A one-of-a-kind Lexus UX has been designed and created by leading London tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe.
Using a pure white car as her “canvas” and a Dremel drill tool in place of a fine tattooing needle, Claudia produced a sweeping design featuring koi carp along the entire length of the compact SUV.
The koi is a motif familiar from traditional Japanese art, representing qualities of good fortune and perseverance.
Claudia drilled away the surface paint, exposing the metal underneath to create the complex pattern, and then applied five litres of high-quality car paint by hand to bring out the details.
As a finishing touch, she used gold leaf to create highlights and give the design a stronger 3D effect, before the whole vehicle was given a protective lacquer coating so that it can be driven on the road.
The process took six months to complete from the initial drawings, with the “tattooing” accomplished over five eight-hour days of intensive work.
The tattooed Lexus UX doesn’t have a price tag, but it’s estimated the bespoke work would cost upwards of £120,000.
It was the first time Claudia had applied her skills to metal rather than human skin and she found both similarities and new challenges in the unique commission.
“When you tattoo a person, you have to think about the muscles and tissue beneath the skin. With the car it was about the way the bodywork changes shape over the framework,” said Claudia, who was assisted in her work by her Japanese-born husband Yutaro.
“The best thing about tattooing the Lexus UX, and the reason why this car was ideal for the project, is its streamlined shape,” added Claudia, a co-founder of the Red Point tattoo studio in Islington.
“Everything from the lines on the side of the body to the shape of the windows, everything is just so dynamic and beautiful. It was a perfect fit for the design and the concept itself.”