From Client to Family: The Vintage Wagens VW T-shirt Story

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. -Richard Bach

Pretty sappy for an art cat but in this case it couldn’t be more accurate.  Sometimes a job comes around that changes your entire path and leads to a connection that is life changing in both spirit and action.  That’s me and my man Vince Powers of Vintage Wagens in a nutshell.

t-shirt art, car art
4 car t-shirt art for Vintage Wagens

So…I’m chillin at home one day, picking my nose and feeling stale about art in general.  It happens.  Growth in art can be slow and sometimes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and just not getting anywhere. I was having one of those years and then I get an email from this cat near Atlanta.

He made mention of knowing my work in videos from like 10 years ago and he said he wanted to talk about doing a project for him.  I get on the phone with this dude and instantly there’s a bond.  It was weird.  Like we have been friends forever.  Like military friends, ya know?  Turns out Vince restores cars in the Atlanta area.  He was looking at his favorite shirt which happens to be a gig I did and he saw my name.  That prompted the email.

What followed was nothing short of phenomenal.  This cat is so cool I struggle to find the words to describe him.  Just know that after hours and hours of conversations that go waaaaaaaay beyond just art, and getting a chance to meet, eat and hang out at a VW event in Florida, Vince is family to me.  This cat lifted me from a deep down bad place and ignited a whole new flame.  His tagline line is “Next Level Restorations.”  It was through him that I was able to take my art as well as myself to the “Next Level”.  I am honored to have V in my world.

Now…let’s look at the art!

 

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Vince is an excellent car builder.  He sent me pics of the 4 vehicles he wanted on this t-shirt design, and I was blown away!  The quality of the restos is as good as I have seen in the hobby, plus he has a flair to his builds…a little attitude if you will.

I roughed out some layouts and then set about rendering the cars.

 

Giselle

vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art

First up was the Ghia.  Super slick car with the hardest color ever to match and a grafted in ragtop.  Vince was insistent I push myself.  It was nice to get after a piece and just let go.  I wanted to bring more environment into the piece so I took my shading to a new place.  Recognizing the surroundings and representing them in a styilized way was a fun change of pace.  The color is very rich and deep so it was fun to try to translate that.  Even the wheels are different for me.  Little subtle changes that make a huge difference.  Fun one.

Penelope

vw art tshirt vw art t-shirt vw art t-shirt vw art t-shirt

Penelope is the car Vince’s wife Joy drives.  Now…Joy is a top notch photographer who shoots many of the large car shows in the US.  Her eye is fantastic!  She is also the editor of VolksAmerica Magazine and she’s super cool.  You can see her work on her site Truly Vintage Photography.  Outstanding!

Penelope was really fun to draw.  The trike and stuff on the roof was a whole next level challenge but it landed pretty nice.  I followed clues from the Giselle drawing and just had fun.  I was getting into music that is in the vein of JJ Fad’s “Supersonic”…folks like “Fannypack”  and “Princess Superstar”.  This was a really fun render.  Cool car.

Lola

vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art

Not only did I get to draw this camper bus, I got to see it in person!  Vince and family drove 9 hours in it to come to a VW event in Florida that I was the guest artist at.  It’s my first top up semi-real bus render.  It was nice to take the time to address a few fears and overcome them in the process.  Note:  I’m talking about art stuff, not clowns….I’ll never overcome the clown fear.  🙂

Candy Cane

vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art vw t-shirt art

The Candy Cane was pretty easy for me.  It looks just like my bug so I saved it for last.  Once again taking cues from Giselle and trying to keep in mine the fact that this would be on vw t-shirts and posters and signs and cards and…..  The shapes and environment really came out ok, so I was really happy with this particular piece.  Vince was too so it’s all good.  🙂

The Final

vw t-shirt art

t-shirt art, car art
4 car t-shirt art for Vintage Wagens

I built the layout and just moved things into place.  The scenes are relevant to the area and the “Quality Ain’t Cheap Kid” is a Vince mantra. At the end of the day I was pretty pleased with where this ended up.  The art was fun, but gaining a brother in the process sets this job apart from any other.  I’m not looking back anymore…I’m going to the next level.

Vince….Thank you for everything man.  You know that’s real.

-lem


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