Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 1970's - The Era That Started It All

We were at a local car show, held at Reif Winery, this past weekend. Our first time there, it's a very nice event, with about 350 classic cars, many of them Corvettes. Inevitably, when people see Michael's car artwork (especially in person), they want him to capture cars from other eras in brilliant watercolor! One of the most popular requests is vehicles from the 1950s. It's not that he doesn't like  those cars, Michael has an appreciation for pretty much every collector vehicle, it's a matter of time and influence.

Time is easy enough to explain ... each painting takes Michael literally hundreds of hours. Painting in watercolor allows Michael to play with reflections, subtle gradations and incredibly small details, but the drawback is that it is a time consuming medium. It's "high risk" — with very little room for errors. Each decision has to be made before the brush touches the cold pressed watercolor board he paints on. With a translucent medium, here are no "do-overs", or in other words, no "paint-overs!"

So, although Michael creates these incredible works full time (and then-some, putting in 16 hour days near the end of a painting), due to the length of time each piece takes, he only releases between 3-6 paintings a year. Currently, he is working his way through the "muscle car" era, thus no 50s cars yet!

Which brings us to the reason he started with the 1960s and 70s ... early influences. Everyone seems to have that pinnacle moment when they fell in love with a car, a make, a model. I often ask clients when they were struck by the "Mopar magic", or  hit with the "Chevy arrow" or the "Ford thunderbolt" ... okay, maybe I don't ask in such colourful ways, but you get the idea. Everyone I've spoken to can almost pinpoint that moment in time that impacted them and their choice to become car enthusiasts. For Michael it was a ride in his uncle's Mustang ... I think he was only 5 years old ... he got in and KNEW it was a cool car! Born in 1967, Michael grew up in the 1970s, and that era had the greatest influence on him. He grew up when muscle cars from both the 1960s and 1970s were everyday vehicles.

Michael's paintings are a reflection of the cars, the culture and the decades that brought them to us. While doing some online research for an upcoming piece, Michael came across this cool site, dedicated to bringing back some of the fun toys and games that those growing up in the 1970s might remember — it sure brought back memories for him! He found many toys, especially model cars and trucks, that he himself built back then. Check it out, it's a lot of fun. — Linda