HomeCar CultureHigh-speed art: Pagani Zonda S becomes a canvas

High-speed art: Pagani Zonda S becomes a canvas


“Moving Art” is the concept being explored by Egyptian artist Shalemar Sharbatly, whose exhibitions — yes, multiple — at the Louvre have included a hand-painted Porsche, reportedly the first time such an artistic automobile was displayed at the famed French art museum.

The latest installment in the series has just been unveiled, the Color Art Project by Foglizzo, the Italian company proud to claim that it can create any shade of any color in leather to meet its clients’ requests.

Overhead view

The object of Sharbatly’s artistry is a Pagani Zonda S, just like the one that set the lap record for a homologated car at the Nurburgring, offered up by Horacio Pagani himself.

To create an artist’s canvas, the car was covered with a white film by D-Factory Italia, which has wrapped everything from aircraft to yachts to the walls of homes. Sharbatly then spent four days hand painting the cars.

Art cars are not new (Herve Poulain launched the BMW Art Car project in the 1970s and the Petersen Automotive Museum displayed several art cars by Keith Haring in 2016), but according to the Foglizzo news release, Sharbatly’s focus is “to move art beyond the elitist walls of the gallery. Shalemar Sharbatly is focusing on turning everyday objects — like cars — into conceptual pieces that have been seen by millions and is a visceral idea of using art as a vehicle.”

“When I walk through the streets and find myself surrounded by so much aluminum I feel annoyed,” the artist told Majalla,com. “I began feeling like this in 2006. Cars are all either red, white, green or black and you are forced to buy cars in only these colors. 

“I thought to myself, how can I paint my own car? There are two problems which arise when you paint a car. The first is figuring out what paint to use because you can’t use the same type of paint that you would when painting on a canvas. The paint you use has to be in accordance with international standards and be tough and resilient.”

She went on to explain that in 2013 she asked her brother, a car dealer, for a Porsche to use as a canvas.

Artist and artwork | Foglizzo photos

 “It took me about 10 to 15 days to complete,” Sharbatly said, adding that her 911 Carrera became “the first ever art car to be displayed in the history the French Motor Show and it became one of the most viewed cars in the world.

“Cars are big blank canvases. Why not exploit this space by transforming it into visual culture and use it to spread joy?”

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


    • Her own website notes that she was born in Egypt. Her mother was Egyptian and her father was a Saudi. She resides in Paris.

  1. OK, I have to ask: putting the "art" aspect of this aside, who buys these cars? Meaning who buys a car from a marque most people – even heavy-duty gearheads – never see?

  2. But the woman’s a frickin’ genius! I’d be scared to leave fingerprints on a Pagani. My daily driver and only is a Holden Monaro, made into a Pontiac GTO. It plows snow, sits outdoors, and runs errands. I enjoy it as Bob Lutz intended, I drive the snot out of it 360 days a year. Why should a car, the purpose of which is to drive, be limited to the factory paint? Why shouldn’t an artist of international acclaim put her impression on an already usable artwork? Who can say that the "car" is worth more than the skin?
    I don’t get the point of objections. I have no tattoos, but have admired many. I don’t think that Ferraris all should be red, nor Jaguars be green.
    I like what she did, and wish more manufacturers of exotics would pull their panties out of the crack and support art+cars. God knows, we don’t need another silver Porsche or red Alfa.
    Just sayin’.

    • I am impressed with Ryan’s take on cars as objects and tools — and canvases to be used as you like. That aside, Ms Sharbatly is a brilliant painter, with a gift of both color and application. I will now go in search of her website.

  3. Only thing I can say is she is painting on a removable film, thank goodness. The real art is in the design and manufacture of these exotic vehicles.


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