PASSIONATE ABOUT PAINTING by Cameron Gordon

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.

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