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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

to Vegas in a Ferrari GTO

I've been on road trips and I've been to Vegas, and I've been to Vegas on road trips. But never in a Ferrari GTO. However film director/ friend Stephen Mitchell has. So I figured the next best thing to do was to capture its essence, that I may vicariously experience it through a brief snapshot as an accompaniment to Mitchell's wonderful account here.

In particular I've had a drawing laying around for months, a cockpit view looking out to Mulholland Drive with the Ferrari Breadvan ahead. It's a scene from another time, of an event I could only visualize and never actually do. It describes weekend jaunts in Mitchell's youth with his other Ferrari-owning friends, namely Matthew Ettinger, et al, owner at the time of the celebrity status "Breadvan":

With extant photos of Mitchell's past few and far between, I gleaned the proper period view and dash board of his GTO from some surviving old home movies. Upon seeing the footage it was immediately clear that he had fashioned these peculiar rotatable vent tubes on the dash, giving his GTO a personal if not unconventional touch. Whenever you see the three tubes you know it's Stephen's car. So I created a quick scene that was intended for ... something. As it came to pass, life and time got in the way and I set the drawing aside but kept it close within reach, knowing I would have occasion to get back to it. At very least I knew I needed to finish something I had begun. I hate not finishing things I start. The feeling is awful.

Fast forward to today: Stephen calls and needs an image of a road trip to Las Vegas as seen from his GTO. He remembers the Mulholland Drive drawing and asks if he can use it, minus the Breadvan scene ahead. I knew where the drawing was and went right to it. It was usable but had to be altered. I saw that I could keep the dashboard but not the scene beyond (And it occurs to me as I write this that the reason I shelved that original drawing in the first place was that, upon seeing it, Stephen revealed it to be technically incorrect: The depiction of hands on the gear shift, with the car going into a turn, was wrong).

The seemingly innocent action initially drawn describes a performance driving no-no: You don't shift and turn at the same time. But I didn't want to redraw the entire dash board and hands. Too much work. As such, I removed the curved road, the Ferrari Breadvan, and drew another environment and cut it into the scene: A lonely desert straightaway to Vegas, with the youthful Stephen shifting through the gears and riding to glory at high RPMs. The minimalist scene took a minimum of time and in a way, for me, cleans up the drawing.

I vowed years back that one of the gifts I shall impart to myself, when able, is to take proper performance driving courses. I can safely say that my training began while doing a drawing.


  1. I love the Las Vegas roadtrip drawing especially the sign. Will this be done in color as well?

  2. Thanks for your comment. I am currently working on a book cover that is adapted from that image. It will include some color but will probably remain largely monochromatic and black and white. However in time I may do a color version of the original image that you are asking about. Thanks for following!