Dreamer of Cars
Some may argue whether my love affair with cars has been a healthy exercise or not. Fellow car “enthusiasts” lovingly call it a sickness. I’ll admit there is a certain element of irrational behavior to it. Cars are fun and cars are evil. I love them and hate them. Every word I just typed is true. I fall into the car guy category of shall we say, “builder.” I’m not one that buys finished cars, but drags home those hulks of iron that are “diamonds in the rough.” I can clearly see them painted and finished, all bright and shiny all while looking through the broken bits of rusty metal and torn interior, (assuming there is an interior which is not always the case). I’m a car dreamer, if you will.
My First Car
My first car was a 1965 Chevelle, Malibu. I purchased it with my high school graduation money, all $300 of it. This was the summer of ‘89. A white, two-door hardtop, she was a beaut, finally a Chevelle of my own! The sellers were nice enough and offered to deliver it across town to my parent’s home. They said the motor ran, but needed some work; that was a lie. It had a Turbo-350 automatic transmission and a 10 bolt rear. I couldn’t wait to get started on it. I should also mention I knew nothing about cars, had never really worked on one and didn’t have anyone to help me. Yes, the life of a budding car guy isn’t always an easy one.
Cars or Art?
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t sure which road to head down, pursue cars or art. I was heavily into both and although I wanted to be an illustrator, my skills weren’t where they needed to be to get a job. I tried the traditional print program in college and it was killing me. So, I switched over to the auto body and paint program and pulled straight A’s. The teachers were great and life was good, I finished up the program and then starting working at a local body shop. That’s when reality hit me, you have to work your way up to a body man or painter and that would take years. I was the kid just outta school and I learned quickly that if you wanted to make any real money, you better own the shop.
After working for a couple of different shops I became frustrated. Not being able to do what I was trained for was getting me nowhere fast. During this time I had also met the girl of my dreams. Don’t you know that will change the direction of your life? I ended up going back to school with her encouragement. She convinced me to try out a class called, Introduction to Computer Graphics and Animation. This was in the summer of 1994.
The next two years I focused on school and building cars. The first year after meeting that amazing girl I owned ten cars. Two 1967 Chevelles, one of them an SS396, a 1966 Dodge Coronet big block car, a 1957 Chevy, two-door hard top and others. Buy-sell-trade repeat. It happens pretty fast. Some call it an addiction, I call it A-DAD, Attention Deficit Automotive Disorder.
I received a Minolta X-700 35mm film camera from my parents for High School graduation. Since that time my love for photography has grown. Capturing moments of time to share is an incredible gift. I had been playing with slide film for a little while when I heard about a little car show about an hour from my house called Billetproof, this was fall 2002. I talked my brother into going and taking my dad’s ‘64 Chevy C-10 truck to show. This gave me the opportunity to shoot a lot of film, even some out of a vintage 60’s Yashica 635 medium format camera.
Billetproof was you could call a flashpoint. I saw cars I’d never seen before. These were a far cry from the muscle cars I had been building and I was intrigued. The home built cars, the culture, the dirt from the show held at a rodeo grounds; it was a cocktail of creativity. Not long after the show, the idea to combine photography, graphic design and cars was born. What a perfect blend of who I was, the idea of Speed & Chrome was born. To be continued…