ICR8 ART (a meditation on imagination, engineers, and license plates)

I guest authored a post for the ineluctable The Education of Oronte Churm, over at Inside Higher Ed. The good Mr. Churm (John Griswold) has guest written for us as well, as with this John and Paul Project post from last year and this one, from two years past, on Hot Funky Love.

But please, by all means, go read the new post at his blog in full. It's theme? Creativity, imagination, grammar. It's purpose? To ponder the identity of the artist, the engineer, the department of vehicles.

And this one license plate I saw that really confused me: "ICR8 ART."

An excerpt below.

One would first assume the personalized plate means that the person creates art, that the driver is in fact an artist. "I create art." One would assume. "One," in this case, being me. Artists are creative. They are also strong users of the language, skilled not just in the art of paint and image and clay but composition....Except it doesn't read "I create art." It reads "I crate art"....

That's what you have. I crate art. So then...the driver is probably an art packager, or a shipper, or works at Mailboxes, Etc. and specializes in mailing artwork. Right? I crate art. The driver puts art into crates, because this is a very important job, it is the job of the everyday person who does the work in between, ensuring that the art gets from point A to point B unscathed. Art, of all things, needs special shipment protection. Art, if destroyed in transit, loses its artistry. Art loosely packaged could be art undone. The license plate is thus calling attention to an otherwise neglected and under-respected craft of its own--the art crater. To be honest, I didn't even know this was an actual job. So, kudos to the driver, he or she has brought awareness to the profession.

[My wife] was unconvinced. [S]he offered [instead] that the driver was in fact an artist, a creator, one who is creative, one who wields imagination for the betterment of our culture's understanding of human identity and the dynamics of life in this world of ours. You've never seen any of that cee-rated art, she asked? The driver serrates art. It fits. "ICR8 ART." I serrate art. I take art, the driver is telling us, a driver whose other car we are told is a broom, and use serrated scissors. Not just for tomatoes, I cut little notches along the edges of art. This is who I am, behold my work!

Now off to the full post to fill in the rest.

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There's a flickr user with a photo set called "iCR8 ART" where the obvious intended meaning is "I create art" (obvious there on flickr).


I do like your alternative meanings though. It's interesting how easy it is to read CR8 as create when crate and serrate do seem to fit better.

Truly worthwhile article. Pay attention