When the podium finishers at Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix pop their champagne bottles on the podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they’ll have pop art in their hands.
Created by artist-to-the-stars, Jojo Anavim, the three bottles are covered with screen-printed images of IMS patriarch Tony Hulman, the iconic IMS wing-and-wheel logo, American flags and the grand prix logo. Vibrant acrylic paint, aerosol spray paint and glitter-like material, known in the art world as “diamond dust,” also cover the bottles, creating an eye-opening mixed-media collage.
Saturday will be the first time such art champagne bottles have been used at the INDYCAR Grand Prix – celebrating its fourth year of competition on the IMS road course – and likely the first time they have been used in Indy car history. Retired American driver Dan Gurney is credited with starting the champagne spray tradition in 1967 – he opened a bottle from the podium after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race with A.J. Foyt.
Kyle Krisiloff, IMS senior director of music and entertainment, commissioned the three pieces.
“It seemed like a neat way to differentiate the victory celebration at this race from other races,” said Krisiloff. “When there was a race in Nashville, (racing artist) Sam Bass would make a custom guitar, for example, so we thought it was a unique thing to have.”
New York City pop artist Anavim, whose commissioned pieces begin at about $25,000, has created works for a variety of sports, music and film celebrities including Seth McFarlane, Amar’e Stoudemire, Sheldon Adelson, Russell Simmons, Alesso and Kylie Jenner and Daymond John. He also has done work for the high-end hotel chain W Hotels, New York City’s Dream Hotels and brands Sephora and Coca-Cola.
Anavim painted his first champagne bottles when he served as creative director for a Manhattan hospitality company in an effort to get customers to buy larger, more expensive bottles of champagne. When a photo of one of Anavim’s painted Dom Perignon bottles was posted online, it went viral and sold for $25,000.
He enjoyed working with the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indianapolis Motor Speedway brands because they are so steeped in American culture.
“The central theme of everything I do is vintage Americana,” Anavim said, adding that all of his pieces have torn pages form post 1945 Life or Look magazines in them. “So when I read the story about Tony (Hulman) and buying the racetrack after (World War II), it fell in parallel with everything I was doing. It just made perfect sense.”
Now that Anavim’s bottle art is complete, what does he think of them being opened and sprayed by the podium finishers of the INDYCAR Grand Prix? It will make the pieces more valuable, he said.
“The bottles are collector’s items,” he said. “It adds another chapter into the history.”