Fantasy and Sci-Fi Van Art, Circa 1981

CE Van 1978

“Close Encounter” van art by Shelby Goode, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

Lost in Space

“Lost in Space” van art by Shelby Goode, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

Skeleton Caiati

Van art by Carl Caiati, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

I found these bedazzling specimens (and captions) at an amazing Tumblr called Public Collectors. It’s maintained by Marc Fisher, who also runs the main Public Collectors site, publiccollectors.org:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible…

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged. Public Collectors is not intended to be used for buying and selling objects.

Fisher also has a Flickr dedicated to intriguing arcana such as MS Paint Album Covers and Anti-Car Barriers in Chicago.

You can also follow Public Collectors on Facebook.

9 Responses to “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Van Art, Circa 1981”


  1. 2 contradextraavenue April 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    When I was google image searching earlier for custom vans with fireplaces, I ran across this. I approve of everything in this image: http://www.fosilfueled.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/custom_van_020_11232013.jpg

  2. 3 narvo April 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Really cool stuff. That Public Collectors site is deliciously, deliciously random!

  3. 4 contradextraavenue April 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    All this custom van stuff makes me think of the Acid Sweat Lodge, which I can’t remember if we ever discussed here (or if you were the one who pointed me to it in the first place – dang failing memory). But anyway, they’re still actively posting, and I could spend hours going through their archives. Love their “research categories.” http://theacidsweatlodge.blogspot.com/

    • 5 2W2N April 25, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Lefty Limbo’s favorite spot. He talks about it all the time. The only thing I don’t like about the place is that there is no sourcing. That bothers me.

      • 6 narvo April 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

        Oh yeah, the ASL. That’s my second home. =)

        ASL never ceases to amaze me. I mean, daily updates with the most random and often times rare assortment of rock, metal and rebel pulp? How do they do it?

        I have a hesher pal who can ID any classic rock and/or metal band shot in an instant, and even he gets astounded by the random shots he’s seen on ASL, that are often things he’s never seen before. This morning was a good example—an old shot of Van Halen sitting on top of a house?

        http://theacidsweatlodge.blogspot.com/2015/04/warnings.html

        It’s really too bad they never credit the source. So many of these shots probably have equally—if not even more engrossing—stories behind them. Great stuff nonetheless.

      • 7 contradextraavenue April 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm

        As much as sourcing would be appreciated, I guess I kind of view their site as an art project in itself: I lose myself in the illusion that I’m viewing the secret files of some mysterious time-traveling research organization, in the vein of the Dharma Initiative. And the use of categories instead of captions or commentary is perfect – just seeing “Goons” or “Intimidation Research” is enough to make me grin…

        • 8 2W2N April 28, 2015 at 1:25 am

          I do see the “art project” angle (my original thought was that it was a grad student project) but can’t really accept it on those terms after 3 years of watching other bloggers (and much bigger sites) take shit from my site without sourcing it. Assholes suck the poetry out of everything.

  4. 9 rmthompson April 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Reminds me of cover art for a Boston album


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