A Blinged-Out Helicopter Makes a Splash in Palm Springs

Artsy Editorial
Feb 12, 2014 4:04PM

Palm Springs: an oasis of glistening pools, palm trees, glamorous resorts, and endless summer—and now, a pimped-out helicopter that appears to be part-animal, part-machine, and was created by the artist Steve Maloney. Courtesy of the Heather James Fine Art's booth, which opens this weekend at the Palm Springs Fine Arts Fair, Maloney’s Ride-Em-Copter (2013) is a Graceland-worthy vehicle, customized to extremes by the Santa Fe-based artist.

Inspired by his love for the Wild West and the 1969 movie Midnight Cowboy, memories of horseback riding as a child, and fascination with machinery and pop culture, Maloney took a decommissioned boneyard Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter and decorated it inside and out with a smorgasbord of found and repurposed objects. The work’s inventory is apropos of the artist’s vision, which he describes as “starstudded rodeo”: thousands of colored gemstones, a set of old cowhide chairs, his father’s well-worn saddle, a Longhorn Steer skull, an iPad with virtual flight simulator, a Swarovski crystal chandelier, LED lighting strips, and burgundy crocodile pattern mohair door panels.

“This gleaming eggbeater capable of attaining virtual altitude is where the intellectual subconscious stops and real-world whimsy begins,” Maloney said of his bejeweled heli-sculpture. And the visual treats don’t end there. Head to Heather James’s booth this weekend and you’ll also find a radiant gouache by Alexander Calder and a hypnotic Op Art work by Victor Vasarely, among other works.

Images courtesy Heather James Fine Art.

Explore the Heather James Gallery Fine Art booth at Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

Artsy Editorial