Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspiring Car Art

As an automotive artist, one of the questions Michael gets asked most often is, "What motivates or inspires you in your car art?" There is no one answer. Sometimes it's being at the right place at the right time. Or at the right car show at the right time, as was the case for the painting, "From Showroom to Showfield" (shown above).

It was back in 1997 (I can't believe it's been 12 years!). We were attending the All-Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Not only an amazing swap meet for anyone looking to restore a car, but also a pretty good car show. Over the years we've seen incredible collections of Cougars, Fairlanes, Torinos, Galaxies, Thunderbirds, to name a few. And of course, Mustangs.

In 1997, however, Michael noticed that more and more new cars were showing up on the field. Literally, it seemed, driving (or being trailered) from the Ford showroom or car lot, right to the showfield. New classes were created and these cars became instant classics. This inspired Michael to paint, "From Showroom to Showfield" - paying tribute to the Mystic and Saleen Mustangs, with a nod and a glimpse at the other classics in the reflections of these incredible cars.

"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people." - Lee Iacocca

Recently, something else has helped to influence Michael - let's call it collective enthusiasm! Michael is known internationally for his paintings of "modern muscle" with paintings like, "New to the Chase", "The Chase Lives On" and "Shakin' Up the Street", so a Marauder painting was on the list of future projects. But it is David Popovich and the Motor City Marauders that are making it really happen. A group of owners/ enthusiasts, they have gotten together to commission Michael to create one of his high impact color, stunning watercolor paintings, this time featuring the powerful Mercury Marauder.

As a special thanks to this great group, Michael has decided to release a reproduction of the original sketch to those collectors that preorder "Marauders of Woodward" before May 17th, 2009. This is a one time, free offer - additional sketches will NOT be available. This is also the first time, ever, that Michael has released a pencil sketch, making this even more special, unique and collectible. Plus, all prints ordered before June 30th, 2009 will be co-signed by Steve Babcock, "The Father of the Marauder", Mercury Marauder Production Manager!

As part of the deal with the Motor City Marauders, for Michael to start painting, 100 orders need to be prepaid. The sooner that goal is reached, the sooner he'll start and the sooner the prints and sketches will be released. Now that's motivational! - Linda

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Immortalizing Collector Cars

Why is the 1968 Shelby GT 500 ("Kings of the Road" shown above) so collectible, while, say the 1976 Chevrolet Chevette is not. Okay, admittedly, that's an extreme example and the reasons are beyond obvious, but my point is, what makes one car soar in collectibility and value in the eyes of collectors and enthusiasts, while others are seemingly passed over? And what, if anything, can change a car's status?

Of course there are several factors that contribute to the popularity of an automobile; production numbers, horsepower, performance, aesthetics ... the list goes on. Once a car is immortalized, in movies, television shows, die cast replicas and art, however, it's status and value as a true collector car increases. I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that didn't have a Ford Mustang in it. Or a Chevy Corvette. Or a Dodge Charger. Arguably, these are some of the most iconic and highly valued classics on the market today.

That brings me to the Mercury Marauder - specifically the 2003-2004 limited production models, designed by Steve Babcock. Many owners of this car are die hard enthusiasts. Many started with the Ford Mustang, and have since moved to the roomier Marauder. It may appear to some to be a luxury sedan, but make no mistake, like many "sleepers," this is a powerful muscle car!

So far, these cars are revered by the people that own them, but have not yet reached the collector values that some of their counterparts have. But that may be about to change. Working with the Motor City Marauders, Michael has started on a painting, entitled "Marauders of Woodward." It features all four colors of Mercury's sinister 300 hp 4.6 V8, racing down the famous Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan during the annual Dreamcruise. With plans to have it completed this summer, fans of the Marauder are in for a treat. This is the first time the car has been immortalized in this way.

Dave Popovich of the Motor City Marauders, having been a long time fan and owner of some of Michael's work, including "Shakin' Up The Street," (shown above) was instrumental in making this happen. It's his devotion to the car, the website, forum and its members, that helped inspire Michael. As always, Michael strives to be as technically accurate as possible, so a big thanks to Steve Babcock for his help in that area.

Limited Edition Prints, Artist Proofs with Remarque and Gallery Editon Canvases of "Marauders of Woodward" are slated to be released by fall 2009. I'll keep you posted. - Linda