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Artist creates, inspires with piece commemorating 104th running of Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Days away from the greatest spectacle in racing, and a local artist is inspiring race fans to embrace the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, with a painting. 

For 25 years, Audwynn Newman has perfected his painting skills. He has spent countless hours making works of art in his small Indianapolis studio, called the Crafty Animal. He celebrates Hoosier hospitality in almost every piece, but with a stroke of luck, the response to his Indianapolis 500 inspired painting, has been overwhelming.

“It just exploded,” said Newman. Every day I have gotten anywhere from 50-100 emails and they all talk about how much the race has meant to their family or their family member. Or how much of an impact not being able to go to the race is having on them. And I just didn’t expect people to use it and gravitate to it for something positive, beyond it being a cool image,” said Newman.

(Photo of Audwynn Newman working on artwork/WISH Photo)

The painting features the Indy 500 Pagoda, a balloon release and the Blue Angel flyover. Along with historical touches, the focal point is the remake of the Marvel character, the Silver Surfer, as the Borg-Warner trophy.

“Having the mask on the Borg-Warner trophy just says the 104th running was a very unique different running of the 500, because we have these masks on. And God willing in the 105th running, we won’t need to wear a mask,” said Newman.

His plan was to create 104 paintings, by hand, for the 104th running of the Indy 500. Back in July during the Brickyard, WISH-TV was live with Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles and Newman, when he mentioned the idea. Then, last week Boles tweeted pictures of the artwork and the painting took off.

All 104 original hand-painted pieces have since sold out. Newman said he is getting 50-100 emails a day and the race fans are saying the same thing.

“It is something positive and unique that connects to the race, that otherwise there is a deep sadness because they can’t go see the race. And so people have really responded to the image – like ‘yes, I wish I was there… I can’t be there but I love looking at this image. It makes me feel like I felt when I am there,”‘ said Newman.

(Photo of Audwynn Newman holding artwork/WISH Photo)

Now Newmann is working with the local company MRC Wood products to make digitally painted reproductions of the artwork. Therefore, everyone who wants the artwork, can buy a copy on the Crafty Animal website. It’s a way to cross the bricks of this year, on a better note.

“I want people to take away from the image that we are in a point and time that will always be remembered and this image is just one piece of it that says there is still good in that year,” said Newman.

Newman said 200 reproductions of the artwork will be available for purchase beginning at noon on Thursday for $40 at