LYNNWOOD — She’s the rhinestone car gal.
What’s up with that?
Shannon Kringen’s 2010 Honda Fit is festooned with thousands of rhinestones. The car glistens down the highway and bedazzles onlookers wherever she goes.
On this day, she was at Lynnwood’s 164th Street artesian well to fill up 5-gallon jugs of water at the public tap. In the 12-car lot there were two Teslas, a few pickups and some SUVs. Her car was the center of attention, as usual, with people snapping photos and gawking.
“I love her car,” said Salamawit Tesfamariam, of Shoreline, who took a picture and asked Kringen questions about her car.
Kringen, 54, of Seattle, had stopped for water on her way back from a modeling job in Bellingham. For 30 years, she has been an art model, often in the nude, where she might wear a rhinestone necklace, at most.
“When I’m modeling people stare at me because they are drawing, so now with my art car people just stare at me for totally different reasons,” she said. “Part of me is introverted and more quiet. This car does not look like a quiet person drives the car. I don’t go to parties, but I do my art which looks like a party.”
She is an artist on canvas and shoes, as well. And a pet sitter. She said she had one normal job, at a Kinko’s years ago. It wasn’t for her.
The car project started two years ago.
“People assumed it was a junker car that I decorated,” she said.
The Honda actually was in great shape.
She has spent about $2,000 in gemstones to cover the car she calls Opal Moonstone.
“I was maybe just going to do the hood, and then I had a big circle and I was, ‘Wow, this is so fun,’” she said. “I’m still trying to finish. I’m a little OCD so I hyperfocus on things.”
It’s not a random smattering of stones. The gems form patterns and distinct shapes.
She uses clear silicone sealant — sticky and waterproof — to affix the stones.
“None have fallen off,” she said.
The gems come from craft store bargain bins, and include cat buttons, ladybugs, flowers and other shapes.
Look … and touch.
“Little kids go up and touch and the parents say, ‘Don’t touch,’ and I say, ‘That’s OK,’” she said.
She takes Opal Moonstone to art car shows and parades, such as the Fremont Fair that draws cars from all over the country affixed with toys, skulls, spoons, forks, you name it. Her car was on display at Fresh Paint in Everett this year and last. It melds with her abstract painting style.
Kringen moved to Whidbey Island as a child.
“In high school, I was known for painting my shoes in the 1980s. I like to do curvy shapes and I transferred my design onto the car,” she said. “I like the idea of functional art, to be able to wear art or drive it around.”
Rhinestone platform heels sit on the dash. She paints custom KringWear shoes.
Her mom, Beth Wyatt, is a Whidbey artist.
“She is more of a private, quiet person, not a performer,” Kringen said. “She thinks it’s really neat that I do it, but she doesn’t really like it when people take photographs when she’s sitting in the car. She wants to go hide.”
“I did a 28-minute monologue,” she said. “Sometimes wearing only body paint.”
That’s not her only claim to fame.
“I hand-painted shoes for Tori Amos and she wore them on stage,” she said. “I’ve done all these eccentric things in my life.”