Art and science collide in an explosion of colour, speed and movement

The artist Mia's painting, which was transferred onto the Mobil1 Team Sussex racing car by computing experts at the University of Sussex.

Researchers in the Media Technology Lab used a 'photogrammetry reconstruction' process to turn Mia's painting into a digital image.

The Mobil1 Team Sussex students with Mia (front row, far right) and the finished racing car.

A racing car built by engineering students at the University of Sussex now has a unique livery thanks to the work of some of the University’s computing experts.

The car, displaying a colourful abstract design by an internationally acclaimed artist, was revealed at a launch event on the Sussex campus.

Researchers in Sussex’s Media Technology Lab (MTL) needed three weeks, five computers and more than 1,000 photographs to turn a painting by the artist Maria Ines Aguirre (Mia) into a 2D digital model and then back into a 3D wrap.

The wrap was then applied to a car built by students in the School of Engineering and Informatics as part of the Formula Student project, a global student motorsport competition.

While the researchers used techniques already established in the videogame industry, this was the first time these techniques had been linked together and used to transfer a painting onto a race car. 

Marco Gilardi from the MTL explained: “The technical ability of the MTL and their knowledge within the area of 3D graphics enabled a photogrammetry-based scanning process to be completed in a relatively short timespan using off‑the‑shelf equipment and state-of-the-art research software.”

Professor Diane Mynors, head of the School of Engineering and Informatics, added: “This project saw the conjoining of technology and art to form functional art.

“The technology is very impressive – so impressive we are thinking of commercialising it.”

The University worked closely with Sussex Signs who printed and applied the wrap to the carbon fibre body of the final car.

The MTL have been working hard to get Mia’s painting onto the car in time for an event at the Silverstone racetrack from 9-12 July, where the Mobil1 Team Sussex students will face 134 other student teams from around the world in a series of tests.

The connection between technology and art is also explored in a short film by Carly Brownbridge, Patrick Holroyd and Dr Phil Watten. Dr Watten commented: “This film follows Mia on her creative journey from blank canvas to finished work of art and plays with the same ideas of speed and movement that Mia incorporates in her work.”

Notes for Editors

A selection of the artist Mia’s works can be found at

Mia is currently represented by the Moorhouse Art gallery in London. More information on this gallery can be found at

Please get in touch if you would like more information about the Mobil1 Team Sussex students, or to be kept informed of their progress in the Formula Student competition at Silverstone race track from 9-12 July.

University of Sussex Press Office: Ben Steele and Jacqui Bealing, 01273 678888,

Posted on behalf of: School of Engineering and Informatics
Last updated: Monday, 6 July 2015