All-Electric Nissan Ariya Crossover Art Car Looks Electrifying

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

  • Nissan’s all-new Ariya electric crossover comes in some nice colors, but none quite as intricate as this. It’s the work of automotive artist Pinstripe Chris.
  • The work helps Nissan promote the handy new Ariya.
  • Custom work like this costs anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

Nissan is trying all kinds of things to get the word out about its all-electric Ariya crossover, its first all-new EV since the trailblazing Leaf arrived in late 2010. An adventure couple just completed a drive from North to South Poles in a modified Ariya. JD Power recognized the Aryia as the leader in its segment for “Most Appealing,” and now Nissan has commissioned an art car version of it.

Automotive artist “Pinstripe Chris” Dunlop spent several days creating the Ariya you see here. If you think it looks like an electric circuit board, you’re not alone.

“It was intended to have more of an electric feel—you know, not only just using the car as the canvas, but what the car actually is to sort of motivate and inspire the idea behind the artwork,” Dunlop told Autoweek.

close up of a car's license plate

Electricity is not flowing through the lines—it just looks like it is.

Mark Vaughn

So that is a circuit board we see around the Ariya?

“I would say so—I think everybody reads it a little bit differently,” Dunlop said. “So it’s not important necessarily.”

But the artist had a slightly different idea when he began work on the custom paint job.

“In my mind, I was kind of thinking about neon signs, the way the lighting works, and the way the curves work, and the way that the corners work. Just kind of that nice glow, but kind of a tight line feeling. And it does come across as a bit of a circuit board.”

He didn’t have a specific pattern in mind when he started. First, he air-brushed a darker blue background of Createx acrylic underneath where the white pinstriped line would go, then with the pinstriped line itself hand-painted with a pinpoint brush on top of the blue. The design is not symmetrical, by the way—one side does not match the other. You can track completely different progressions of lines all over the car.

“I think quirky stuff like that is more interesting than perfection. Perfection is good, but yeah, something that feels like a signature is kind of an interesting idea whether it’s accidental or not.”

Dunlop has worked on Nissans before, most recently applying a pattern on a white Nissan Z with a black felt-tip pen.

“I’ve done a lot of cars that way. And that’s a lot of fun, that’s a bit more spontaneous, a little bit more, just kind of go for it, a little bit more free flow. You just kind of fill in the surface with a design and a pattern—just something aesthetic. It’s fun to watch it happen in person.”

a blue car parked in a parking lot

Note how the art car stands out among the production paint jobs.


Likewise, the pattern that emerged on the Nissan Z was not intricately pre-planned. It just came straight out of Dunlop’s imagination.

“It’s way more efficient that way. If you try to plan stuff like that, you’ll just get nowhere.”

But what if the client demanded to know exactly what his or her car was going to look like before signing the deal? These jobs range from $10,000 to $25,000, after all.

“I’ve done, I want to say, 27 or 28 art cars over the years in this way. And usually the corporate-type clients are the ones that want to see more of a plan. And it’s more efficient just to say no rather than argue back and forth with them.”

Nissan didn’t demand pre-approval for the Ariya.

“A lot of the companies I work with, they’re super go-with-the-flow. If you just explain, you know, ‘I’m not going to do anything that I’m not proud of. Just give me a little bit of space to have fun and we’ll make it work.’”

Dunlop also works in two-dimensional art—acrylic on canvas—and those look pretty cool, too. You can see some examples on his Instagram page, pinstripe_chris or check out

Given the long tradition of automotive pinstripers from The Greek and Von Dutch to the modern masters, there’s always a way to make your car stand out from the rest.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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