New York 2008: Ford flexes its creative side with cool lids

Click above image for a high-res gallery and discover what those graphics add up to

At the Javits Center in New York today, Ford rolled out its "Cool Lid" project with "urban artist" Tristan Eaton on hand to live-art the roof of a Ford Flex. Tristan is perhaps best known as the creator of ThunderDog Studios. The Ford Flex Cool Lid was being created live and will join other art pieces on display at the New York Auto Show as they are completed. On one side of a large easel Ford displayed a blank white roof and on the other the artist was applying paint and graphics in layers of orange, red, turquoise and white. Funkmaster Flex even showed up to check out the handiwork of a fellow Ford Flex artist. What started out this morning as a few amorphous blobs ended up being something near and dear to our hearts this afternoon.

Click through to the gallery to see the results for yourself. Also, check out the full press release after the jump.

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[Source: Ford]

Press Release:


  • The unique, white suede-colored roof of the new Ford Flex – the ultimate 'Cool Lid' – is the latest medium of choice for New York urban artist Tristan Eaton.
  • Famed for his street art, commercial illustration and urban toys, Eaton will create his art on life-size sheet-metal stampings of the Flex roof on the opening weekend of the New York International Auto Show. His 'studio' is right on the Ford stand.
  • Ford's Flex Studio Gallery at the auto show will house Eaton's creations – three new pieces of urban roof art created live in New York, joining three previous creations.
NEW YORK, March 19, 2008 – New York urban artist Tristan Eaton has found another prominent medium to express his creativity – the 'Cool Lid' of the new Ford Flex on display at the New York International Auto Show.

Flex, the provocative new Ford utility, is Eaton's latest inspiration. Its down-to-the-ground stance, bold box-on-box-on-box design and mysterious, all-black greenhouse ooze urban attitude.

The 29-year-old urban artist, known for his street art and as founder of the creative agency and toy brand ThunderDog Studios, is using large sheet-metal stampings of the unique Flex white suede-colored roof as his canvas. Created right in front of showgoers on the Ford stand, the large pieces of 'urban roof art' will go on display in Ford's Flex Studio Gallery.

"Tristan Eaton's art is as fresh and provocative as the new Flex," said Usha Raghavachari, Ford CUV marketing communications manager. "Flex is like nothing else on the road. It stands out, just like Tristan. You never know where his style will turn up next, but it's going to turn heads and change minds, just like Flex."

Ford's new Flex starts arriving in dealerships this summer. This decidedly atypical crossover will offer eight two-tone roof options featuring two contrasting light roof colors – White Suede (Eaton's choice) and Brilliant Silver.

Eaton, who cultivates art for city streets, gallery walls and everywhere in-between, is not the first personality to find inspiration from Ford Flex. Two renowned customizers, Chip Foose and Funkmaster Flex, already have worked their magic to explore the customizing possibilities for the new vehicle.

"This thing is fresh!" Eaton said. "The Flex roof is a great place for artistic expression – and
it's fun to work in a public space like an auto show, where I get energy from the people."

Eaton began pursuing street art as a teenager, painting everything from urban billboards to dumpsters. He was born in Hollywood, Calif., skateboarded as a youth in England and spent teenage years in Detroit, near the hotbed of Ford product development where Flex was created.

Eaton designed his first toy for Fisher Price at age 18 and has since become a driving force in the world of 'designer toys'. Eaton emerged as an urban art trendsetter, founding ThunderDog Studios in 2003. The Queens studio is a prominent player in branding, illustration and fine-art-based urban toy development.

"His attraction to Flex is a natural," Raghavachari said. "But other artists beware: We're not planning to make Flex roofs commercially available as canvasses. So you'll have to be pretty clever if you want to create your own Cool Lid."

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