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Meet Jimmy Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jimmy Smith.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was doomed……born into a family of GEAR-HEAD hot rodders and artsy types. My Dad was into sports cars and experimental aircraft while my Uncle Mark was a regular at the local dragstrips as well as partaking in some quality, late night country road dueling.

Early on, somebody stuck a pencil in my hand and a car was the first thing I drew. I continued to draw as many things as possible through my public-school years, and later I went on to receive a bit of formal art instruction. However, I always ended up drawing some form of hot rod or custom. I was always encouraged and drew great inspiration from my family and friends who all share some form of artistic ability. Inspiration is where you find it, and in my case, it was from many, many sources. 60’s pop culture certainly molded and possibly distorted my outlook on things. I mean watching Gilligan’s Island and the Munster’s all those years will definitely have a profound effect on one’s psyche (not to mention all that model glue)!.

You won’t find complex literary works in my library. What you will find, of course, are issue after issue of most of the car mags from the last 50 or so years. Along with the requisite hot rod pulp, you’ll find stuff about southwestern history along with architectural design and art books. Oh yeah, music too… a pretty eclectic assortment!
I’m amazed and really thankful that I get to do what I do. Sometimes deadlines can be tight, but at the end of the day, it comes down to me taking responsibility for my actions. Being my own boss is a dream that I’ve had for years while I served in the print and sign industry. The people I used to read about, I am now meeting, most of whom I consider good friends. I’ve found this segment of the automotive art world is full of great people who are always there with advice or just some good conversation. Every day brings new opportunities for friendships and great hot rod projects! Today, you’ll find me working on many ongoing art projects or old bicycles or any number of internally combusted projects in the garage.

Please tell us about your art.
Today, there are quite a few artists working in the hot rod field. More than ever before. My niché, easily, is my take on what a hot rod or custom car should be. I don’t seek wide approval or mass appeal, I don’t chase trends… my day is made when peers and/or folks I look up to acknowledge my work. The best way you could describe my work is, devising new ways to build a traditional hot rod. Traditional style, traditional media. I spin it a bit, and that’s where the challenge is. Keeping the style traditional and yet try to be fresh at the same time. If a hot rod type looks at my art and gets a feeling of something mean, low down and nasty while simultaneously a warm and fuzzy familiarity, I’ve done my job. When I do an illustration for one of the builders in this industry, I want them to take a look at it and get in the shop to commence cutting stuff up! Fire up that welder!

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Pace yourself. Burnout is easy when you’re young and hungry. Keep an open mind and eye, look at all of the art that you can, you’ll naturally develop some favorites. Go to the kind of events that cater to whatever floats your boat. Traveling is expensive and costly, so choose your activities wisely, but try to immerse yourself in the industry. Make contacts on social media, just be respectful and keep honing your skills, ask questions!!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
These days you can find my work on Facebook (galleriadesmeeth) and Instagram (#jimmyshotroddesign). Most of my work is done for car owners and builders. Everything from design and full of illustrations to company identity, logos, t-shirt art, etc.
EMAIL… jimmy@jimmyshotroddesign.com

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jimmy Smith Charles Greenman.

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