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Fresh Talent: Judging the 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art Contest

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/24/2014 Edward Loh
2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

If you had asked me to draw a car when I was 8 years old, I would have scrawled some wedge-shaped cross between a fighter jet and great white shark and Crayola'd it brick red - like two-thirds of the cars on the cover of our upcoming May 2014 issue. I would have not created anything close to the art you see below.

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

Just recently, I took part in the judging of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest, a very special global art competition that invites children ages 4-15 to create original pieces of art depicting a "dream car."

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) organized the U.S. competition, and kicked it off at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. Through corporate and dealer promotion nationwide, TFS managed to attract over 500 entries this year. Employees at Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance culled that field down to 31 national semi-finalists, and that's when I received the call to help judge, alongside TFS President & CEO Mike Groff and VP of Product & Marketing Karen Ideno, actor/art collector Cheech Marin, and Paxton and Shelley Gagnet, the general manager and community relations director of John Elway's Crown Toyota Scion in Ontario, California and Craig Kember, Senior Creative Designer at Toyota's Calty Design Research center.

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

Thankfully I didn't have to select only one winner out of the 31 semi-finalists, or even one for each age group, because as you can see from the nine finalists I did help choose, the competition was fierce. View all nine finalists at the bottom of this blog.

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

What floored me about the art in Category 1 (under 8 years old) was the level of technical prowess and creativity so clearly on display. The 8-11 year old artists in Category 2 went a step further, adding more complicated themes and sophisticated artistic elements like perspective and vanishing points. A few of the Category 3 kids, with their 12-15 years of experience, really blew my mind with their abstract interpretations of the dream car theme. Throughout all categories: a heartwarming streak of optimism and empathy – not just for humanity around the globe, but for planet Earth itself.

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

I'm proud to be able to highlight the works of these American winners and should one of them take the top prize against competition from 70 other countries at the World Contest, Motor Trend will celebrate his or her victory in print. Congratulations to our winners and best of luck in the finals!

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

U.S. WINNERS:

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

CATEGORY 1 (Under 8 Years)
Gold: Martian Toyota Truck by Enoch Christian Kim, age 7, Little Neck, NY
Silver: My Music Car by Leah Choi, age 7, Los Angeles, CA
Bronze: Inside Martian Toyota Truck by Enoch Christian Kim, age 7, Little Neck, NY

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

CATEGORY 2 (8-11 Years)
Gold: Helping Car by Sarah Kong, age 11, Los Angeles, CA
Silver: Future Car by Sally Qiu, age 11, Corona, CA
Bronze: Food Processor Car by Elliot Chang, age 9, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art

CATEGORY 3 (12-15 Years)
Gold: Toyota Camera Car by Lauren Park, age 14, Irvine, CA
Silver: Child Rescue Mobile (CRM) by Tengku Shafikah, age 13, New York, NY
Bronze: Cable Wheel Automobile by Gene Whang, age 14, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

2014 Toyota Dream Car Art© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Toyota Dream Car Art



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