Artist/prankster Tom Kennedy (RIP)

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San Francisco prankster and art car artist Tom Kennedy drowned yesterday at the city's Ocean beach. What a tragedy. He will be missed. His friend John Law wrote an obituary over at Laughing Squid. Goodbye To Tom Kennedy: Art Car Artist, Activist, Teacher & Prankster


  1. Tom was one of the most genuine, kind & spirited people I’ve ever known. I heartily second my friend Simon Barber, who wrote that “every interaction I had with Tom showed the fun, kindness and depth of character he had.” A prankster, an artist and a rebel. Tom was both a friend and a hero, A big man with a young boy’s mischievious sparkle forever in his eyes. Were it not for Tom’s creativity, skill and abundance, one of the most incredible, surreal experiences of my life would never have happened: Sitting atop our giant rubber duck as Tom’s glowing white whale swooped & circled around us, chased through the night by the beautiful La Contessa.

    For many of us, Tom’s death is difficult to fathom. A strong presence, full of heart and optimism, Tom always seemed so… enduring. A rugged, grinning constant among our worldwide family of transient freaks, clowns and weirdos.

    And though he will be deeply missed, his character and creations will continue to inspire us, will continue – as they have so clearly already and abundantly done – to change the world.

    Thank you Tom. Voidspeed.

    (And here I must picture him like Slim Pickens, straddling the giant rocket of “Dr. Strange-Mc Cain”, his most recent art/protest vehicle while joyously free-falling into the afterlife with a whoop and a smile.)

  2. tom, you are soooo missed. thank you for everything you taught me–from how to weld, to true collaboration and challenging the status quo. to haideen, tom’s beautiful wife–i’m so glad you found one another. your bond was…beyond beautiful. i’m so sorry your time together on this earth was brief. and to tom’s mama, pat–what an amazing human being you created. thank you sharing your gift with us. tom’s legacy lives on in each one of us. really it does.

  3. Tom was one cool dude. I always said, “If the art car movement was a table, Tom was definitely one of the legs” Everytime I was with Tom it was a laid back fun experience. It was an honor when he asked if I would paint on his art car creations. On one of many trips back to Portland Audrey and I took him to NoHo’s. A Hawaiian style eatery, that seems like yesterday now. He IS a creative soul…and his energy will find it’s way into a new form soon, if it hasn’t already…see you around Tom!

  4. Hey!
    I saw that “double decker” bus in New Hampshire a summer or two ago, and even took a photo.

    It’s nice to know what it’s origins were, finally. Too bad it had to be this way.

  5. This is so sad. He & his art will be missed. I had the great fortune to first meet Tom in 1994 out in the black rock. Ripper was one of the most incredible art cars I’d seen at that point. Tom was just getting started…

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