I sold my last SUV for a wagon—a BMW wagon (er… Touring). But I have to admit that I finally might be swayed back to the SUV world—or at least the SAV part of it. This is in part due to driving an X4 M Competition at the BMW Performance Driving School in Thermal, California (the only thing hotter than the car was—yeah, Thermal), and in part due to internationally renowned artist Joshua Vides and his recent collaboration with BMW M.
If you’re thinking that you might have missed something, the answers is yes and no. As BMW Group stated in a recent release, the global premiere of the BMW X4 M Competition x Joshua Vides took place October 7 at the exclusive showroom [SPACE] by BMW in The Grove in Los Angeles. So yes, you missed that. But the vehicle will be available for viewing by the general public from October 8, before it is transferred to the BMW M GmbH vehicle fleet in November. So if you’re near Los Angeles, you can still swing by and see it.
But you also might have missed the limited release of a merchandise collection dedicated to BMW and BMW M designed by Joshua Vides. He is selling a limited edition of the collection through his own channels this year, although by the time you read this, it might be “he has sold the limited editions….”
Why is this so cool? First, and again from BMW itself, Joshua Vides’ work is known to “play with the perception of objects as a sketch and blur the boundaries between drawing and reality.” And now he has applied that same unique approach to produce a hand-painted BMW X4 M Competition, “its dynamism emphasized thanks to Joshua Vides’ unmistakable style and application of black lines on a white background.”
When I saw pictures of this X4 M Competition, I thought it was pretty cool—not just the finished product, but the concept of the collaboration. I was obviously not the only one, so to fill in more of the blanks on why this partnership resonates with so many, let’s check in with other BMW CCA members and get their takes.
This was not Vides’ first exposure to BMW. He owns an E30 M3 finished in black and an E46 M3 in white, and also counts an E30 Eta among the BMWs he has owned. Jake Shaffer of Stryker Performance in Orange County, California, knows Vides primarily for his BMW passion. “His choice in cars in impeccable,” says Shaffer, who worked on his cars while at Funfzehn Auto. “The first car of his I worked on was an immaculate low-mileage E30, and he somehow had an even more immaculate E46 M3. Both of these cars were essentially time machines: no modifications, never been abused, and everything was exactly how it should have been leaving the showroom floor.”
Vides’ art is appreciated and collected across the world, and certainly in the U.S. I checked with some BMW and art fans across the country to get their insight on this cool collaboration, starting with art connoisseur Ryan Lee in Rutherford, New Jersey. I’ve seen Lee’s Bavaria, and I know that it is certainly a piece of art, with its Metric Mechanics M30 3.7-liter stroker engine mated to a five-speed transmission. Lee and his wife also collect art, and include a number of Vides’ works in their collection. “My wife and I are both artists and creatives, so we know the importance of supporting other artists,” he says. “We both have the bug for collecting, and if it’s limited, numbered, and signed, we want it. Our living room is exclusively filled with Audrey Kawasaki, and my home office is filled with art from the likes of Glenn Arthur, 100% Soft, Chris Hamer, and more. I first discovered Joshua Vides via his ‘Reality to Idea’ installment in Los Angeles. His ability to turn objects into a sketch is what impresses me most. When I heard about the Joshua Vides collab with BMW, the excitement was real. I know he is a big BMW enthusiast—I spoke with him at the opening of his 2019 installation in New York City, and we talked about his [then] newly acquired E46 M3 and I shared photos of my Bavaria with him.”
But doing an X4—an X4 M? “To be honest, I was not initially thrilled when I found out the car for the collaboration would be the X4 M,” Lee continues. “But on the reveal, it was clear he really put his signature stamp on the X4 M, and I was in love. He exemplified the aggressive lines, and, well, what more can I say except that—I want it! I’m hoping it makes its way to the East Coast so I can check it out!”
One of the Vides pieces Lee has is #9 of 30 pairs of Converse “Chucks” shoes. Eric Sorenson, an avid shoe fan himself, knows BMWs and knows of Joshua Vides. “I have been a fan of Joshua Vides for years,” Sorensen says. “I’ve seen his one-of-a-kind ‘chapel’ in Las Vegas and attended his Los Angeles art exhibition, ‘Time Stood Still,’ with his take on classic watch faces. He is a very distinctive artist, and I love the examples of his work I have been able to obtain.”
Sorenson has been an automotive technician for more than 25 years; he and his family currently own four BMWs, and I don’t think he can count all the others he has owned. His 135iS with Dinan touches and BBS Motorsport wheels leads the family pack. “[Vides’] current collaboration with BMW is absolutely amazing,” he adds. “This X4 M Competition he did is clearly one of a kind. While I have a number of his works from his other collaborations, I sure wish I could have this one! I drove an X4 M Competition at the Performance Center, and I’m a long-time BMW owner and fan. This is one BMW I wish I had in my garage!”
Caleb Potter is another BMW fan who appreciates this collaboration. “Joshua Vides is an OG,” the Athens, Georgia, resident says. “His approach to art is like no other. If you see some of his work, you immediately know it’s his. I really respect his approach and his focus on cars. The project he’s doing with BMW right now is amazing!”
BMW explained that earlier this year, “Joshua Vides opened his Matte Black Coffee cafe in Los Angeles, designed entirely in his black-and-white style. Visitors to the cafe will be able to admire his installation dedicated to BMW for some weeks—this consists of spinning steering wheels and other works of art.”
The impact Joshua Vides has made in the art community has been powerful, just like the X4 M Competition. And while it might be tough sometimes to catch the car, with its S58 engine sending it to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, it won’t be tough to catch the impact of Vides’ work on the art and automotive communities.
By the way, I’m keeping the wagon regardless—but I’d be happy to such a special X4 M Competition to my garage!—Kyle van Hoften
[Photos of Joshua Vides and the X4 M Competition courtesy of BMW AG.]