The World Needs A Jerry Orbach Lowrider And This Artist Is Trying To Make It Happen

I’m not going to lie. I was really excited when I got the email from Brandon Bird today. Brandon Bird is one of the masters of a peculiar subset of pop art, one that incorporates a specific yet ineffable type of famous person in an unlikely situation. I got even more excited when he I learned he wants to make a lowrider featuring late great Law & Order legend Jerry Orbach.

I’m not sure how else to describe Bird’s art, other than I’m a big fan of whatever it actually is.


You may know Bird from his amazing painting of nobody playing Sega with Harrison Ford, or maybe his painting of a hobbyist Christopher Walken building a robot in his basement.


I’ve been inspired by the comforting strangeness of Bird’s work in some of the things I do here, even, like this and this, and maybe even this. So when Bird reached out to us to help spread the word about an automotive-related project of his, I was happy to help.


The project is to create a lowrider. Not just any lowrider: a lowrider with a Jerry Orbach tribute theme. Anyone familiar with Bird’s work knows that he has a deep and powerful fixation with the Law & Order franchise, and especially the beaten, mildly haggard detective Lennie Briscoe, played by Jerry Orbach.


Here’s how Bird explains his Orbachmania:

Jerry Orbach has long functioned as a source of personal and artistic inspiration. A muse, if you will.

Many years ago, I found myself in a rut—I was about to be unemployed, and the most exciting thing in my life were “Law & Order” marathons on TNT. But in Jerry Orbach’s character of Detective Lennie Briscoe, I found a spark. Here was a man made weary by the world, who nonetheless persevered. His acerbic wit and hangdog attitude couldn’t mask a natural warmth and kindness. I got off the couch, and put together an art show. I made a “Law & Order” coloring book, which was the first thing I ever did that became a viral hit, and that has snowballed into an entire career making ridiculous pop art. I owe a lot of good things in my life to Jerry Orbach.


That’s good enough for me. What kind of sick bastard wouldn’t want to see an all-out Jerry Orbach lowrider?

To make this beautiful dream a reality, Bird has set up a Kickstarter. He specifies his plans in detail there. He’s thinking of using a 2000s-era Crown Vic, which I thought was a bit new for a true lowrider. Besides, Orbach shilled for an iconic lowrider car in the ‘70s:

Bird, though, has his reasons:

The Crown Vic is because it ties into his role as a NYPD Police Detective, but also because of price/reliability/attainability. If by some miracle we go meet and go over the goal, I might try for something fancier. Maybe a *luxury* sedan.


The car will be done with the work of Los Angeles-area lowrider artists and mechanics and will have a classic lowrider look. When I lived in LA, I’d see lowriders a fair amount, and I can honestly say that on many of them I’ve seen the absolute best paintjobs on any car, bar none. Better paint than Rolls-Royces, hands down.

The people that build these are master craftsmen and women with intense skill, so just the act of commissioning a lowrider about any subject is a plan I can get behind.


Bird is also offering some pretty sweet Orbachian swag for those who choose to donate, like these remarkable bumper stickers:


... or this air freshener. Bafflingly, it smells like roses, instead of the rich, mellow Orbach smell I’m sure we’ve all imagined. I’m thinking the scent he must have had from his role as the bad brother in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors is probably the best Orbach-smell.


I think it’s pretty safe to say that the world will become a better place when there exists a lovingly-done Jerry Orbach lowrider, prowling the mean streets of LA. If you agree, you know where to go.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)