Like the Medici Family of Old, Jaguar Is Commissioning Art Now

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Not since artist Ralph McQuarrie was commissioned to imagine the universe of George Lucas’s Star Wars has another painter been offered such an opportunity to put magic onto canvas.

Automotive artist Tim Layzell is currently in the running for world’s luckiest man. Not only has he made a career out of creating portraits of beautiful cars, he’s managed to catch the eye of Jaguar while doing so. The automaker asked the painter to depict the F-Type Coupe in his pop-art style.

In a video released by Jaguar, you see Layzell talking about his love of Jaguars, his history of painting the C, D and E-Types, and his appreciation for the F-Type. Head Designer Ian Callum, whom we profiled last week, also makes an appearance by talking about his respect for Tim and what compelled Jaguar to seek him out.

The soundtrack for the video has lots of shimmering strings that rise and fall quite unexpectedly, which gives the video a dreamlike quality. And you have to admit that there is something unusual about a company, even an automotive company, commissioning artwork. Despite knowing that beauty, aesthetic sensibility and a touch of the sublime are potent forces that a good car should evoke, companies remain shy about embracing art.

Engineering? Fine. Design? Sure. But art—that’s for museums, right?

Jaguar understands what even a commercial juggernaut like George Lucas was espousing, that to create something truly great for the masses, you need more than everyday sensibilities: you have to think big.

Steve Jobs created the most successful retail operation in the world by obsessing over the type of marble floors—Pietra Serena sandstone from a family-owned quarry in Florentine, Italy—that people would trod their crummy shoes over daily while buying iPhones. By seeking out an artist like Layzell to capture the F-Type, Jaguar is reinforcing a culture that is after more than sales numbers: this is about the making of history. And we’re so glad that we can drive it.

Like the Medici Family of Old, Jaguar Is Commissioning Art Now was last modified: December 15th, 2014 by Jaguar Land Rover Cary

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