May 21, 2003
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Artist enjoying wild ride on the wild side
Art car promoter takes road less traveled
By Donna Daniels
Post Independent Staff
Photo by Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker
Graphic artist Linda Drake and her art car Petula. Drake is promoting an
art car fest next month in conjunction with the Glenwood Center for the
Arts "Wheels Art Show."
Somewhere along the line in her development as the person she is today,
Linda Drake did a Superman turnabout.
From a mild-mannered Clark Kent-type bank clerk she transmogrified into a
Shes much happier this way.
Now, in direct rebellion against what she calls the panty hose brigade,
she tools around town in a wildly painted Mazda 323 with Sponge Bob
Squarepants seat covers and a horn that makes animal noises.
She has abandoned the bean counter life and now creates silk screen
T-shirts and tote bags with slogans such as Im out of estrogen and Ive
got a gun, I kiss better than I cook, and Im still a hot babe but it
comes in flashes.
Shes also heavily involved in the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts,
where she serves on the exhibits committee. Shes now trying to drum up
entries for the Wheels exhibit, which will show art having to do with,
thats right, wheels, including art cars.
Her art car is painted sky blue and festooned with jungly flowers, flying
angel dogs and kitties and a big sun face on the top.
What really happened to Drake was turning 40.
At 40 I busted loose, she said. I was worn out being a panty hose
teller. I loved to do art when I was little but I was never encouraged.
But that didnt stop her.
I took some watercolor classes, she added.
She quit her job in a bank and went to work at a silk screen shop where she
learned the craft from a grumpy guy named Dan Kelly.
He took me under his wing, she said.
Although she grew up in Grand Junction, Drake led a peripatetic life
married to a military man and ended up in Hilton Head, S.C. After about a
year working with Kelly she moved back to Colorado.
She opened a shop, Lunar Designs, in Snowmass Village. She created her
T-shirt designs in her garage and sold them in the shop, along with teddy
The estrogen shirt, her first design, did well until the Columbine High
School shootings. Then her biggest customer, a national catalogue called
Casual Living, canceled the order.
Her launch into business forced her to take hold of her creativity. She
learned to listen to her inner voice, not only about designs, but also
about funny quips that might adorn her shirts.
And she learned that her forte was funny stuff for women.
Women want something that makes them feel good, she said. She also liked
the idea of aiming at women in their 40s or older who were experiencing
The estrogen shirt was my militant feminist phase, she said with a laugh.
Now her designs run more to cats and Christmas themes.
One shirt shows a woman asleep in a hammock with her kitty and it reads, I
used to run with the wolves, now I nap with the cats.
Besides her silk screening business, Drake channels her creativity into
projects with other artists. One of her early experiences at the Glenwood
art center was joining the Wild Women, a group of valley artists who show
their work each year at the center. It was a great connection for her.
She and the Wild Women are now involved in a doll project in which each
artist makes her own doll and passes it around for other artists to add
their own flourishes.
At home, she covers furniture with buttons. She admits its an obsession.
Im in my button phase. I want to button a Volkswagen, she said.
Her art car was more of an accidental art project.
The paint began peeling on the car, and I thought, this is not a good
statement for Lunar Designs.
With a little research plus some help from husband Dan Gilbert, she
stripped her car, sanded it down, painted on a primer, then went to work
with artists acrylic paint.
All told it took about three months to complete.
The car is still a work in progress. Inside, shed like to cover the
headliner with feathers.
Its a giggle to drive, she said.
Drake also urges folks with a beater car to consider it for an art project.
The art cars will drive in the Strawberry Days Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday,
Shed also like to make it an annual tradition and invite art cars from all
over the country.