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An Artist Is Trying to Fund a ‘Law & Order’-Themed Art Car

Brandon Bird is raising funds for a whip dedicated to Jerry Orbach.
Drive safely with this suction cup placard by Brandon Bird, a reward for backers to his Kickstarter. Photo courtesy of the artist

From Christopher Walken building a robot, to Rod Stewart as a Stormtrooper, to Natalie Portman hanging out with Ninja TurtlesBrandon Bird has built a career creating some of the oddest pop culture paintings ever seen. The artist has a way of presenting persons of note in a slightly-skewed light. He's great at reminding the viewer of older, less-remembered celebrities as he paints them in these pop-centric scenarios, and one of the through-lines in his works is the classic television show Law & Order. So it should come as little surprise that his latest large scale project is a Kickstarter to raise funds for a Jerry Orbach (star of Law & Order for over a decade) memorial art car.


Lennie Briscoe and Jack McCoy take a break. A Night Away, by Brandon Bird. Photo courtesy of the artist

The goal of the Kickstarter is simple: Bird plans to raise money to buy a used sedan, hire Southern California airbrush muralists, and collaborate together to turn the sedan into an art car memorializing Jerry Orbach. “There are two aspects to this project,” explains Bird, “there’s the Jerry Orbach aspect, which is sort of personal to me.” Orbach played detective Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order from 1992 to 2004, and Bird explains him as both “America’s beloved uncle” and “my version Andre the Giant.” The second aspect to the project is “the Southern California car culture aspect, and it’s sort of this mashing of these two aspects. Most of my artwork is about taking a pop culture figure and putting it in a scenario that is completely off the wall, or unexpected. So the idea is for people to be like ‘Oh, that’s one of those cool cars… wait, why is it a Jerry Orbach car?’ It’s supposed to be something very silly, but at the same time I’m not making fun of Jerry Orbach or of California car culture.”


The rules of the road stated plainly in this bumper sticker by Brandon Bird, one of the many rewards for Kickstarter. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Bird first came into his process through “the art side of things, and not the pop culture side of things.” Bird explains that, in college, he learned to “make paintings that look like real, robust paintings.”

“Coming out to L.A. and participating in the L.A. art scene pushed my work into the ‘famous people doing silly things’ kind of imagery. But at the heart it was just that I wanted to do things that are silly and pop culture-oriented but are also artistically good, are made well, look cool. And something like the Jerry Orbach art car, even though it’s big, and weird, and crazy, it’s all about finding a new art form that I haven’t done anything with before.”


Jerry Orbach transforms in this bumper sticker by Brandon Bird, one of the many rewards for backers to his Kickstarter. Photo courtesy of the artist

Visit the Jerry Orbach Memorial Art Car Kickstarter page to donate and reap the rewards.


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