Just as some clothing manufacturers once pushed the idea “you are what you wear” she was throwing her spotlight on cars that were bought by those who believed “you are what you drive.”
She was a fan of industrial design and chose to isolate the car from its setting at car shows because she wanted to highlight the car as a three dimensional sculpture, an art form in itself, to be admired devoid of fancy people prancing around it or other cars in the background competing for attention. Let others show the car in its Fitzgeraldian ambiance, she wanted the car to represent itself for better or for worse.
She preferred to work in acrylic on large format canvas, often 40” x 40”.
Contrasting with the solid color backgrounds was endless entertainment in the reflections on paint and chrome.
She understood the European concept of the purpose of chrome, as sort of akin to the use of eyeliner on a woman’s face--to accentuate what is already there, a means of highlighting a form.
The amazing thing about Phyllis Krim’s work is where you found it. She was featured in well over 100 shows, both in high brow places like Lincoln Center and in, well, you have to say by way of contrast, low-brow venues like the Custom Car show at the NYC Coliseum.
She was the first woman invited to join the Automotive Fine Arts Society and was featured in the first AFAS show at the Pebble Beach Concours.
Major industries recognized her work and purchased art for their own collections, including Standard Oil, IBM, Exxon, and General Cable.
Her work was on the covers of many magazines, from Porsche Year to Auto Motor und Sport.
She passed away on February 16, 2014 but her influence in bringing some of those in the general art world to appreciate depictions of automobiles will always be remembered.