Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

| 21 Apr 2023
Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

“My art mission is to share car stories,” says Heidi Mraz. “For me that’s what matters. I see my work as part documentary.”

The novel creative process that led to Heidi’s dazzling montages started at a local ‘cars and coffee’ event in Great Falls, Virginia: “I became sucked into the tales the owners were telling and needed to know more.

“Out of that interest I started creating collages built up from magazine cuttings and my photos. It seemed the perfect medium to document these stories.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

The incredible story of the 1925 Bugatti T22 Brescia salvaged from Lake Maggiore inspired Beneath the Surface, which was itself submerged in the lake for added authenticity

Heidi’s distinctive style soon attracted the attention of car collectors including Peter Mullin, who commissioned an artwork inspired by the Bugatti raised from the bed of Lake Maggiore.

She researched the amazing story for six months before starting her intricate assemblage of hundreds of carefully cut elements.

From a wide range of materials, including paper and metal, a dazzling portrait of the sunken Type 22 Brescia was born: “We even took the canvas back to Lake Maggiore and submerged it down to 170ft to wash away some of the inks and give it provenance.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

Shaped by the wind, in honour of the Racing Team Holland Porsche 906, was created with the help of a pigment-dispersing homemade wind tunnel

The conceptual element to Heidi’s artworks has become an ever more dramatic feature.

For her celebration of the Racing Team Holland Porsche 906, Shaped by the wind, she created a mini wind tunnel to blow orange powder on to the canvas around a model – much to the amusement of her neighbours.

In 2021, Heidi was invited on the NORRA Mexican 1000, an off-road desert race across the Baja to inspire the commission Move Earth.

“It was great joining Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus for a true ‘bucket list’ experience,” she says. “To give the artwork more authenticity we dragged the canvas behind the SCG Boot race car across the desert.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

Move Earth recalls the cross-Baja Mexican desert race Heidi went to with Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus

The artist’s love of machines developed from her German father. “Dad was a machinist who developed a patent for the lighter spark-wheel,” says Heidi.

“When he was 18 he moved to Puerto Rico where he met my mother. We travelled a lot as children and later settled in Pennsylvania.

“Dad was always pointing out interesting cars, particularly German ones. When I was seven, my dad and I visited Germany for the first time, which included a trip on the autobahn.

“I was amazed when he told me you could drive as fast as you wanted, and then this jellybean shape of a car flew past us.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Heidi Mraz

She loves me… is Heidi’s homage to Ferrari’s LaFerrari

“It was an early Porsche 911. With that guttural sound, it was so visceral,” she continues. Porsches have since regularly featured in Heidi’s art, including a spectacular Gulf 917 created from butterfly images.

The passion for drawing cars began with trips to American showrooms with her father: “While he was talking, he’d give me a pad so I could sketch the cars.

“The muscle-car scene had taken off and I loved the colours and the graphics. There were always car magazines around the home, and stories of Ferraris and Maseratis mesmerised me.

“But my first time seeing a Cisitalia at the Museum of Modern Art really confirmed to me that a car can be art.”

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