Open Bonnet 5/10


  • From a limited edition of 10 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A. K. Nicholas
  • Image: 30×20 inches/76×51 cm
  • Paper: 32×22 inches/81×56 cm




Pin-up nude

The combination of a female personality and an automobile appears in pin-ups and advertisements throughout the decades. This homage to the pin-up nude sits on the headlamp of a 1961 Jaguar XK120SE open two-seater convertible. Barely visible behind her hip is a rejuvenated engine of this classic automobile. The cold luster of colors on the floor are reminiscent of the patina of aged metal. The gorgeous, sweeping lines of the roadster luxuriously remind us of the opulence, prosperity, and beauty of the female form. The smooth glow of warm light that fades into the cold shadows sets a quiet but building tension, anticipating an impending outpouring of power and passion. Shadows wrap around the delicate contours of her chest and abdomen, defining her curves and muscles.

Just before I entered art school, I saw an exhibit of the Jaguar E-type at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Although initially skeptical, I learned to appreciate product design as an art form. With a newfound respect for automobile designers, I was inspired to include car bodies in my artwork. Similarly, there was a time I did not consider the pin-up nude to be worthy of study as an art form; the work of Hajime Sorayama changed my mind about that as well.

The lines of the vintage Jaguar E-type convertible drophead coupe are considered by some, including rival founder Enzo Ferrari, to have created the most beautiful automobile in the world. The woman in this image has also received accolades for her poise and elegance. The combined inspiration lead to this pin-up nude/automobile pairing.

The use of negative space sets up a wedge-shaped composition where the sports car and nude woman inject themselves as glowing curves in the darkness. The angle of view is subtly low, bringing the viewer into the contours of the automobile and figure rather than gazing down on them.

This artwork has been purchase by collectors in Texas, Missouri, Japan, and Belgium. It is often purchased with a motorcycle pinup nude photograph of the same woman.

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