Los Angeles

Vibrant Vehicle: Haider Ali's Live Truck Painting

The Karachi-based artist puts finishing touches on his moving work of art, at USC.

Los Angeles is home to some famously colorful automobiles, from Angelyne's candy pink Corvette to actor Dennis Woodruff's sign-and-word-laden car.

But when SoCalers travel abroad, they learn what a car with character and oomph and pizzazz is all about. Cities around the globe are well-known for their whimsical rolls, and Karachi is home to many of them. Haider Ali, a Pakistan-based painter who's gained acclaim for his detailed full-truck paintings, finds inspiration in the vehicles of his hometown, and he's bringing that art, and talent, to a truck here in Southern California.

The truck, which is popping around the USC campus through Wednesday, Oct. 22, did not arrive in Los Angeles fully done; rather, Mr. Ali has been painting it, brush stroke by brush stroke, for much of the month. Processes don't come much more painstaking, given that this is a sizable machine, and not a typical canvas, and the artist often incorporates birds, animals, people, and touches that require more patience and deftness than the broadstrokes often given to what we drive.

Want to see Mr. Ali and his magical truck? Make for the USC Pacific Asia Museum through Sunday, Oct. 19. It will return to the museum on the Oct. 22, the last day it will be on view, and the truck is schedule to appear elsewhere around the University of Southern California on Oct. 20 and 21.

Make for the museum, which is working in partnership with the Pakistani Arts Council, Dara Shah Khan/Shahnawaz Restaurant (the vehicle's sponsor), and paint suppliers Sherwin Williams on this hue-happy, tradition-rich project.

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