Lowrider Design Challenge

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Low N' Slow

Low 'N Slow is an immersive outdoor experience for art lovers of all ages providing a multi sensory tour through the world of lowrider arts and culture in Northern New Mexico. The Lowrider exhibit is curated by the prolific voice of New Mexico Artist, Toby Morfin. Taking place throughout the summer of 2021, this safe and socially distant exhibition takes visitors through every aspect of lowrider culture from a 101 guide to hydraulics and pinstriping and tattoo classes to lowrider movie cult classics and interactive community gathering experiences. Low 'N Slow evolved as a sister exhibit to the Harwood Museum of Art's exhibit, Santo Lowride: Norteño Car Culture and the Santos Tradition, where you can see Toby's art.

Santo Lowride: Norteño Car Culture and the Santos Tradition curated by Nicole Dial- Kay, unrolls the unique story of New Mexico’s interwoven expressions of devotional art and lowrider culture. Just as the santos artists seek a physical channel between the heavens and their daily life, the lowrider has evolved as a modern-day vessel for the belief systems of multicultural Norteño communities. In this exhibition, santeros, santeras, and famed lowrider artists cruise low ’n’ slow side-by-side to make apparent how these two art forms share subject matter and religious function, binding them across past and present peoples. Harwood is also coordinating Santo Lowride Cruise@TaosPlaza, A Norteño Lowrider Cruise and Car Show on September 25, 2021. We encourage you to check out all these events to inspire your lowrider design.


Toby Morfin

Born in Española in Northern New Mexico, Toby Morfin is a multi-faceted Hispanic artist whose work in oil, charcoal, pastel and other mediums is heavily influenced by Hispanic and Native American culture. Elements of Chicano and tattoo art, low rider culture, Day of the Dead imagery and religious iconography come together to form Morfin’s individual style. “The vast majority of his work is based on his everyday life experiences, observations and visualizations of his surroundings.

STEAM skills applied

  • Hydraulics and suspension
  • Engineering design
  • Transportation innovation
  • Futures thinking
  • Pinstriping and airbrushing


"My name is Toby Morfin, artist and curator from Española, NM. I grew up watching my uncles build lowriders from a very young age. We would get together in their body shop on Prince drive in Española and that's where they would do their magic. By magic I mean they would turn these cars in masterpieces using candy paint and spraying layers of candy painted patterns. Then they would finalize the car by putting back on all the chrome. As time went by, once I figured out how to use the materials they used on the cars, I started building my own lowrider bikes. It became my passion and the love I had for this craft just got bigger. I started building my own lowrider car once I was old enough to drive. So nowadays I am very involved with lowrider art and culture. As a curator of fine art I have put together quite a few shows on lowrider art. I have been featured in Lowrider Arte magazine along with a few others. I will continue to do lowrider art and share it with the world, because I believe it’s part of our culture and it should never be forgotten.

  • Lowriders: Toby Morfin
    Hydraulics: Orlando Martinez
    Pinstriping: Randy Perraglio
    Airbrushing: Joey Montoya

Curatorial Statement

"The Santo Lowride exhibit at the Harwood Art Museum and its sister exhibit, Low 'N Slow, in Arroyo Seco both depict how Santos art and lowrider culture play a big role in Northern New Mexico culture. Combining the two forms of art is what the viewer will see in these two art forms. Starting with the santos which have a long history in New Mexico dating back to the early 1800s. The Santos are carved religious images made by men called Santeros. Now in modern times, women have started to carve Santeros as well and they are called Santeras. Most Santeros/as have been taught this tradition from generation to generation. They are drawn to carve saints from their strong religious faith and their passion to create art. The best way to preserve tradition is to change it, this is where the contemporary Santeros come into play. The contemporary Santero has combined religious imagery with Northern New Mexico’s lowrider culture.

Lowriders in New Mexico have a very long and strong history. The lowrider started in the late 1940’s in Española,New Mexico, which holds the name of 'Lowrider Capital of the World'. These cars are modified by individuals or families by custom painting with intricate murals and applying colorful patterns using candy paint and the airbrush to lay out the murals. The lowrider is dropped by cutting the coil and then refitted with a hydraulic system so the car can be raised or lowered to the ground. In the builders' eyes 'lower and slower' is their motto. Being co-curator of this exhibit I have seen the religious icons play a big role on the lowrider being used as murals on the truck and hoods of the cars. Nowadays it’s even been taken further by the muralist painting every square inch of the lowrider car, inside and out. The 'Low' culture has evolved in recent years with cars being put in a class of their own and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the lowrider. So this lowrider collaboration depicts how both cultures have come together over the years. It showcases both worlds, the santos and the lowrider, and how they have become one." Toby Morfin