My passion for paintings of classic cars began when I was growing up in my family home on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
Like most kids living near the beach I loved surfing and running around with my friends, building tree houses and riding our bikes in the streets. But my sanctuary was my shed in the backyard. In there I would escape from everyone and create and paint in my own world, I even wired up an intercom to the house in case my mum needed me for dinner.
The shed was set up as an art studio, and I loved it, and having everything at hand to spend hours painting and experimenting with different techniques and paints.
I was 13 and it was the seventies and I was obsessed with the airbrush art on the side of panel vans, custom cars and of coarse surfboards. I begged my parents to buy me an airbrush and compressor so I could learn all the techniques that airbrushing demanded and spent hours creating my first works of art in the shed. This was really the beginning of my passion for creating that soon led to experimenting with different mediums at school such as printmaking and sculpture, and later completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts Degree at University majoring in printmaking and drawing.
My passion for cars, particularly classic cars came from my father, he was a flight engineer with Qantas and very practically minded, the type of guy that would fix everything around the home from the mix master in the kitchen to dropping the gearbox out of the family car in the garage to try and fix a noise. He even restored a ’65 Triumph Spitfire Mk2 with my older brother in the garage and painted it in the backyard. I remember after he would return from his many trips to America, that he would talk about the cars he had seen there and dreamed of one day owning a Ford Mustang -‐ he never did, but funnily enough my brother and I have both owned a ’66 and ’67 Mustang for the past 20 years here in Australia and my father now lives in America and drives a Toyota.
My first car was a ’74 VW Kombi it was red and an ex PMG van with no windows, it didn’t take long before I started painting on the van with my airbrush, or as I saw it, customising the van with a huge mural of Disney’s fantasia down both sides, a funny choice of subject I admit but people loved it.
My second and third cars were Mercedes Benz, a ’66 220S and ’67 230S; these cars were fantastic, classic affordable luxury with ‘Fins’. I loved the curves and styling of this model, lots of chrome, classic front grill with the iconic hood ornament, and beautiful styling in the body ending in a classic front grill with the iconic hood ornament, and beautiful styling in the body ending in a classic German interpretation of the famous American fins at the back. I owned these cars for over 15 years and this really cemented my passion and appreciation for classic car styling and the beauty then had.
My current car is a ’66 Ford Mustang, as I mentioned earlier, I have owned it for 20 years, this was a car that I ‘had’ to have one day, like my father had wanted all
those years ago. The ’66 is the classic body styling that started the whole muscle car design shape for many years to come, it has a style that makes people smile, with its pure simplicity and stance that makes it look like its hooning down the highway even when its standing still. This I realised was the exact feeling I wanted to capture in my art – that feeling of industrial beauty and movement.
After years of pursuing a career to pay my bills, I finally found time to become serious about my art, choosing my subject was easy and my medium of paint even easier, but this time not applied by airbrush but just the brush and my favourite choice of household paint. I love using gloss acrylic house paint because it has a free flowing quality that I can allow it to run or drip to give that feeling of movement that I wanted to capture and is easy buy in bulk so I didn’t feel restricted with the size or amount of paintings I could working on. Vibrant colour was also an important element for me, inspired from working with printmaking and its use in the Pop art movement that was flourishing at the same time as the 60’s muscle car industry.
After researching for ideas I also discovered that many car advertisements from this era often combined these elements of art and pop culture to create the excitement of new car designs and to appeal to a younger market.
My art now reflects all these passions combined.
The creative process leading up to starting a painting involves researching cars and design in magazines and on line, more often taking my own photographs of classic cars I see in the streets or at car shows to get that perfect angle or detail, choosing the right image and aspect is an integral part of my subject matter. Often I chose to only focus the subject on only details or sections of cars looking for those hidden gems of design that can get lost in the overall view. I have developed a painting process that reflects both, screen printed posters with the simplified layering of colour and shapes, and old porcelain roadside advertising signs that had an ever lasting gloss of Pop quality, this as a viewer allows you to enjoy the lines and detail without the distraction of background. The method for applying paint to the canvas or often plywood has to be as exciting and colourful as the subject itself, I prefer to work large, 1200mm square for example is great. This allows me to be able move my arms and apply paint at the speed of life, the drips and splashes and often imperfections are purposeful, highlighting the chrome and gloss paint reflections of the surrounding light and background, absorbing the background into the subject.
I now exhibit my paintings several times a year and thoroughly enjoy talking to people at openings who always have stories about cars they have owned or wanted to own and never quite got around to it. Creating art that people enjoy viewing and I enjoy doing makes up a large part of my happiness and I will always pursue challenging my ideas and particularly processes for making art.
You can follow Cameron on: https://www.instagram.com/cameron.roadtrip