Chow Town

Food and art merge at The Star’s Food Truck Friday

Updated: 2013-09-09T19:07:10Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

Food trucks are usually known more for their food than their graphic appeal, but it stands to reason that vehicles with visual interest are more likely to attract first-time customers.

“It’s not always how good your food is,” says Adrian Bermudez, owner of Indios Carbonsitos, a food truck specializing in authentic Mexican street food, including his best-selling torta ahogada (or drowned sandwich). “Everybody stands in line for the pretty, pretty trucks. We wanted to be able to stand out. We knew we had to get some eye candy.”

Food truck/art fans will be able to get a close-up look at the truck’s newly minted paint job from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, during The Star’s Food Truck Friday in the parking lot at the corner of 18th & McGee. Other featured trucks include 3 Girls Cupcakes, Beauty of the Bistro, Cajun Cabin, Crave of KC, Coffeecake KC, El Tenador, Wilma’s Real Good Food and Little Italy KC.

Initially Bermudez checked into custom auto paint jobs and vinyl wraps but found them cost prohibitive. Brett Atkinson of Wilma’s, who already had commissioned local artists to do cool paint job on the side of his trailer, put Bermudez in touch with JT Daniels, a local fine artist who works at Mattie Rhodes Art Center.

Daniels had a show of his illustrations at a Crossroads gallery earlier this summer. He also painted his first street mural on Independence Avenue and now his first vehicle, both much larger canvases than he had ever worked on before. Between Aug. 27 and Sept. 4, he worked late nights under flood lights spray painting the formerly white Indios Carbonsitos truck with bold Aztec-inspired symbols and designs that appear to burst from a red background.

Daniels worked freehand and says the “handcrafted-ness” of spray paint reinforces the message of handcrafted food truck fare. The application of an automotive finish will make the artwork durable enough to allow washing and waxing without fading.

Reaction on the street?

“People were passing by and breaking their necks to look at it,” Bermudez says.

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