The car that Otis Oswald owns has been in my peripheral vision for the past six months.
I first saw it, parked in all its polygon glory, when I was shopping at Giant Eagle in Victorian Village. Ever since it’s been like my Harrison West unicorn. I wonder when I will see its awesomeness again, catching glimpses of it driving by but never long enough, despite my neck-cramping double takes, to see the person inside.
Oswald has gotten used to those kinds of stares, whether he’s driving around Franklinton where he lives, Downtown where he works (at Dirty Frank’s), or Short North where he plays. He’s also gotten used to people taking pictures of the painted 1995 Saturn.
“One time we were leaving a thrift store and these two girls asked if they could pose and take pictures on the hood of it,” Oswald laughed.
He is a good sport about the Gotye jokes.
“I heard someone posted a photo of the car [on social media] and wrote ‘A car that I used to know,’” Oswald said.
The musician may have become synonymous with polygon-patterned painting, but really he’s got nothing on Oswald’s boyfriend, Joshua Carroll.
Carroll, an artist, painted the formerly gold car last summer using colors he made from spray paint and Rust-Oleum. He’s been painting geometric patterns on the walls of his apartments for years (way before Gotye was cool, y’all) and has done interior painting for local businesses such as Waldo’s and the now-gone Zeta restaurant and Mecca dance club.
The bright shapes are a creative antithesis to Carroll’s visual art, which includes large-scale acrylic on canvas paintings that rasp in their rawness thanks to Carroll’s high-speed, reductive scraping of the paint with a razor.
“I love his art,” Oswald said. “He asked if he could paint my car, and I said, ‘Why not just do something fun? I like to stand out sometimes.’”
Stand out, indeed. The couple has been asked to include the car in July’s popular Doo Dah Parade. If ever there was a parade that needed a unicorn …
Photo by Meghan Ralston