SO, YOU”RE AN ARTIST?
For as long as I can remember on the off chance I would venture out of my element and go out in public I would get that inevitable question. So, you’re an artist? What type of art do you do? “I build hotrods” I would reply. 90% of the time I can see the dissapointment in their faces, they were expecting me to babble about my gallery premier somewhere. I should be used to it, my own mother never got it, if it wasn’t for the magazine coverage, she would have preferred I got a REAL job! When my father passed away a couple years ago I was forced to do something I have amazingly escaped my whole life. HOME REMODELING !! I had to inherit his house and the location of my garage, the house was a complete disaster. Now , I knew NOTHING about home remodeling and never wished to…after all, where do the WHEELS go?? I dove in head first hoping to get this over as soon as possible! Throughout the project I was constantly utilizing my automotive fabrication skills. I carved 2” thick housing insulation foam into some fake rock walls and painted it with trunk paint. I made a really nice railing for my upstairs out of 1” solid round bar. I built a frame for a glass block bathroom. I even made the art for the walls! SUDDENLY, I was a GENIUS in my mothers eyes! She is constantly bringing over my relatives to show them what I’ve done ! Which finally brings me to my point, we’ve constantly reminded each other that what we do is art but I think we are still selling OURSELVES short. If you itemize every aspect of building a hotrod you have a whole pile of artists! Even a MURDER of them! (sorry, I HAD to use that reference!) Let’s start with the chassis. My city is home to alot of very good welder/fabricators. Some though, just stand out,even the smallest bracket is a work of simplicity and…ART! Machinists? same thing, think of LIL JOHN, enough said! How about your polisher/chrome plater? Anyone can dress a polishing wheel and attack a piece of aluminum till it shines, it’s the artist that takes the care not to mow away your soft curves and radiuses! A sheetmetal guy? Sure, just because you own a brake DOESN’T make you a sheetmetal guy in OUR world! It’s the artist that creates a flowing piece of sheet metal that hides your doodad! Ever think about the guy that you hired to wire your car? Some people can make all of those wires flow from one circuit to the next with such precision that you can just glance and trace every wire. And THAT’S the stuff that never gets seen ! Your upholsterer, or “trimmer” as the old guys say, is extremely important! The artist looks at EVERY aspect of your car from shape to color and overall theme before making a stitch! Now, anyone can learn these specific crafts and master them through experience, but it’s the artist that creates these …these… HOTRODS! So,when people ask that all too familiar question “so, you’re an artist?” you should look them dead in the eye and reply “Aren’t we all?”
Written by Scott Sullivan