Thursday, November 09, 2006



This one, like the previous, was done with ballpoint pen. Try to zoom in, if you can, and check out the details. Bolts, valves, rocker arms; they are all in there. This is what is truly fun. Sure, it's very "Roth-like" with smoking tires, and a crazed, gearshifting pilot, and it's true, Mr. Roth influenced many generations, so we shouldn't become plagiarist, but I have incorporated a little of my own style into it. It really is fun to draw "rat-fink" style art. There is something unencumbered about it. It's relaxing, and without rules; just big tires, smoke, and a gearshift. Everything else is up to the artist. It's like Big Daddy gave us a "template" on how to effectively draw hotrods. No, it's like he gave us a template on how to illustrate the attitude of hotrodding. This is what made him so influential in the hotrod art world.
Back in the fifties, there was a feeling going around; an attitude; a kind of "underground kulture" was forming that encompassed cars, kids, and the need for freedom. Freedom from their parents, freedom from the restraints of an "obey the rules or else" society, and freedom from, of course, the speed limit. Artists tried, but nobody really ever found a way of tapping into this new way of thinking, until the gods of petrol gave the world Ed Roth. His art didn't just tell the world what these greased-up throttle jockeys were feeling, his art drove it down society's throat. With smoking tires, screaming engines, and a crazy, bug-eyed rodent named Ratfink, this new artistic style hit the hot rod scene in a way that no other artist will ever be able to duplicate.
This is not because he was the best illustrator, or the best painter. In fact, his work wasn't as technical, or as precise as some of his peers like George Trosley, who is a great artists, still pumping them out today. But he's not Big Daddy. So What made an above average artist so great? Well first, we, as artists, need to realize what art truly is. Art is nothing more, and hopefully nothing less, than a tangible display of something that is experienced in a non tangible way. "Whaaaaa?" Art is the expression of emotion. That's it. You see, artist aren't just paintbrush technicians, or pencil actuators. They are communicators. Their job is to communicate their emotions through their art. This is where most of us drop the ball. We focus so intently on being technically correct; "The windshield should look just like this", or "The guys hand is way too large", or "shiny paint needs to reflect just so", that we forget all about the emotions we should be trying to convey. This however, was not Mr. Roth's problem. His art was simple, but effective. Most of his stuff, was nothing more than a rat driving a car, but it was portrayed in such a way, that you ( the viewer) could feel the roar of the engine, you could smell the smoke bellowing off the rear tires, and if you looked at it long enough, you just had to get into your Dad's 58 Pontiac, and burn rubber all the way to A&W. Ed Roth's art encapsulated the attitude, and emotion of a generation. That is why his work was so great. And that is why no one will ever be able to surpass the impact his art has made on the automotive industry, and culture.

3 Comments:

Anonymous ms p jones said...

that is GOOD and so unique

9:28 PM  
Anonymous The Wife said...

I agree that art is about emotion, and I appreciate your description of what art means to you. May I say that writing is also about emotion, and you're excellent at that as well! I thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts about art, as well as seeing the art you produce. Keep it up!

8:03 AM  
Blogger johnnymac said...

Thanks ms p, and thank you to the wife as well. I will keep writing, and drawing. I do appreciate your comments, and the fact that you read my blog. Hopefully, this forum will be more than just personal ramblings of one semi demented artist. Hopefully, it can be entertaining as well. Any topics you would like addressed, just type the word. I'm full of opinions.
Thanks

11:37 AM  

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