A Lifetime of Automotive Aspirations
My fascination with automotive art and sculpture began while I was an automotive design student at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
During my time in the program I literally ate, slept, and breathed all things cars. I was a man possessed, unrelenting in my obsession. I sketched cars seven days a week for at least 8 – 10 hours a day the entire year. In conjunction to honing my design skills, I tried to increase my knowledge and design vocabulary by immersing myself in anything automotive related. Techniques, motorsports, design icons, engineering, fabrication … everything!
It was during this quest that I stumbled across a group of artists who were displaying automotive artwork at various concours d’elegance. I was immediately fascinated with the concept of creating artwork that could transcend the constraints that I was bound to as a design student. Soon, I would often find myself supplementing my design assignments with “creative breaks”. Stolen moments where I could relax by creating automotive artwork and sculpting the occasional speed form. It was addicting. My student work began to slip more into the creative art realm than the practical, surely affecting my chances of becoming a Big Three designer. It also probably didn’t help that all I ever talked about was Ferrari and F1! In hindsight I’m sure the teachers from Ford, GM and Chrysler didn’t appreciate hearing about how superior Maranello’s designs were.
Designing four dour sedans and SUV’s was the price of admission to a OEM design position during the early 1990’s. Although they certainly appreciated exotics they knew where their bread was buttered. Trucks never stirred my soul and I soon found myself yearning to extend my reach. It was then that I began to believe that there might be something more, something different. I daydreamed of hand-building my own sports car much like my childhood hero Enzo Ferrari. Why not learn to do so by creating automotive sculpture? Although not as exhilarating as fabricating my own exotic car, creating sculpture would be less daunting of a leap and was in line with my financial means. I could learn and create at will without limits.
That singular thought back in 1994 sent me down a road that has taken the past twenty years of my life. Along the way I worked at numerous design jobs to support my dream. Many were automotive related and fueled my creative fire such as my time at Shelton Ferrari. I also designed sport fishing boats and websites. I created a 10,000 square foot automotive themed warehouse for a prominent car collector. I put in the hours and did whatever it took to stay on track with my vision. I have spent the past two decades learning about the legendary Carrozzerias and their techniques. Not simply learning facts and minutia but real hands-on knowledge, applicable, so that I might work in the same manner as they once did. I wanted to engage enthusiasts in a way that they could understand and connect with based on the common knowledge of how the cars of their dreams were made. I knew if they saw the exposed wooden buck and the raw, hammered aluminum they would know it was authentic. Craftsmanship, cannot be simulated.
Of course this meant also acquiring the tools to do so. I’ve spent years saving enough money to slowly accumulate the myriad of tools necessary for my journey. I also traveled and studied alongside one of the Nation’s greatest metal crafters. I hammered and shaped. I welded, welded, welded. I sweat and spilled blood. I honed my skills on scraps of aluminum night and day until I felt ready to unleash my vision.
That first vision was my sculpture entitled “Heritage of Speed”.
The primary focus of my automotive sculpture is to capture energy, speed, and fluidity of form. In doing so, I try to reflect the techniques and traditional methods of fabrication that influenced the character of the original design. The hand-built subtleties that give a car its’ persona. The nuances of undulating curves of aluminum as they intersect in sharp creases to imply speed. The contrasting rough hewn, underlying wooden buck that serves as the foundation of form. I combine all these different artistic elements into a singular focus…
“Implied emotional movement of a hidden force.”
A New Era...
"My automotive sculpture has always been fueled by my love of design and motorsports. The culmination of this passion is found in my main business venture HotShoe Studios, Inc. What was once solely an automotive art gallery, HotShoe Studios, Inc. has evolved to become a premiere restoration and fabrication shop. Housed in a state of the art 15,000 square foot facility, we possess the technology and tools necessary to excel in the challenging realm of restoration and custom fabrication."
Visit www.hotshoestudios.com for more information
"You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well."