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Gene Chambers – Automotive Art
A classic car, the romance of days gone by, and the scent of fresh paint on a well-worn brush – that’s the essence of life.
I was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah, the very center of the automotive universe. Not really, but maybe being so close to the Bonneville Salt Flats is what put the allure of the hot-rod life in my soul.
The power and grace you see in my artwork is reflective of the custom car culture of the 50s and 60s. Have you seen American Graffiti? Yeah, me too. Hot Rods are my passion, but the graphic arts are my craft. It all came together when I was a young boy. I used magic markers to draw wild creatures and cars on t-shirts, and I built hundreds of model cars. My biggest inspiration was Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. He was one of my first mentors, and many of the shirts and models I put together were based on Ed’s creations.
I carry that inspiration with me to this day, and I’m proud to be a licensed “Official Rat Fink Artist.”
A quiet day creating a customized pinstripe illustration is what I call heaven. Years of using oil-based sign enamel is what has helped me develop my unique style. I can see joy in the junk, especially if its car junk. That old rusty oil can, a well-worn toolbox, or a door panel from a 1932 Ford – there is magic in that metal!
I honed my skills by starting out as a billboard painter for a small sign company while studying graphic design in college. Funny thing about painting billboards – it gives you the honor of seeing the world larger than life. That first job led me to a gig as a designer and painter at the Lagoon Amusement Park (the Beach Boys performed there once, so did the Rolling Stones…now I’m just name-dropping). Eventually I had to get a real job, so I moved on to become Art Director for Reagan Outdoor Advertising. I created an in-house art department that designed many of billboards you all remember from your childhood – or – young adulthood. I won numerous Addy Awards and I think some of them are still hanging around my garage. For the past 20+ years, I have been with Vision Graphics, helping them be recognized as one of the world’s leading producers of large format graphics. We’ve done graphics for events large and small, from festivals to sporting events (ever hear of the SUPER BOWL? Winter Olympics maybe?). That ability to see larger than life – yep, I still got it.
If you need proof, my artwork has been in several publications: “Pinstriping and Kustom Graphics Magazine”, “The Rolling Bones Book of GOW” and my work is currently hanging in the Saratoga Automotive Museum (Saratoga, NY) “Rolling Bones Exhibition on GOW (Gas Oil & Water).