Bizarre Driving School Mural

Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.

Normally, the sign for a driving school isn't the sort of thing that haunts your mind, drawing you deeper and deeper into its depths, trying to puzzle out a narrative from its teasingly specific set of clues. A muffler shop, maybe, but not a driving school.

Except this one, on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles. I'm not sure of the name, or really anything about the driving school, except that they have a wonderfully bizzare mural:


So let's look at what we have here: two figures in a car that resembles a Goggomobil Dart, license plate reading "K.D.S.", which I think must stand for Ksomething Driving School. The passenger, based on his careful rendering, is likely the owner of the school, and is pointing a solid-looking hand forward. The other hand clutches a burning torch, the property of Lady Liberty, taking time off from her wretched refuse welcoming duties to come down to LA and learn how to drive. The pair of Asian entrepeneur and colossal bronze woman are speeding down on what appears to be a giant French flag that curves in from beyond the horizon. The beach is to one side, both Hollywood and the World Trade Center (?) recede behind them, and on the ochre highway next to them, Uncle Sam waves a hapless wave from a convertible, vainly trying to keep up. The treatment of the car's headlights also suggest a possible mechanical Sentience.

Hot damn. That's a mural.


  1. that’s “kim’s driving school.”

    i attended it to get my driving permit when i was in high school.

  2. Oh, this mural is obviously saying,

    “Hello, please to be welcoming foreign peoples of interest for learning driving. Very helpful for new arriving persons who wish driving of the regular auto cars on American roads. No problem for us, we will put you ahead of new peoples and old peoples as well when you wish to be driving car. Oh yes, thank you very much.”

    Or something like that.

    You’d think it’d be “Liberty Driving School” (L.D.S.) or “Green Card Driving” or something.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, which is especially useful when you’re trying to speak in multiple languages simultaneously.

  3. Judging by the outfit on the driver, look at the gathering on the robe, the flow & toga of it all, I see, blazingly clear, “Let Jesus Take The Wheel” … Come to K.D.S. and keep the devil of the road. (Maybe, maybe not!)

  4. On second thought, after a closer look, this is now what I see. Lady Liberty (given to the USA by the French) hence the French flag lining the freeway. Learn to drive safely with K.D.S. and feel the freedom (liberty) on the asphalt. (Maybe, maybe not!)

  5. I believe that’s for Kim’s Driving School in Koreatown, where many new immigrants believe very strongly that driving will bring them closer to Jesus and the American Dream. The ad is smart and well-targeted and culturally relevant for its intended audience (Evangelical Christian immigrants with minimal English and a desire to drive). The ad contains the jingoistic elements and style of ads many are familiar with in their homelands.

  6. I’m also sensing a “Safety First!” thing going on here. The importance of two hands on the wheel clearly trumps Lady Liberty’s torch-carrying job duty. AND she trusts Mr. Lee to carry on with the carrying in her stead. In fact, Mr. Lee comes so highly recommended that she traveled all the way from NYC to attend his most excellent D.S. on Venice Blvd, LA, CA. I wonder how different my life would be if I had attended KDS? I probably wouldn’t have all of these pesky trust issues with men.

  7. When I first saw this, because of angle or something, I thought JC Himself was driving, and so I thought “WWJD? Jesus would use a turn signal here! Pay attention@@” was what the passenger was saying.

  8. Oh, I MUST have a Goggomobil Dart!

    I will convert it to electric drive, and build in that prb-b-b-b-b-b-rt sound effect like George Jetson’s car. I always wanted a car that sounded like that.

    It’s cuter than a 356 speedster. No doors. Awesome!

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