Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2011 Scion tC Introduced at N.Y. Auto Show

No. This is not the new Scion tC just introduced today at the 2010 New York Auto Show. This is the Scion Fuse coupe I chopped two years ago. Notice I gave it a rear-wheel drive look by moving the front wheels forward and shortening the front overhang as compared with the actual concept at the bottom of this post. I can dream can't I? Fake cars FTW!

C H O P — Scion's Fuse concept car from 2008 supposedly heralded a new design language for Toyota's entry level marque. So far, we have seen none of it's bold lines incorporated into its production cars. Reporters today have described the new tC as "Fuse-like" but I really don't see much of a resemblance. I took the Fuse concept, and literally made a production-ready coupe out of it. It has a certain grace and style beyond its price point if you ask me. . . 

The new production car is a step up from the current version, with a slightly more powerful engine, and a self-described 'more masculine' exterior (whatever!), but it still falls short of the concept. 

2011 tC as introduced at the opening of today's auto show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Fuse-like? Ummmm, well the rear quarter window curves upward...

2008 Scion Fuse concept car. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Achingly Haunting, Historically Appalling

Captioned, "Romeo and Juliet in cotton field"

Captioned, "Picking Cotton"

Captioned, "Down where the cotton blossoms grow"

Please click on all three of these images to see them in greater detail. The imagery and art and printing style are from another time. Their faces will haunt you. They should.

C O L L E C T I O N — Posted today are three postcards printed in the USA in the early 'teens of the 20th century. They were found in a packet of twelve similar postcards—postcards for what? I have no idea. None were ever sent to anyone, none of them have any inscriptions on the back. All of them are in fairly pristine condition. The three cards I've posted were separated, but the perforations on the rest were still intact having held them together for close to 100 years. They are still able to be unfolded from the cardboard stock folder they were packaged in. Were they meant as 'vacation mementos' as postcards serve today? Were they bought for their 'beauty' and when you see the originals up close, there IS a beauty to the printing, the hand coloring, the loving faces of those trapped in a life not of their own making. From everything I know, and have learned, about my family's history, I can say the irony of these cards would not have been lost on them. Is that why none were ever sent, instead saved for the future?

These cards show the vile side of the South barely fifty years removed from the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as a contemporary confederate group in South Carolina is now referring to it, but I won't go there for THIS post). I'm haunted by the entire concept of these cards. Who decided people kept in abject poverty by a backwards Southern society, having to pick cotton for their familie's survival, would be a fine subject for postcards? The people illustrated were clearly close—families, lovers, friends—but at what cost to their lives and dignity posing for the original artist? Jim Crow laws were still very much in use, and no women at all had the right to vote when these were produced. Separate But Equal wasn't just a saying, it was the way of life for people, as were lynchings, rapes and slavery-in-everything-but-name. 

I'm really at odds with these historical pieces. I'm revolted by what they stand for, but they ARE part of the historical archives that make up this country's past. They can't be tossed into the garbage, as much as what they illustrate needs to be. As an artist, what would I have done had I been alive then and given the assignment to colorize the photos and create the lithographs for the cards? The postcard with the multigenerational family 'working' together, is captioned "Down where the cotton blossoms grow" as if they were on a family picnic or enjoying their own property.

These cards piss me off, they fascinate me, they scare me; they're utterly dismissable yet they must never be forgotten. The pieces of art I will create from these still elude me three years after first scanning them. I know I need to do something with them, but my usual process is absolutely stymied by their imagery.

Romeo and Juliet in cotton field. We must never forget.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Glitch

There seems to be some sort of glitch in Blogspot's server right now,  my jpgs aren't showing up. I apologize to everyone. Hopefully they'll take care of the problem asap. I'll put up Monday's entry when the glitch is fixed.  Thank you for your patience, lol!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Roundup. Structuring Life to Make Art

Grouping of several of my pieces. The top four, and the center piece on the bottom, use my late grandmother's ca 1920 portraits. I found her negatives in a vintage candy box, as well as old envelopes and dresser drawers. I wouldn't be surprised if I have still more to find packed away, put away for "safe-keeping" 70-80 years ago and then forgotten about. Click on photo to enlarge.

O N   W O O D — Although every piece I do is an individual stand-alone, I really enjoy seeing them grouped together. The photo above shows my livingroom ca 2007, with several of my pieces interacting together. When I finished hanging my first solo show last summer, LocalColour, I looked around the large gallery at the 77 pieces I had chosen to show, and the feeling that came over me cannot be described. From the comments I received in my guestbook by the end of the month-long show, my viewers 'got' what I'm trying to say with my work, and that was gratifying in the extreme.

I've been working on this type of art since 2005 when my boxes and boxes of 'someday' art became the raw materials of my TODAY art. I've been gearing up for this phase of my life since my teen years. With family commitments, jobs, life etc always getting in the way, in 2005 I decided that NOTHING would get in my way anymore. I've given up most aspects of a 'normal' life these days, concentrating almost 100% on creating my art, digital and physical. 

I'm satisfied in a way I never could have imagined. I am virtually destitute. I am virtually a shut-in. There are days and days on end when the only people I talk to are the nice people that work at the grocery store and the not-so-nice political talking heads on TV I enjoy yelling at. I haven't driven my car in more than a year to save insurance and other attendant costs, which isn't the easiest way to live in my suburban coastal Connecticut town. I walk or ride my bike to do all of my errands, a tedious undertaking as I can fit only so much in my backpack. I depend on a small cadre of friends for rides when my primary mode of transportation isn't feasible, and they understand! I've tried to eliminate everything that isn't essential to breathing and creating art.

I am going to create all the art that's been in my head for decades, before it's too late. Dedicated doesn't even begin to explain the way I feel about the way I've now structured my life.

A section of one wall of my show last June, LocalColour. Seeing seventy-seven of my pieces hanging together for the first time ever,  I realized I was on the right track, that all of my sacrifices had not been in vain. Click image to see larger. Click twice to see really large, lol.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Blood is Thin

One of two pieces I've done on stretched linen instead of wood. Click on image to see in greater detail.

O N   L I N E N — This piece, My Blood is Thin, is a collage based on photos of an old friend of mine I took back in 2004 or so. The main image is of his two hands spelling out B-L-O-O-D. Other sampled images include the front cover of the Life issue with Martin Luther King Jr's funeral coverage, the cover of a not-very-well-known Elvis Presley song, I Feel So Bad, and various photos of me as a child, laughing on the outside, crying on the inside . . . 

Using my paint and paper and polyurethane process on stretched linen as opposed to hardwoods, worked out just as well. The feel of the piece is taut and smooth and has a waxy finish due to the multiple coats of non-yellowing water-based poly. The size is smaller than my usual pieces, 14x11 inches, but I'm more than pleased with the way it turned out. As with all of my pieces, the edges are fully finished, in fact the images wrap around, negating the need for a frame. 

I really don't care for frames at all. I feel most times they compete with the art instead of enhancing it. I've done exactly one piece WITH a frame, and in that case, the frame itself was covered with images and became the art. I used a circa 1930 wooden frame with wide flat surfaces and it's original glass covering more artwork underneath. That was also a first for me out of the approximately 110 pieces I've created in the past 5 years.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reflective Side Graphics NOT Optional This Time Around: Skyhawk Reenters Compact Arena

Twin-charged Direct-Injected Inline 4 with Hybrid-assisted drivetrain standard on this new hatchback by Buick that seats 4 on individual Recaro buckets. Hatchback does not equal cheap, basic transportation at premium division of GM. Click image to see it's gorgeousness in greater detail, lol.

C H O P — This sporty Buick hatchback coupe is based on a profile photo of the Maserati GranTurismo coupe. The Skyhawk from the 1980s was based on the Vega/Monza platform, and anchored the bottom of the Buick lineup back then. Over-the-top options included a full-length decal along the sides that reflected at night when lights shined on it. Four cylinder and V6 engines were offered, but the car never fooled anyone—it was cheap transportation in its lowliest '80s guise.

My chop would give Buick a very economical, very aggressive entry in the small coupe market. Befitting Buick's place in GM's lineup this time around, the interior would be upscale, featuring Recaro leather buckets for all 4 passengers. The drivetrain would be a brand new 4 cylinder, with both a turbocharger and a supercharger, in addition to a mild hybrid-assisted transmission. Economy could be in the high 40s city, with acceleration times in the 6 second range from 0-60. Yes, the best of both worlds, economy and rapidity will be offered in this hot new GM sport coupe.

My Saturn SL Would have Returned to Roots

What might have been... My Saturn SL for 2011 looks back at the original plastic-bodied family sedan introduced by GM in 1990. Alas it was not meant to be.

C H O P — I  chopped this 'return to basics' Saturn SL a few years ago. The base photo was an unknown-in-the-USA Dacia sedan, a low-priced marque owned by Renault. I used a dark russet color that was often seen on the revolutionary small family sedan back in the day, and incorporated a wrapped rear window in a nod to the original. My Saturn would have continued the elastomeric ding-resistant body panels made famous by Saturn. Instead of using the relatively expensive Opel platforms as Saturn evolved into, I would have kept Saturn cheap and cheerful and perfect for budget-minded families. Unfortunately, this chop, as well as any new Saturn, will never see the light of day. 

41 Years Ago Today-That New Car Smell and a Deep V8 Rumble that Caused Paintings to Fall off Walls from a Mile Away

March 25,1969: The day this brand new 'goat' arrived at Mulberry Point

C O L L E C T I O N — For some reason, I can remember odd dates from my childhood quite easily-April 17, 1964, the day the Ford Mustang was introduced, Jun 15th 1973, the day my cat Missy had kittens, March 25th,1969, the day the gorgeous brand-new Liberty Blue Pontiac GTO pictured above came home with us. 

I can clearly remember seeing it on the new car lot, next to a white Bonneville on one side and a brighter blue Chevelle SS396 on the other—the dealership sold Chevys and Pontiacs. There was also a first-edition orange GTO Judge, but it was WAY too garish for our tastes!

As excited as I was whenever we bought a new car, I was sad to see our equally gorgeous 1966 Ford Fairlane 500XL 2 door hardtop being left behind. That Ford was the most perfect red ever painted on a car. The beautiful black vinyl bucket seat interior, with plenty of brushed aluminum trim on the console, dash and doors, had been faithfully cleaned every Saturday by my Dad and yours truly.

The GTO came with a 400ci V8 of 350hp, hooked to a 4 speed manual transmission. Having just read a well-researched article on Pontiac V8 engines of that time in Hemming's Classic Car, I know that all Pontiac V8s of the time were basically the same—there were no small blocks or big blocks like Chevy used. Whether you had a 287, 326, 389, a 400, a 428 or a 455, they were basically the same engine design. My mom was NOT crazy about us going 'backwards' on the automotive evolutionary scale as she put it, retreating back to a manual transmission from the perfectly modern 3 speed Cruise-o-Matic in the Fairlane, but she would put up with it for a couple of years. The car was eventually traded in on January 13, 1972 on a brand new Ford LTD Brougham 2 door hardtop with full power and auto trans, and sanity was restored in our household, lol.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Personal Freedom—Early 20th Century Style

My grandmother in her 1915-16 Model T Runabout—a single lady with her own car—a trailblazer for sure.

C O L L E C T I O N — This is my grandmother and her first automobile,  the least expensive, most basic version of the basic Ford Model T, the Runabout. Notice the driver's 'door' is a blank. The driver entered from the passenger side through the only opening door. It seated only 2, but represented absolute freedom back in those early days of motoring. 

Before she died in December 1969, we watched the moon landing on that July 20th together. She told me that in her lifetime, she had seen one of the very first cars to travel through our town in 1899—on the occasion of the death of a prominent gentleman whose family she would eventually marry into. She told me she had seen one of the first cars as a 4 year old child, and lived long enough to see a man land on the moon. Isn't that incredible?

My grandmother loved that car, and it was eventually parked in a barn on the property, as she could never bring herself to sell it. Eventually the barn came down around the time of the '38 Hurricane, but I own parts of the car to this day: I have the steering wheel, the cowl lights, the 2 piece windshield and several headlamp lenses. This is the car she used as she drove around the shoreline of Connecticut with her equally-early camera, shooting portraits of her friends and family. Many of these negatives have been used as images in my current pieces. By using her incredible early photos, I feel as if I'm collaborating with her, even though she died when I was 12. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh Noes! Am I Responsible for the New Acura "Power Plenum" Grille Treatment

Acura Legend coupe chop from 2007. Besides the new grille treatment I chopped here, I'd love to see Acura's flagship line include a 2 door, hopefully pillarless, as I created here.

CH O P — This is a chop from very early in my chopping 'career.' This generation of RLs lacks a coupe and they lack the very well-known Legend nameplate as well. I created this coupe, in the personal luxury style I like so much. The front grille treatment I added was just a way to highlight the Acura 'calipers' logo more. I had no idea that Acura would ever take my chop and run with it, lol. I just wish they had used the 2 door coupe part as well.

Actual 2010 Acura RL showing their current grille used on every Acura in the lineup now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays . . .

Flower quilts. From my garden to my iMac, flowers are a joy in my life. Click pics to see larger.

D I G I T A L   P H O T O G R A P H Y — After nearly a week of bright, sunny, almost 70 degree early Spring days, it's a cold and rainy Monday morning in late March. I don't know about you, but I need to look at something bright and beautiful today—some of my flowers from past gardens. One of them has a 'guest' hanging out on its petals, too.

In the first floral "quilt" above, in addition to the flowers, I used digital images of a 3D piece of mine made from dried orange halves. I scanned a couple of my favorite GAP striped T-shirts for the second piece. The third piece uses the first 2 as their own "squares" in the quilt, in addition to other individual squares I created for it. In the third piece, you'll also notice scanned images of heirloom afghans passed down through the generations of my family. I learned the love of flowers and colors and creative handmade items from my now-gone family. 

I'd like to thank my friend Mary for giving me lovely dahlia corms the past few springs—I'd never grown dahlias before and they're among my favorites now. I'd also like to thank my friend Julie, whose fabulously creative 'real' fabric quilts inspired me to work on these digital quilt representations.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hard Times

"Unwilling to work eleven hours a day" is one reason given on the multiple unemployment "pink slips" used in this piece.

O N   W O O D — This piece utilizes several examples of a troubled life during the World War 2 era. I've included in this collage divorce papers, gas rationing coupons, pink slips from multiple job losses, as well as a wartime telegram from a buddy overseas to his friend back home that had been injured in the war. 

This piece is 32x20 inches on three joined antique boards, including a knot hole. There is a beautiful slight curvature to these planks, much like an old wooden floor may have settled in places. I choose my base woods depending on their color, their grains, their unique 'signatures' including knots, grooves, and other well-worn imperfections. I've left some of the wood exposed, to show the beautiful graining in it. The piece is finished with a pearl glaze and multiple coats of non-yellowing polyurethane to last indefinitely—longer than the marriage did, longer than those jobs lasted, longer than the war lasted. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Left Behind

A cost of war? Little girls posing alone in photos to send to their fathers overseas. Click to see details.

O N   W O O D — This piece uses several images from the first World War period. The photo of the little girl, my mom, was taken in 1919 in Connecticut. The images on the sides include postcards sent back home from an American soldier (her stepfather) in France during the war. There are also pieces of an early 20th century train map, showing the route Connecticut soldiers would take on their way to Boston or New York to deploy. One photo shows 4 women of the era fishing, normally a "man's" job back then, but all the available men had enlisted. This piece is approximately 23 x 15 inches on a piece of pine.

Quick research shows that approximately 8.5 million soldiers died in the Great War, more than 21 million troops were injured, and close to 8 million POWs were listed as missing in action* during this 'war to end all wars' fought from 1915-1919. The Armistice was signed on November 11. 1918, and the final treaty was signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919.  By the way, what we now call "Veteran's Day" the eleventh of November every year, was originally called "Armistice Day" in honor of the end of WW1. My parents called it Armistice Day until the days they died.

Just a note about my pieces in general: While all of my work is based on the treasure trove of antique family negatives/prints I've inherited, I try to make my pieces 'universal' as well. It's my feeling that when you look at a painting of a person from another period, 100 years ago, 500 years ago, you don't know the person in the painting personally, but you respond to the universals in the image. This is what I try to do with my work too—I really don't think the viewer needs to have known my mother to be affected by this piece. In fact, this piece now resides in Colorado with my great Vassar friend, Gail. She never knew my mother, or family for that matter, and this piece touched her heart enough to bring home.

*Wiki Answers:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Painting Memories

Nanny's Room—Painting evocative of my grandmother's Victorian furniture. Click on image to enlarge.

O N   W O O D — This is a painting I did on a piece of pine, 22 x 11 inches. The colors are somewhat subdued in this photo, it's pretty vivid actually. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house, a 250 year old saltbox home that had been in our family for 150 of those years. It was filled with antiques and the accumulation of objects that can only be gathered over many generations-much of which I own today. Her bedroom furniture was a Victorian set, with delicately painted flowers on the top and in the center of the drawers. I would stare at them, and then stare at the real flowers/plants in her room and even at that early age, I knew that I wanted to create images like that for people to look at. 

While I didn't at all try to replicate exactly the way I remember it, this is an homage none-the-less to those early artistic memories of mine. This piece uses water-based paints with layers of graphite grids added in, and clearcoated several times with non-yellowing polyurethane. I purposely left much of the drawn-in design, and actually did more raw pencil drawings on top of the paint when i was finished. Her furniture was quite old, even 45 years ago, and was quite scratched, which I replicated in this piece as well. The result is my contemporary take on the fussy Victorian period, at least the way I see it. My friend Mary must have felt the same way-it's hanging in her home now!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

'Bu with Two

Whatever happened to bodystyle choices? Bring back 2 door hardtops!

C H O P — Almost all of the cars my father brought home when I was growing up, were 2 door pillarless hardtops. We had the occasional wagon, or sedan, but the vast majority of family cars were 2 doors. In the last 15 years, bodystyles of new cars almost entirely consist of 4 doors and SUVs. Many of my chops are sedans made into coupes, for the very basic reason that the pillarless coupe is my favorite type of car. Here is a relatively plebian Malibu, with a flowing roof and pillarless construction. You can see I added slight flying buttresses to the C pillars, in a nod to the '66 and '67 GM intermediate coupes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

March 15th, the Ides of March, has always sucked for me. Enough of a post today. Discuss!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Variations on a Theme: Spring Blooms, a '63 Split-Window 'Vette and some Artandcolouring

Doin' what I do: setting up unlikely tableaux, shooting digital pix and working them up in Photoshop. Click on all pix to see in greater detail.

D I G I T A L   P H O T O G R A P H Y — A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mary brought me an some daffodils and a few other early spring blooms. That night I was playing around, setting up shots of the flowers and various scale model cars. I blended in pieces of other work of mine, including my painting, Checkerboard Memories. The bottom of my vintage 1955 console Grundig Majestic Radio/Record Player, showing the four identical horizontal speaker openings, looms in the background.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Back to the Futura: Ford's Friday Night Special

Introduced amid strobes and retro House music, Ford's new mid-engined hybrid 4 seater made it's debut Friday night—a fitting finale to the 2010 Geneva auto show?

C H O P — Sitting here on a Friday night, reading political blogs, watching MSNBC and listening to old disco music—music I heard in the clubs of LA, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, in my, ahem, younger days. Listening to classic disco can make me smile, remembering all the amazing times I had with my friends back then. Listening to classic disco can also make me cry, remembering all of those great friends that died too soon, leaving ME behind [of all people]. They must be laughing out loud at that, I tell you.

Anyway, listening to artists like Sylvester, Cheryl Lynn, Aretha, Diana Ross, Dan Hartman etc, I remembered this Ford chop I did last year. I used an Aston Martin as the base image! I'm the first to admit that a mid-engined 4 seater hybrid is pretty much as out there as you can get these days. I enjoyed creating the atmosphere of a dance club in which a car of this ilk could be introduced . . .

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Wreath and Crest Introduces Hybrid Competition for the Z4 and SLK

Hybrid and Supercharged, the Eldorodster brings it's powered flip-top to the near-lux party. Click to see in all its tiny glory.

C H O P — This is another chop from the past, but every time I find it in a folder, or in Photobucket, it makes me smile. The XLR's body lines were reduced and softened to form this 2 seat entry-level lux sports car, the Eldorodster  A hybrid drivetrain assisting a high-tech supercharged and direct-injected V4 of 1.2 liters powers the rear wheels of this sporting roadster. Lightweight batteries and ultrasmall petrol engine combine to put out 250hp and 300 ft/lbs, more than ample to move the 2800lb sportscar, all the while delivering 52/42 mpg in gov't tests. Safety tests warranted a new highly-coveted sixth star for this new addition to the Standard of the World : )

Altiminima Coupe: Nissan's Smaller, Lighter, Faster, Greener Altima Sport

Leaner, meaner and greener—Altima Sport is faster and gets improved mileage.

C H O P — I think did this chop when the Altima coupe was introduced. While I always applaud the decision to produce contemporary coupes, parts of Nissan's design just don't work for me. I've tightened up the entire car, changed the construction to pillarless, but kept the fwd/awd proportions. I've chopped the roof, and shortened the overhangs, for a more focused version of the mid-size sport coupe. I think it looks as it it's ready to pounce now, instead of looking like it's ready for a nap. lol.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Prius Coupe Loses Two Doors, Two Pillars. Photochops Still Deemed 100% Safe, No Recalls

In the chop from sedan to svelte pillarless coupe, my Prius proves once again that my chops have not been, nor ever will be recalled. Click pic to safely enlarge : )

C H O P — On a  day with yet another runaway Prius story in the news, this Prius is what I refer to as a classic sedan-to-coupe chop. Starting off with the 2010 Prius, I lowered the roof, made it a 2 door with pillarless body construction. The roof is blacked out with a carbon-fiber/sunroof package, lowering the center of gravity somewhat. The quad exhausts utilize a new ActiveSound option for city/pedestrian situations. This allows the driver to select from several exhaust tones to bolster the external sound during electric-only operation, alerting sight-impaired pedestrians . I also added the dark argent rocker panel treatment, in an effort to lessen the height of the tall Prius sedan.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You Say Clutter. I Say All My Hopes and Dreams.

Boulevard of Dreams, 2007. Click to enlarge.

C O L L E C T I O N — Still life of my 'desk' ca 2007. My 'cars' have a habit of creeping up on me, shades of Christine! This is a random shot past my keyboard on one particularly busy evening. Cars include the first Porsche, a Plymouth Pronto Spyder, a Jaguar concept, a Smart, a GTO, a slabside Lincoln convertible, an E320 wagon. What other cars do you see? Note also, the Super 8mm film Wildest Africa. Apparently in the days before the VHS/DVD days of taped movies, you could buy Super 8 film and documentary reels to watch at home on your home movie projector. You can also see part of a CT Lottery ticket, some jewelry and my keyboard; in short, all my hopes and dreams! : )

Monday, March 8, 2010

Three Still Lifes from 2006

Scale models on every horizontal surface, ca 2006. How many can you identify? Click all photos for enlargements.

C O L L E C T I O N S — Beautiful spring day today, although I know we'll have another snow storm or two, that's New England. I was looking through my HD and came across a bunch of still life photos I shot at home in 2006. I've mentioned before that as a discipline, I shoot at least 25 digital photos every day. Hence, I have a lot of posed shots. Still Life ca 2006.

"The calla lilies are in bloom,"must be Spring. Historic magazine and scale models in the background.

Dust collectors all of 'em. Ya gotta love the Edison cylinder player though, the MP3 player of the early 1900s. : ) 

Get the #$!% Away From Me : )

My Monday morning visage for most of my life.

C O L L E C T I O N — '59 Caddy or Easter Island moai? This is another early 1980s photograph of mine, shot at that 'final resting place' for junked luxury cars I've featured in earlier posts. This photo shows the '59 Sedan de Ville in 4 window hardtop style, better known as the Flattop model. The rear C pillars were as thin as the B pillars, and the rear window wrapped fully around to the sides. The roof itself seemed to be cantilevered, and projected over the rear window in an overhang. GM's full sized car line utilized this same roof for '59. In fact, '59s cars were so rushed to production after seeing Chrysler's '57 models, that every GM division shared roofs and even front door skins with each other, from Chevy to Caddy for that one model year. It was a tremendous job on the part of GM's stylists, that this fact was little known for years and years.

Notice the 1960 Cadillac coupe reflected on the sides of the '59. You can see the lowered, and 'shaved' fins that appeared that year. The taillight 'eyes' were replaced with a slender vertical unit, beautifully integrated into the smoother vertical fins. GM stylists were golden back then, entering into the William Mitchell period at this point in time, as Harley Earl retired during this time, with some of GM's best styling yet to come.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Solace in Repetition

1950s Suburban bathroom tile colors—cut and pasted in Photoshop. Pink and Gray were my college colors as well.

D I G I T A L   W O R K — People familiar with my work on wood, know that I'm a fan of checkerboard patterns, repetitive squares of colors. Most of the time they are random. Sometimes I repeat a certain amount of squares for a calming effect. I find repetitive checkerboard/square patterns fascinating and have used them to both anchor a piece's other images, and to serve as the piece itself.

In this digital piece, I created the colors of my family's mid 1950s suburban home's bathroom tiles, pink, gray and black—my parents owned a pink and black 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible back in the day as well. I cut and pasted squares with these three colors into the patterns you see here.

Pink and black never really recovered from its kitsch status after that fateful 1963 day in Dallas when President Kennedy was assassinated. The First Lady was wearing a pink suit with a black collar (I think Chanel, not positive) during the motorcade when he was shot, and was famously seen wearing the same suit with the President's blood on it during the swearing-in ceremony of Lyndon Johnson, aboard Air Force One on the way back to D.C. later that day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tropical Thunder: RWD Hot Hatch Enters Fray with Opera Windows?

Hot hatch Southern California-style a la artandcolour

C H O P — Long before the recent Aveo RS concept hit the car show stands, I chopped an Aveo 5 door into this little sport hatch with rear-wheel drive proportions. I especially like the formal Lincoln Town Car-esque C pillar window treatment I worked into this 150 inch B segmenter, lol. I can imagine the Chevy Bow-Tie engraved or laminated into that small vertical pane. The Aveo name is slightly embossed into the lower rocker panels, optionally picked out in contrasting color as seen in this example. The shaved doorhandles are a classic custom touch. A bright cheerful chop for a late-to-start but sunny Saturday afternoon. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Where My Palette Originates

Home installation, 2008. Notice the colors in my piece vis-a-vis the collectibles.

C O L L E C T I O N — Arranging my collections in various ways helps me build my palette for my pieces. The colors of the past, the colors of my present, are the hues I build upon in my work. I find them soothing, striking, comfortable-yet-jarring in other cases. You can see vintage toys and salt-n-pepper shakers, all dating back to the 'teens through the fifties of the last century. The top shelf holds items I've recognized on the Antiques Roadshow episodes I've watched. I haven't hit it big yet, lol.

"Clowns in My Coffee," a triptych, is on the wall flanked by vintage beads and postcard. The case is both painted and appliqued with fabric, from a design I sketched out. i had it built by a master woodworker, a friend's father, and is one of the few fabulous contemporary pieces I own, imo.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LMPV002-Family Truckster Goes to Charm School Sant'Agata Bolognese-Style

550 hp V12 Lamborghini LMPV002 Minivan. Late for that PTA meeting? Click pic to see all of its family goodness.

C H O P — What could epitomize the concept of a chop more than a Lamborghini minivan, lol? I worked this one up from a Murcielago 3-4 years ago, during my early days of the Combustion Chamber at Autoweek. The classic Lambo bull logo is broadcast on the side, much as the Cavallino Rampante of Ferrari's prances along the cowls of many of Maranello's rosso roadsters. This people mover's name, LMPV002 relates to that other non-sportscar Lamborghini, the LM002, the now-classic off-roader. I'll take mine in a gorgeous metallic mink-brown color I saw an original Espada in once. That might not sound great, but believe me, the Espada looked like a million tasteful bucks in that shade.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"A device for shrinking time and distance" original ad for 1964 Pontiac GTO

Cover of advertisement for the 1964 GTO, stapled into one of my old car magazines. Click to enlarge.

C O L L E C T I O N — Leafing through my old magazines the other day, I found an 8 page, full color advertisement for the original 1964 Pontiac GTO. It was stapled into the April '64 issue of Car and Driver. That first year, the GTO was an option package for the Tempest line, as GM's internal rules limited engine sizes per chassis size. The GTO option was John Z. DeLorean's idea, one of the bold decisions that helped make his rise in GM's ranks legendary. Absolutely no gratuitous stainless steel or cocaine jokes in this here blog, lol.

The first spread has the GTO Sports Coupe in Grenadier Red on the left, That was Pontiac's way of saying '2 door pillared sedan' or 2 door post sedan, as many of that era called them. The right-hand page showed the GTO convertible in Cameo Ivory. Click to read.

The second spread shows the pillarless hardtop GTO Hardtop in Nocturne Blue and what is described as a 'Black Fabric Top." This was so early in the vinyl roof fad, that a common name for the option wasn't nailed down yet. The right-hand page quotes some options/accessories and specs. Click to read.

The last spread illustrates features and options, including the venerated triple-carb 389, good for a listed 348hp. Interiors came in a choice of six colors! Think about that the next time you're sitting in your modern, most likely gray, interior. Click to read all the goodies.

The back cover shows more features, including dealer-installed 'splitter' exhausts. Now that was a dealer-accessory I would have agreed with! Click to read.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All In A Night's Work

Enclave Wildcat 4 door pickup would use the divisions most powerful drivetrains, and feature a powered rear tonneau cover.

C H O P — The Buick Enclave was introduced in May of 2007, so these chops probably date to the summer of that year. I was routinely posting at Motor Trend's forums at that time, posting my chops and disagreeing with posters in most of the other topics most of the time, lol. 

The question came up of what an Enclave pickup would look like, and I took an hour between posts and made the gray 2 door 'El Camino' type vehicle below. Then someone else said a 4 door version would make more sense. Rather than modify the chop I had just finished, which I hate to do, I started with a different view and was just going to rough it out. The more I got into it though, the more I liked it, shown above in green. You'll notice a 3 piece rear tonneau cover on this chop. The three pieces would be powered, and would roll back onto themselves and fold near the rear window. I found tri-colored Buick shields for the wheels, and added built-in grab handles on the rear C pillars. I went a bit crazy with the hood ventiports, placing 5 of them. We all know that 4 is the most Buick has ever used. Let's chalk it up to the quickness of the chop, and perhaps the third Stella . . . As far as these vehicles go, I think either of these Buicks would look right at home at the garden center or the home-improvement store.

2 door Enclave SUT, er, picks up where the El Camino left off.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Double Chop to the Past. Needs Full Restoration.

Unfortunately, a sight unseen in any field at any time. Click to enlarge.

C H O P — This is one of my favorite chops, low-resolution as it is. Googling images one night, I found this photo of a carcass of a '62 Lincoln 4 door 'suicide door' hardtop, sitting in a field. I believe it was for sale, or had just been bought, hence the small image values. I wondered what it would look like as a coupe, and chopped it into one. Then I decided to go to phase 2, lol, and I fitted the chopped coupe with a version of Lincoln's new styling cue, the split-wing grille. I wanted to see what a classic slabsides would look like if the current split grille had been used by Lincoln in the sixties too. So this is a fake front end on a fake coupe, and the whole thing needs a bit of TLC to bring back to "original" condition. Don't know why, but this is definitely one of my faves. I'd like to  create a real '61-'63 LC coupe someday. Baby Jane Hudson will have a comeback too.