graduate school.

As an artcar artist I can not help wonder how my obsession with the work relates to the cultures and societies around me. Why am I in the box that I am in? Is it a good box? Is it the right box? My obsession with the art and driving the art and talking about the art and acting out around the art is costly- much time, much money, much preparation, much effort many car repairs and a lot of gas money. Most of these resources I don't really have! The investments motivate inquiry. What am I doing here? Where is the train heading and how do I improve the ride? How do I manage to select the destination? What is going on?

If you haven't ever been to a covered dish dinner you need to find one and take part. You need to do this over time regularly-they grow on you. These events along with sandwich swaps were staples of my upbringing.In Baltimore I have found my covered dish home at Zion Lutheran Church of the City of Baltimore -each Sunday the coffee hour is magnificent- Don't take Prarie Home Companion's word for it: Lutheran food is the best- come on down. Several nights a year almost once a month. It was a communal table. It has become the way I pursue my obsessive art. My cars are covered dishes. I create them to give them to those around me- to share. As with the covered dish dinner in the church basement I take the time-allow the obsession to run wild and get creative with my recipes. I bring the covered dish - more than I need to consume myself - over the top- so as to feed others. Not just to feed them but to draw them to the table where art like the covered dishes feeds the mind, provokes thought and sets the stage for human interaction. That is what it is about. Conversations, stories- mine- about meeting with the law, close encounters, stories of Baltimore Hons and Walmart shoppers experiencing art for the first time in their cultural desert. At church we sang hymns, told stories, talked about recipes of the ancestors and only marginally ever touched on religion. Some of my favorite and often "adult" stories and jokes have been found in church halls!

In your home town you probably have covered dish dinners somewhere. Sandwich exchanges too maybe- when you bring a category of sandwich- meat or peanut butter veg or cheese in a quantity plenty enough for others. You are probably however, more acquainted with the other side of the cultural divide. That is the fast food strip. We have one just a few blocks away. One of every burger, chicken, uncomfortable chairs so you will eat and leave. Money must be exchanged before eating. You have to generate a bill to partake. This is not like my art, or, my obsession. I don't want money in the way of my food. I don't want to generate a bill, I don't want to employ some high school student just to eat and partake, enjoy and relate.

Ok you are saying...he is about to launch into some sort of discrimination against capitalism. NO! Not at all. Capitalism is not the issue. Capitalists are great people. Someone has to run the economy. This discussion is not about that. It is different. It is about the milk, water, tea and coffee and the church hall. and lets not forget the dessert.

You see at our church when you brought your covered dish to share and create the wonrous cultural atmosphere for one and all to partake of you were given the use of the church hall to eat in and the church provided through community donations, the beverages and dessert. As children we could not wait for the sweets and chocolate milk which we did not get every day at home.

Ok I will return to artcars....

After years and years of artcar events. Much pondering of the realities. I have been driven to conclude that artcars like it or not, are a part of what our cultures and societies calls and created as the art community. The roles are created for us by those around us. The art world is structured. We are in a box, on a train, going to a destination created and determined largely by others.- City governments, Chambers of Commerce, State offices of Tourism and development. In Baltimore it is in the title: "Office of Promotion and the Arts". Note that promotion comes before arts. Unlike the church artists have no roles in administration and do not inform anything. We cartists are not involved in the process- we are not able to volunteer as in the church covered dish dinner- to help brew the coffee make the tea, bring in the desserts or even clean up. Officals choose the box, the destination which is generally next to the excessivly loud DJ stage which makes telling of stories generally impossible.

As in the outside world within the art community we have also the capitalists and the covered dishers. I am in the latter category but, you probably guessed that already.

At Artscape in Baltimore of the participants be they on musical stages, roving as performers, in concert halls or hanging their paintings on exhibit hall walls 99.999 %
are capitolists. That is to say the city pays them a fee or they work in "INC." Next to their painting on the wall you will see that it is for sale or you will see their business card or even...."we accept major credit cards" Within the artcar community some good people, great artcar artists also work in "INC." they just bring their cash registers along with the covered dish. Again some of my best friends are capitalists and they are wonderful. Money is not dirty. Business is good. Just so I can get to the covered dish - their artcar and if it is primairly an artcar they can come too.

The point is not to discriminate but to include and t to know ourselves. What box have we been put in? Where are we being told we have to go?

Essentially for me- Where is the chocolate milk? Where is the desert at our covered dish dinner? I call these things "support for the arts". You hear this term often. It is generally used by city agencies to tell us what festivals are all about. Yet. I often find the beverages and desert absent. I do see a lot of "INC." - so it must be "Art" if a lot of "ink" is used? No I don't think so.

When the public attends our covered dish dinners they do so holding programs that read "promotion of the arts" yet the last time I looked there is no desert no chocolate milk most of the time (I even have to sing my own hymns:write my own Public Relations press releases) There is a great illusion that the arts are supported. Somehow I don't think so.

Last time I checked I am baking my covered dish, paying for the food, making enough to share with a good number of others and then I take the dish home and wash it out. Should I perhaps change things and cook perhaps Octopus Greek style in its own : "INC." I dont think so. You know I think that the public would rather not have ink but traditional baked beans, peanut butter sandwiches and mac and cheese baked dish. Anyway that is what they are lead to believe that the agencies of city government that they fund to put on arts events are providing.

So I go to organized events to spend money on wear and tear, gas, new obsessive art. I do so without undergarments, unbeknownst to the public I have no "support"- no bra, no jock strap nothing. No beverages or dessert.

Ok I can hear the capitalist cartist shouting "eat my shorts" No! Not going to do that!

What will I do? I will do a lot of work to let the public know that they are at McDonalds and not at the covered dish dinner. And. I will work as hard as I can to find a suitable church hall where we can all gather to bring our covered dish dinners and festivals with beverages and deserts can happen. I am thinking of going on Friday to my favorite church hall the I 95 rest stop in Laurel Maryland. No illusions about public support for the arts there. Just the donation slot in the car or truck which is totally optional- that is for the beverages and desert.

I am also going to work very hard to remove the two brands burned into the two cheeks of my backside which Read: "Artscape" and "American Visionary Art Museum". It might be painful but I think that without them I can still find that church hall somewhere for the covered dish dinner. And the beverages and desert will be there as well. Look out for the welcome to the inside exhibit at artscape. Learn what it is like to be as a visionary outsider cut off from the desert and beverages at the feast as you leave something outside the gate before you go in to view the frog car. Think about how we might all work to create a strip of covered dish dinner halls which is as big and as magnificent as the fast food strips we see dominating our so called "support for the arts" events.

I think I can count on you good people!

For more information about our work here at Hutman Artcars visit the blog:

For information about our cars go to:

Watch out for our Open Studio with free food and artcars and entertainment- First Weekend in August- maybe a few covered dishes will turn up-I will do the baked beans and mac and cheese baked dish. You see....its easy! See the blog above for the press release about that.

Conrad Bladey
Peasant Visionary Cartist

Friday, June 13, 2008

Further work on the Inside outside - signs

Welcome to the OUTSIDE!

Please leave something at the entrance to be a symbol of loss-pick it up on the way out….

Artists loose, we all loose when people, ideas, feelings and Art are kept outside.

Outsider or Visionary Artists practice unusual art using techniques that are not common, ordinary or traditional. We challenge the mainstream but we are still people, still artists.

Often we as visionary artists practicing techniques and creating art that is outside the mainstream are kept on the outside as people, as artists. We are not "in the loop" of the local Arts scene. Organizations and sponsors bring us to festivals but they do not bring us into the conference rooms for planning events as members of the team. Local cartists are not paid to be at events or helped in any way. We draw the crowds but do not draw the "support for the arts" which is so often proclaimed.

Many types of art and many mediums used by artists once were outside of the mainstream. Modern artists such as Pollack and Rothko struggled for acceptance so that they could stay alive. Leonardo Di Vinci was a bit strange after all the brilliant artist wrote backwards, Vincent Van Gogh cut his ear off and had a most difficult time winning acceptance.

The Wrap- Why?

This has been the year of wrapping in Baltimore- A fence was placed around a popular city park. Here we have placed a barrier around a well known artcar. The barrier is a symbol of the barriers that cultures and groups put up to keep the new, unusual and different away from the mainstream. The barrier here symbolizes the "glass barrier" that separates visionary and outsider artists from local organizations and institutions and cultures. We are here but often you don't see the barrier. We are here but no one knows that we really are not a part of the team or involved with the institutions that are associated with us.

These tragic barriers keep art from spreading. New ideas and techniques are kept apart. Often we can see the barriers by the words people use.

Weird, Strange, Crazy, Wild, Madcap, What the ****.

How would a child ever choose to pursue an art form and become an artist if they knew that they would enter this off limits category?

Why not- Innovative, creative, expressive, daring, modern?

Today we ask you to think of how you might be maintaining that barrier. We call out to the arts communities- "Artists Tear down That wall"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Open Studio First Weekend in August Aug 2-3 rain date 8-9

That's Right....we are having an open studio event Auguest 2-3 2008 402 Nancy Ave. Linthiucm, Md. 21090...Publications for Sale, Artcars on Display, refreshments, Notecards for sale, music in the garden, yard sale.....general clowing around...and of course all the art in the art environment. For details bring your donations...9-7 or whenever....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Didge Hat is Back

After resting in the porch and being gnawed upon by the local mice the digeridoo hat is now back in service. Just need a new rubber connector mouthpiece and we can summon the spirits. It is designed to resemble a termite hill....who knows maybe someday I might flare out the bell a bit.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Come in to the outside- car wrap photos

The barriers project the words that divide the outsider from the public. These will be acompanied by photos of Leonardo and Van Gogh both who could have been and probably were conisered weird and crazy in their time. One cut off his ear and the other wrote backwards...In this way we can see the visionary outsider artist in a cultural context - the methods may be outsider while the artist as individual need not be. Children hearing and using these descriptive terms will be more reluctant to enter our world- they need to be free of them.

Dial an artcar

Press Release June 5, 2008

Topic: A first for the world of artcars: Call the Artcar! Baltimore Artcars now can be reached via telephone! Find out about them when you see them!

Date: July 18-20

Place: Artscape, Baltimore, Md.

Contact: Conrad Bladey, 510-789-0930

Summary: "Oh my God! What is that?" is heard many times each day by Conrad Bladey, Visionary Artcar Artist as he drives his artcars. People want to know! What is it? How long did it take? What does it all mean? They call out in traffic and from the sidewalks. Now all people who "need to know" do not have to go to great dangerous lengths to talk to the driver. All they have to do is get out their cell phone and literally call the artcar. The phone number is right on the side of the vehicle or in the rear.

This is a FIRST for the world of artcars!

Conrad Bladey worked with the on-line voicemail provider Grand Central to obtain a voice mail greeting and mail box for his artcar the Magnet Truck. For Artscape and other events when multiple cars are on the road Bladey will use his Verizon voice mail account to give each a distinct voicemail announcement.

In just a moment a visitor to the car at the Artscape Festival can get out their cell phone and find out all about the car that they have encountered.

Conrad Bladey is a self-funded, visionary, outsider artcar artist. His main artcar web page is here:

Try out the phone number: 410-981-9256.

Artcar artists- They are not Outsiders- Just the Art! The Wrap Makes a strong case for more incluson.

Press Release

Topic: "Come in to the Outside" Art installation highlights the cultural reality of the

Date: July 18-20 2008

Place: Artscape, Baltimore Maryland

Contact: Conrad Bladey, 510-789-0930

Summary: Outsider Artist- Artcar to be wrapped by fabric barrier. The "Welcome to the Inside" installation walls off an artcar with colorful fabric a la Christo. A gate lets visitors "Come in to the Outside". The fence symbolizes the cultural divide which exists between the arts community and visionary cartists like Conrad Bladey. Visitors will be asked to leave something - a shoe, hat, article of clothing…something behind as they enter the installation thus symbolizing that which artists have to give up in order to be Outsider Artists or Visionaries. It is hoped that the installation will bring the cultural isolation of cartists to the attention of the Baltimore Arts community and that they will be included in future city wide arts events and made welcome. One need not be culturally outside when one is a visionary, outsider artist.

Description: The "Outsider" or "Visionary" artist is defined as generally self taught, executing artworks that express visions or ideas that often use techniques and materials and genres that are outside of the mainstream. In addition in stark contrast to artists such as those now working in studios in the Bromo Seltzer Tower who tend to represent themselves as for example: Artist Inc. visionary artcar artists do little at all to make money (their obsessive visionary behavior more often accumulates debt). Artcar artists in addition to supplying their own materials must keep a car running and filled with gas. Yet, neither AVAM nor Artscape provide any funding at all for local artcar artists. Yet participation in city events brands the artcar artist in the eyes of the public, draws thousands to the festival and generally provides free entertainment while at the same time other entertainers are paid. Unlike other artists artcar artists generally stay at the festival full time. It is not as with other artists represented there who come in, hang an artwork on the walls (which they are actually offering for sale) and leave.

For more than a decade Visionary Artists such as Conrad Bladey have been included in prominent City events. Their art is very popular with the public at large. Appearances by Artcar artists from the "outside" have ranged from Artscape to the Charles Village Parade, Mayor's Christmas Parade, the Baltimore Book Fair and the harbor festival. While the art is visionary and "outsider" the artists are no different than other artists pursuing their own more conventional goals. Although the art has found a place in the hearts of the public the artists like Visionary Artcar Artist Conrad Bladey remain culturally isolated and do not yet have a place within the loop of the local arts community. These artists are not included in calls for participants and artworks such as Baltimore Festival of Maps which involved many arts organizations and artists in the city of Baltimore. They were also left out of the popular Fish out of Water project a few years ago.

Visionary artcar artists have seen opening receptions for their installations disappear and out-of-town curators brought in to curate art car exhibits at Artscape. Yet because of minimal association visionary cartists have been "branded" by association with institutions such as the American Visionary Art Museum and Artscape. They are not so much supported by these institutions but used for publicity purposes- and to draw crowds. Each day cartist Conrad Bladey is told that he must have something to do with them when in fact, Artscape has only the most minimal of relationships providing only a parking spot, and the AVAM simply starts a parade.


The artcar for this project is the 1966 Pontiac Catalina now known as "Someday the Frogs will Inherit the Earth." The car is a wetlands inspired Jackson Pollack painting inhabited by frogs with a large trombone horn on the hood which plays. A soundtrack reflecting on outsider existence will be playing from the car. The car will be surrounded by a 5 foot or more wide bright florescent orange and red fabric fence supported by poles set in cinder blocks.. Signs at the entrance will instruct the visitor participant to think of the present day culture of the Outsider artist. Visitors will be instructed to leave an item of clothing, hat shoe or belonging at the door just as the visionary/outsider must leave cultural belonging and personal inclusion outside when they practice outsider and visionary art.

There is a web page for the fabric which was used to wrap a house here

A web page for the car is here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hornhats at Artscape 2008

Press Release June 4, 2008

Topic: The Horn Hat- Bringing Artcars into Sound at Artscape

Date: July 18-20

Place: Artscape, Baltimore

Contact: Conrad Bladey, 510-789-0930

Summary: In addition to being a Visionary Artcar Artist or "Cartist" Conrad Bladey has also invented the Horn hat which is a Zany Wacky yet functioning musical instrument. As he dresses to match his vehicles Conrad Bladey also creates horn hats to play wonderful brass music which can be heard for blocks. The hats have many subjects: A boring weekend at his mother-in-laws house prompted Conrad to construct a hornhat of pistachio nuts. Another to go with the Mondrian car has a fabric cover with blocks of color, another looks like something out of the middle ages. Wherever they go people are amazed. Bladey has conducted workshops in the Horn Hat and has equipped entire bands with his creations. You wear them on your head and play them just like ordinary brass instruments. It leaves your hand free and transforms your head into art.

Conrad has created two new Horn hats for Artscape 2008- The Frog Horn Hat and the Volcano Horn hat. The Frog hat goes with his car- "Someday the frogs will inherit the Earth" and features a trumpet with frogs in a swamp. The second hat is designed to go with his Art Gurney and has a brass trombone bell sticking right out of the center of the hat. It appears to be coming from an erupting volcano. You can meet the horn hats at the Hutman Artcars studio in Linthicum or see them on Bladey's head as he struts and plays at Artscape.

If enough children are interested Conrad will equip them all with horn hats and create a parade of budding brass players. Workshops are available. constructing and learning to play a hornhat is a great way for children to have fun while exploring music.

The Hornhat Page has a video and many images of the current hornhat gallery:

Finally the rest of the Hornhats!

Mondrian Color block hat

Pistacio Shell Hat

Renaissance Turban Hat

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Frog Horn Hat

The horn hat goes with the artcar..."Someday the Frogs will inherit the earth!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Volcano Horn Hat nears completion....a test drive...

At the studio in front of leg gate...needs a bit more paint but on its way...volcano hat..

Stay tune.....more to come...

The Horn Hatter at Work

At work making what is now the volcano hornhat~!

The Horn hatter plays to tune the horn

Take a leuk at the base- a helmet liner-it is covered with foam in stages

Add Image

Another sound check- gradually shortening the hose till the right harmonic is achieved