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Young Artist Wins Inaugural Hot Wheels Design Award in FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest

Driven to Drive Sustainability Through Art

Art has the power to change the world. For 14-year-old Danica Lilly Ball of Chicora, Pennsylvania, through her anime-themed artwork “Steer Clear and Steam Forward into the Future,” she hopes to drive awareness of the need to regenerate our planet’s ecosystems and protect our wildlife. 

Young Artist Wins Inaugural Hot Wheels Design Award in FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest!

14-year-old Danica Ball's "Steer Clear and Steam Forward into the Future" artwork wins inaugural Hot Wheels Design Award in FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest

In addition to receiving an Honorable Mention award in the FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest, her colorful intricate drawing on paper inspired led to her receipt of the inaugural Hot Wheels Design Award, which was established by Bryan Benedict, a national judge of the contest and the design director of Hot Wheels and Matchbox Die-Cast, Mattel, Inc. This award is presented for an artwork with a design that celebrates the spirit of the Hot Wheels® brand.

Danica chose the Bengal tiger as the focal point of her artwork because this endangered species is bold and fierce, setting the tone for her envisioned future. The theme of her drawing also seeks to champion the importance of rainforests and an understanding of the impact caused by climate change. Additional inspiration came from Japanese culture, anime, manga (cartooning), and bright flashing neon lights often seen in public places in Tokyo. Over the course of one day, Danica came up with the topic of her design with a rough sketch. She then created a final copy and used India ink, alcohol markers, highlighters, and colored pencils to complete her winning masterpiece, which took her approximately 70 hours to do.

Danica Lilly Ball draws her “Steer Clear and Steam Forward into the Future,” which won the first Hot Wheels Design Award.

“Danica’s goals were to draw a car that was bold, fierce, and fun as well as send a message to others to make decisions to help protect the environment, make an impact on climate change and bring awareness to endangered species” said her mom Angela Ball. “She envisioned a car powered solely by water and steam.”

Danica explains that the large water tanks at the bottom of both sides of the car are heated up by the ventilators underneath the tank. Then, the water travels from the tanks up through the water tubes on the sides and front of the car, as well as the pipes inside the wheels, and the jet in the back attached to the tail. Steam comes out through the wheels and out the back jet, which powers the car and its engine. Her vehicle can travel by air or ground, and the tanks and water tubes fold under the car when it lands on the ground.

Danica is an eighth grader at Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (known as PA Cyber). An avid artist, she was very thrilled to find the art contest through an online listing. “Danica is constantly drawing,” said her mom. “She draws every day and has been drawing ever since she could hold a pencil. Danica loves to explore all kinds of different art mediums. She is certain that she wants to pursue a career in art, inspired by Japanese anime and manga, and would love to become a comic artist.”

3D model of Danica's award-winning drawing "Steer Clear and Steam Forward into the Future"
3D model of Danica’s award-winning drawing

The Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest also inspired another exciting project that incorporates the STEAM approach to teaching and learning, combining science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion, and problem-solving. Presented in partnership by Toyota Motor North America, California State University Dominguez Hills (CSU-DH), and the Petersen Automotive Museum, university students create their own 3D interpretations of the contest’s top winning artworks. Three of this year’s 3D models – including one inspired by Danica’s “Steer Clear and Steam Forward into the Future” – are displayed on the first floor of the Toyota Center for Innovation in STEM Education, which is located on the CSU-DH campus in the Science & Innovation Building (1000 E. Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747 – parking map and driving directions). Seven other 3D models based on designs by grade school artists are on view at the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Rob and Melani Walton Discovery Center (Saturday, October 29, 2022 through Sunday, March 26, 2023). For museum hours, visit www.petersen.org.

Through the work of Danica and many other young artists, Toyota is proud to hold a contest that inspires children and teens to dream about the future of cars while using art to inspire others to make an impact on the world. Now in its 12th year, the FY23 Toyota Dream Car Art Contest launched in the United States on October 1, 2022. Artwork by U.S. youth, ages 4-15, may be submitted online or by mail for this year’s U.S. contest through January 31, 2023. Entry forms for this year’s contest are available at www.ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com/entry-forms.

Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan held the first worldwide contest in 2004. Nearly 90 countries now host national contests. All countries submit their top nine winners to Japan as entries into the World Contest. To learn about the World Contest, visit www.Toyota-DreamCarArt.com.

About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. During that time, Toyota has created a tremendous value chain as our teams have contributed to world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 38 million cars and trucks in North America, where we have 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama (10 in the U.S.), and directly employ more than 47,000 people (over 36,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold 2.8 million cars and trucks (2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2018. Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.