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This is the fifth post highlighting an Artist in the automotive field. You can find the other posts here.
Today we spend some time with Pinstripe Chris.
Originally an automotive painter, he eventually began to branch out and apply his skills in airbrushing, Marker Cars, drawing and pinstriping. Even though largely self-taught, he increasingly became very adept at each of these skills. As a result, Chris has developed a following that has asked him to work on their vehicles. Many of those cars have been featured in print and in online publications.
It was his Marker Cars that caught my attention. The amount of work and time involved in creating one of these works of art is mind-blowing. I first saw his marker talent expressed on a Mustang. He has gone on to create several more Marker Cars, including a Camaro, Lamborghini, etc.
I contacted Chris and asked him if he would be up to a Q&A type of interview. He didn't hesitate in letting me know he would be happy to answer questions and provide some images.
Here's what he had to say,...
How long have you been an Automotive Artist?
I guess it depends on what you mean by Automotive Art – I've been doing design/render/illustrations full time for the past 3 years. Prior to that I was doing pinstriping, marker art, airbrushing on cars, and custom paint back about 10 years. I still do all of those things, actually.
Do you remember how you started?
I've been drawing ever since I can remember. I even remember my first commissioned car drawing was when I was in middle school. It was of a teacher's 1995 Mustang SVT. I've always loved cars and always drew them as a hobby and for friends, but didn't realize I was laying a foundation for what I would later be doing full time. I later became an automotive painter, which led to airbrushing, then pinstriping, then marker art, then ultimately to automotive illustration. Every tool and technique I learned from every point along the way is something that shaped the technique and process I now use to create artwork. Interestingly, I never imagined one leading to or helping with the next, but am glad that's the way it worked out.
You've developed talents in pinstriping, custom painting, marker design, and others... What's your favorite?
I really enjoy doing automotive design artwork right now- there's something really special about being part of a build process and being involved from the artwork POV (Point of View) is very different. It didn't occur to me early on, but people go to school for years and work very hard to do the very thing that I'm doing. So, I feel blessed to do it in the capacity that I am, having gone about it my own way. Bringing not only my ideas but other ideas to life on paper is such a great journey and a fun challenge at the same time. No two days are alike.
How long does a Marker Car typically take from concept to completion?
I rarely spend much or any time conceptualizing the Marker Art Cars (I don't do a rendering to propose the concept typically, for example) and I don't pre-plan or sketch out design concepts. Once I have the car prepped, it's just a matter of letting the markers hit the panels and glide in a way that's visually interesting and has good flow to it. On average I would say the Marker Cars take about a week from start to finish including prep and final clear. When I'm working on them I stay super focused and enthused about the artwork. So, it's very easy to pour on 16 hour days for 7 days straight. You want to see the idea come to life, and I generally work very fast so that we get to see the end result in a pretty short amount of time considering the artwork.
What has been your most challenging Marker Car?
I would say the 1970 Pro Street Camaro was the most challenging since a huge amount of the car was covered, but split up into panels with a little bit of airbrushing and pinstriping to finish them off. There are panels on the roof, hood, hood scoop, trunk, doors, fenders, spoiler, chin spoiler, lower valence- the car has more artwork than areas without artwork by far.
How long was it before one of your works was first published? What did it feel like?
A few of the more well known Marker Cars I've done were either published right away in magazines or online articles (Yahoo, for example did a story on the Sharpie Mustang right as I finished it). Its super exciting to have artwork like that shared, it really means a ton to me. Although I always know that there is a split between love & hate for the Marker Cars I work on, these are automotive canvases that I was commissioned to put artwork on so there are only 2 people that need to be happy about it- the owner and myself.
Newest challenge or inspiration ahead of you?
I've gotten back into some Sci-Fi/Futurism artwork recently that has a really fun custom car and robot crossover. I'm really enjoying it. Trying to split time between customer artwork and my own personal artwork is tricky, but well worth it.
How would you encourage others coming behind you in the Automotive Art arena?
If you are passionate about it don't hold back and don't wait for motivation or opportunities. Dive right in! We only have a limited amount of time to leave our mark on the world and we don't get that back. So, don't wait for when the time is right. Do it now! And, practice like crazy! Even though I do artwork for a living, I still do a practice piece or two every single day just to keep the rhythm of what I do going and as an opportunity to try new things and materials. If you wait until you are inspired to draw or paint, you will always be waiting.
Sources in addition to the Q&A