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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ferrari GTO Drive-In Marque

So for a couple months now, give or take a week or two, I've become involved with regularly contributing my artwork to, providing Pete Vack, the site's owner, with sketches and drawings as accompaniment to either his or Stephen Mitchell's articles. It's essentially an online car enthusiast's magazine. For that privilege I am honored and look forward to growing that relationship.

And as this week features the 250 GTO as the headliner, at the annual concourse at Pebble Beach --the exclusive elitist event of the highbrow automotive collector crowd-- the GTO is front-row-center once again as the celebrity hero car of fanfare and adulation. For this commemoration Pete and Stephen collaborated on a rather lengthy article (found here: featuring Stephen himself as the man behind the wheel, the man behind one GTO S/N 3987 --ironically a car often more referred to as still being Stephen's, now owned by Ralph Lauren (see

At the article's inception, "GTO in Paradise," it was first discussed on a conference call between the three of us that the idea of nostalgia, concerning the baby-boomer generation in southern California, was to be the backdrop to the, perhaps, incongruous sub/niche culture of the European sports cars that Stephen and his peers enjoyed --outsiders within the greater car culture explosion of the time. Stephen wasn't into "little deuce coupes" or "my 409," et al, heralded by musical acts such as the Beach Boys. Stephen "got around" a bit differently, in a high strung Ferrari V12. Alas, he cruised Van Nuys Boulevard nonetheless, if not an oddity and spectacle of his own (imagine being 19 and driving a Ferrari to school).

As the days elaspsed I got busy with a few clients and had to shelve the "GTO in Paradise" project for a bit, but with pressure mounting began working on a takeoff image, a sort of parody poster graphic of the 1960s film "The Italian Job" which Stephen liked. Replacing the minis of the original, my rework featured 3 prominent cars, the Ferrari Breadvan, Stephen's GTO, and a 250 California that they would take up on Mulholland and drive very "spiritedly." The idea for "The Italian Job --In LA" was to be an inside joke that would have mass appeal.

I did like it but the imagery and work involved to properly create it began to reveal a time constraint issue that I had to honestly face: I wasn't going to be able to do it in time. The deadline was coming up fast, even as I had about 2 weeks to do it. With other things that arose in the interim, I was reminded that time can be quite cruel and unusual when things get chaotic. As such, I began to fall out of love with the image choice, and nearly felt I wasn't going to make it this month as Pete, seeing I was lagging, created his own lead design for the article. This created even more pressure.

So I had to rethink it.

What was going to say what the article needed but much more quickly, with much more focus and meaning?

Well, the above image posted here was the result, a nod to the kitschy pop culture of the 1950s and 60s drive-in movie heyday, succintly placing the reader in a time and place, in a specific mood. And it also acts as the literal marque to our feature article that, tonally, conveys Stephen's sense of personal cinema, his art of living, that comprises much of his life's story. All the world's a movie and we are merely actors.

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