Zen Garage at the Japanese American National Museum took place at the ground floor gallery and celebrated aspects of motor vehicles from sculptural motorcycles by Shinya Kimura and Len Higa to the Scion Famicar and the Scion Monster Truck by David Choe. The original Zen Garage logo design was created by Len Higa and was hand painted on the wall.

Zen Garage

December 30, 2010 - February 13, 2011


Giant Robot and the Japanese American National Museum continues its Salon Pop series with Zen Garage, a concept display developed in collaboration with Eric Nakamura ofGiant Robot.

The concept of Zen has been thwarted by popular culture in the form of awkward connotations and new “urban” meanings. Its basic meaning in our new world is essentially a “pure focus.” Likewise, a garage is no longer just a place where one parks their vehicle. Today’s garage can also function as a place of inspiration, development, and creation. With these words together, we bring you Zen Garage.

Zen Garage features three innovative creations illustrating various facets of contemporary aesthetics, lifestyles, and cultural backgrounds.

The SUPER FAMICOM CAR, a retro video game-inspired converted Scion xB utilizes projectors from both the front and rear to play video games. Its conversion includes sound making doors, a cartridge starter key, and controllers for each passenger. Designed by Giant Robot's Eric Nakamura and fabricated by Onimotorworks Len Higa, the car includes a custom video game, “Return of the Quack” featuring art by Matt Furie, programming by Chevy Ray Johnston, and game consulting and co-producing by Adam Robezzoli.

DAVID CHOE’S CUSTOM MONSTER SCION xB exemplifies his aerosol street style as well as his larger than life perspective. A muralist and graphic artist, his work can be found on walls from Los Angeles to Vietnam. He is known as much for his exaggerated vulgarity as for his aesthetic sensibilities. An avid drummer, Choe keeps a drum kit in the bed of this Monster Scion xB that he played to an audience at Miami’s Art Basel in 2006.

SHINYA KIMURA’S SPIKE is not only a motorcycle…it’s a work of art. Inspired by his imagination, Kimura creates functional art by infusing his philosophy and aesthetic values into his sculpturally unique and rolling designs. Kimura believes that the motorcycle represents in its form barbarism, vulnerability, and ephemeral beauty. By exposing the inner qualities of these machines Kimura instinctively creates machines that are an extension of the soul.