Solo Act

What with that Kardashian showing her butt and drawing more attention to herself recently (AGAIN), I got to thinking about how to make myself famous (AGAIN). And it hit me that the simplest solution is often the best, so I thought that if I borrowed from her, um, “career path”, that a sex tape is the way to go.

Being a loyal husband to a very intelligent and classy lady whom I love dearly, I realize that the whole “getting her involved idea” is bound to fall on its face, so, with a little creativity, and working from sage advice I received early on in life (“DO NOT make a sex tape!” …no, not that advice; it was “Always start with the things that interest you the most.”), I believe I’ve found a way to make this happen, AND still have a personal life that doesn’t make me cry all night long in a bathtub while in exile and living with rats in a hell of my own creation.

Being a lover of music, I didn’t need to look much further for that spark, that “it” moment. Growing up, the band Rush held a particular place in the “fascination” part of my brain (it’s next to the “Hot Wheels Lobe”), namely the percussion skills of Neil Peart. This may be a stretch, but I submit the following for your consideration:

The Brian Stupski Solo Tape.

Think “YYZ drum solo”, but all, well, hands-on-ish. Shot in one continuous take (and utilizing that “bullet time” camera effect from “The Matrix” — we’re going to need a LOT of GoPro cameras set to “burst”), it’ll be a fury of rhythm and finesse, and filmed at times in silhouette behind a sheet, all noir film-style. And, as a nod to the inspiration, I’ll incorporate a xylophone.

Knowing me, it’ll be short enough to post on Vine, allowing for viral sharing. However (there’s always a caveat, my friends), as a solo act, the DVD release will have a tremendous commentary track, but lack a gag reel (viewers will do enough gagging, I’d imagine). It’s almost too easy.

Putting the Cart Before the Art

Yesterday, I had a conversation (OK, a conversation in the digital sense, but words and ideas were conveyed, making it a conversation in the modern sense) with a friend, and, though we were discussing drawing and designing cars for fun and no profit, we hit upon the business side. As we dove deeper into the differences between illustrating and designing, the elephant in the room reared its head, and brought up the classic issue of dealing with monotony and having to educate a client or two along the way. And then he (my pal, not the elephant… I’m sure that the elephant is a she, as it never laughs at farts) did the unthinkable:

He asked a question. If you know me, then, well… you know better than to set the synapses a-firing. He posed the question that has gotten so many into trouble over the years; “What small business doesn’t have to deal with a customer base that doesn’t understand the craft, and always beats you up on price?”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what inspired me to create a whole new niche.

For your consideration: The hot dog cart.

When you approach, you know the price. You may not know what goes into said food product, but you know that you like it. Much like art: Can you make a hot dog? Further: Can you make an EDIBLE, visually pleasing hot dog? …much less in the time frame that you want it?  Chances are that you can’t. So you pay the price listed, no haggling, no bartering, no getting five other quotes from other vendors, and then going back to the cart where you found the hot dog you wanted, and telling the proprietor that a cart over on 52nd has them $1 cheaper. You purchase the dog, perhaps you throw a suggestion or two in there (“Mmmm sauerkraut sounds good!”), you eat it. End of transaction.

The porn industry, I’d imagine, is very similar, but lacking the customization in many cases (I’m talking broadcast/pre-recorded… I understand that there are outlets online where they’ll tailor a performance, but for our purposes, that’s like seeking a Picasso that matches your couch, not having your Gremlin drawn — which is a funny innuendo all it’s own, but I digress). You see the video, you delight in the creative title (“Sorority Sisters 85″, “Boobnado” or “The Fucked and the Furious 69″), and think “Yeah, she looks pretty hot”, and BAM! You clean up… I mean “purchase said video”. You don’t quarrel that the lady on the cover should be a brunette or redhead, or haggle for a cheaper price, simply because the prop used wasn’t big enough or this or that color… No, you pay the price, and head back to your parent’s basement and get your creep on. No hassle… you enjoy the movie for the, uh, “art” that it is.

That said, I’m going to hit Shark Tank with my revolutionary idea:

I’m taking my craft on the road. Working from a re-purposed hot dog cart, I’ll sell my art on pre-packaged DVD’s, featuring titles like “Sixty-Nine Camaro 25″, “Brothel Belvedere”, “Salt Flats Slut”, and so-on. Pre-made designs, renderings and illustrations with no hassle. The price is the price. You have a thing for another gray pro-touring Camaro on Forgelines? We’ll have you covered. You like it weird? We’ll have a slammed, patina school bus that’s part Donk, part resto-mod, and all triple-turbocharged with lowrider paint. A little something for everyone.

Should you want a more “customized”, “intimate” experience, well, that’s what the website is for (“Private Drawing Sessions With Brian and His Big Pencil”). And, should this be a hit, the part that I’m most excited about is hearing on the news how the “Adult custom automotive art industry is seeing record numbers, but there’s a dark side: Many are addicted to buying renderings and prints.”

Six Tips When Attending Trade Shows You Don’t Belong At

Oh, SEMA, you bring out the best in me.

Today’s topic: A Half-Dozen Helpful Tips on Fitting in Where You Obviously Don’t Belong — This Means YOU, Guy Who Either Mooched a Pass or Works Somewhere on the Very Fringe of the Industry (ATTN: Guy Who Supplies Thumb Tacks to the Local Auto Parts Store)

1. Don’t grab every pen, Post-It pad, sticker, magnet, ruler, sippy cup, catalog, magazine, DVD, keychain, light-up mascara case, sunglasses clip, lanyard, really tiny pouch to hold, well, really tiny things that you grab at other booths, or extra bags as you stroll by every booth… much less HANDFULLS of them. This tells me that you’re either a complete douchebag, or that you are a hoarder, and yes, probably also a douchebag.

2. Speaking of extra bags, that giant-size tote you’re hauling (with 1/3 of your giant mass listing to starboard to compensate) makes it easier to spot you from afar when I’m looking for outsiders to walk in front of as they take a photo with their flip-phone at mid-stride. There is no fine line between grabbing a few things and EVERY GOD DAMN THING YOU COME UPON. Rather, it’s a giant, conscious leap to make, and your chances of sticking that landing are as good as, well, the next item on our list…

3. No, Skippy, Miss Valve Stem 2014 wasn’t really into you, or super-excited to have another photo shot with you. While you may think that the previous 400 lard-ass, hangers-on waiting an hour to meet her and get that poster were but a warm-up to your brilliant entrance, lugging 3 metric tons of promotional materials and bashing that load into her leg, you can rest assured that all she’s thinking is “only four more hours today, and but three more days until I can cash that check! And why does this guy smell like stress balls and catalog paper, mixed with onions and Axe spray?”
While the people who actually BELONG AT THE SHOW and are WORKING are trying to squeeze past you and the 400 others just like you to get to a meeting, just know that you SHOULD take it personally when I mutter “get the fuck out of my way” to you. That week isn’t play time. It’s feed my family time. Stay home, and look at pictures of booth girls on your favorite forum between taking jabs at cars you’ll never have the skill to build, you pile of shit.

4. Stopping, mid-stride in a busy aisle to text your bros isn’t the wisest idea. I forces me to pretend that I didn’t see you when I plow into you, and then pretend that I’m sorry. That saps energy I was saving for when I have to attempt to control every fiber of my being from punching you in the throat when you finally end your phone call to your bros at home about how hot Miss Fender Washer is, and how she signed your poster “CALL ME, LOL!”, and step out of that stall after 20 minutes of hearing “No, bro, it gets better!”, and look at the line of 35 angry colons waiting to explode.

5. If nothing else, DO NOT use someone else’s pass, or try to slip in with last year’s, or some doctored pass or otherwise. What are you, like five years old? And no, I don’t believe that the Asian guy’s real name was Jesus Angelino Martinez de Venuza. I’m not buying it.

6. For the love of all that is holy, DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Nothing makes you look more out of place than the stained t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Honestly. If you can’t respect my industry, at the very least respect yourself. It’s a PROFESSIONAL TRADE EVENT. Not the fucking Piggly Wiggly on Thursday night, you trash.

Innovation 2015

Hot off the heels of an exciting SEMA Show, we’re proud to announce…

INNOVATION 2015!

What is it? It’s a whole new way to get our pricing into the hands of people who can’t afford quality design work… based upon what we’ve heard that we charge. (and I have to say a big THANKS to those who have been assuming the price levels here, and spreading their own figures for what we do. Using YOUR numbers, we’re gonna be RICH!) We’ll be placing our full pricing options into three awesome and very forward-thinking mediums, thus eliminating any doubt as to what you get:

1. Online. A simple pricing table. We’ll be moving some decimal places to keep current with what we heard that we charge, but that’s OK. Our simple chart will spell it out cleanly. We call this method “Take a Look at Brian’s Package”.

2. Download and print the above as a handy PDF. We call this “Handling Brian’s Package”.

3. For those of you looking for more interaction, we’ll be mailing out pricing in the form of lottery scratchers, as they’ve been deemed the most comfortable and familiar for the broke-ass, white trash folk looking for free work. Will it be free? Will it cost you the suggested rate as heard last week from folks who just, well, assumed? Who knows? It’s all up to you, and how you choose to “Rub Brian’s Package”.

Genius, I know. Look for the app soon, as well.

FREEMA… I mean SEMA

Some helpful hints and tips for making the most of your “Give Me Free Shit for My Project” SEMA Trip:

1. Be “in” the industry. It helps to have some sort of an established presence. I mean beyond the whole “I have a cool car/truck/bicycle”, or the “I bought so-and-so’s cool car/truck/bicycle”. Have a shop. Perhaps some sort of ACTUAL clout, outside of your five good-time buds.

2. Don’t drop names of people who have no clue that you’re using their name. It’ll make for some good times when the rep you spoke to speaks with me following the show; probably some awkward ones for you moving forward.

3. If you’re going to use your connection with an artist or designer to further your agenda, it helps to utilize a rendering drawn BY that artist for the “project” you’re dreaming up as you go along. See “awkward” above in tip #2.

4. SEMA isn’t your personal fucking gift box. It’s a trade show. The professionals are there to network, and plot and plan the coming year. Your dumb ass just makes it feel a lot longer than the week needs to.

5. Stop bugging the designers for free renderings with promises of “getting some coverage”. Chances are, if the designer is at SEMA, they certainly don’t need you.

6. Yes, we pro’s notice that the name on your badge doesn’t fit with your face… and we can sure as fuck bet that you don’t belong. Your loud-mouthed horseplay on the show floor gave it away early on.

7. I’m not your “boy”. I built this business myself (as did all of the working artists and designers), purely on the reputation of good work, and I’ve been blessed to make the connections I have. I work my ass off for them. If you’d like to think that you’re any part of this, cut a check, and I’ll consider making you a partner.

8. Nobody, and I repeat NOBODY owes you shit based upon promises. In this business, it’s all about what you’ve done before the current project. Nobody cares about what you haven’t done yet. If anyone tells you differently, they’re just as full of shit as you are, and you should hook up, and spend your days hoping and dreaming. We’ll look for it next year in the same “proposal” you’re pushing in peoples’ faces.

I promise that we’ll be less negative next time. Maybe.

Visionary Choreography

With only about four years remaining until the next Winter Olympics, I thought it best to get working on getting qualified. Oh, not as an athlete. There seems to be a lot of those, and that means having to compete in a very tough field. If you’re going to be a stand-out, head for the area with more empty seats, I always say.

I’m throwing my hat (as soon as I find the right one for my sort of oblong, strangely misshapen,  yet endearingly goofy head) into the rink (yes, “rink”) as a Figure Skating Choreographer. I mean, I like music, sure. I like seeing people flail around to it. And when you strap some skates on those bastards, you have my attention. Yet, it just all seems so, well, limiting. I can’t have that. Thus, like all great enterprises, I’m going at this with some passion, and with an effort to be disruptive in a stagnant environment, and hoping to have my contribution to a sport memorialized in a car commercial set to a shitty song. That said, ask yourself:

What makes figure skating, for lack of a better word, “boring”?
The answer, my friend, is that the skaters perform to oddly-chosen musical pieces. OK, that, and the fact that the triple sow cow does not involve a rabid bull chasing anyone around the rink.

Ponder the genius that will crown me the Visionary Figure Skating Choreographer:
Themed story-telling. Essentially, it’s Ice Capades, but with medals, and more foreign people.

First round, you open the tale. Each additional round, you complete said tale. Imagine… That giant Simon Shnapir and his partner Marissa Castelli performing “Jack and the Beanstalk” or even “King Kong”. We set the tale, incorporating fresh moves, such as the “pick up the magic beans”, which we can alter for use in the latter idea as the “Oops, I Dropped the Map to Skull Island”, or even the “Here, Allow Me to Fetch the Camera You Dropped While Being Eaten by Giant Bugs”… or perhaps the “Hiding From the Giant”, which would bring props into the equation, moving into an act in which the tempo builds, and, via a series of lifts and tosses, our characters bring the monkey back to the mainland (or, should you be more partial to that beanstalk idea, it’s a lot of hiding and throwing). In the final round, he plays the Empire State Building, as she ascends him, and swats at his Lady Gaga-designed airplane headwear… (sadly, it would take too long to describe my idea for the Battlestar Galactica motif… or my Collage O’David Cronenberg. My “Scanners” homage would lead to huge sales of lingonberries and Clorox, I’d have to imagine. It’s mostly visual.)

Not enough? Then try Triples Skating. Ponder THAT. “Up next, the French team, and their tribute to the Three Stooges. This routine has an added difficulty level of 11.7, as it involves a hammer to the forehead.”

All I need now is a funky accent to lend credibility.

And that hat.

Zen and the Art of Desk Shopping

danish for you

While I mainly go to IKEA for the umlauts and other groovy punctuation, it’s those… how shall we say it? “Other People” that ruin the continental flair and experience.

For your consideration: I find myself in need of a new desk (don’t ask… that story, my friend, will be in the book), and, being on a budget (read as “I draw shit for a living and seriously re-live my vocational missteps every hour on the hour”), well, Scandanavian press board and clinical depression are my decorating themes. Some dudes build cool cars and wear $400 shades. I cry a lot and build my furniture with really small Allen wrenches. But that’s not the (whole) point here. Anyway, fitting some European Shopping Extravaganza into the day requires some planning. Ours went like this:

“Mmm… that was good dinner. Hey, you know that lean-to that I call a desk? The crunching noises from within have grown louder, and my monitor is showing a serious starboard list. I’m about out of room to prop more mailing tubes and boxes under it. I fear for my life, if not my legs.”

“Let’s get you a new desk. By selling your body last weekend, we have almost enough gas money to get there and 2/3 of the way home. Do it three more times, and we can get blueberry waffles next time.”

Off we head, post meal-time to IKEA, getting there about an hour before closing. Enough time to round up the 89 separate, but flat-packed boxes that make up the desk top and leg-like fixtures (no, we didn’t opt for the “In This Combination” serving suggestion, as we don’t have anything nice enough to display on some fancy “shelf”). We’re headed to the check-out in record time. Mind you, I’m enjoying the shit out of the near-empty store, and still managing to get caught behind the slowest walking human being on the planet. It did give me time to check out a lamp that looked eerily like my Grandma’s bathrobe, though.

We arrive at the checkout, and I quickly move to the register with only one customer, completing her purchase. Score!

“Not so fast!!” booms the universe. “…and don’t bother to bend over or remove your pants. I’ll just have my way with you as you are.” The universe and I have a sort of thing like that. I exist, it treats me like its bitch.

For whatever reason, this customer ahead of me has identified an issue, and is making the plans to fix it. By now, the line next to us has grown to a near half-million souls. Or at least eight bodies, three possibly holding souls, one not of their own. But I digress. This customer is now having the cashier contact some department. Now, you’d think that, at damned near 8:30 PM on a Monday night (a Monday night with an eclipse, no less!) that this woman would really have her shit together. I mean, she obviously had a list and some design sense, considering the mish-mash of random shit she threw in her cart, so this question must be of burning importance. I mean, she looked kinda all-together.

While we never did find out what the issue was, we did, however, spend ten minutes watching the situation unfold, and saw not only the inter-departmental phone get used a couple of times, but a cell phone was brought into the endeavor, and at one point, a slide rule. You could hear, literally, the cashier’s soul breaking into a thousand splinters of sorrow. Ironically, that is my family crest: A thousand broken splinters of sorrow on a field of blue tears.

Now… the point here is that in any normal place of business, someone would have said “Hey! What say you step on over to the Customer Service Desk (“Boopinscorpin Skeepinskoobin” for those of you who speak Swedelandish), and have them try to figure out just what in the fuck it is that you’re making so complicated. I mean, after all, look around. This place ain’t exactly the Engineering Lab at MIT. Our motto here is, um… something in Swedish or Danish or some shit, but I’m betting it has to do with shutting the fuck up and going over to Customer Service so that this line can get a move on. Thanks, and try the meatballs! Oh, wait, you can’t, because you took so long with whatever the fuck the problem was, and now the restaurant is closed! You’ve ruined it for everyone. Tell your cats we said hello.”

Suffice to say, dejected customer lady scowls off, and we manage to check out with only the issue of me having to move the pushy broad behind me back enough to actually scribble something illegible on the credit card thingie (“Kredishmoopoo Florgin”, again, for those of you speaking the language of the muppet chef), and complete said transaction in less than three minutes.

In conclusion (or, as the foreign would say, “Fin”), we managed to traverse the Valley, find our purchase and make it to the register in record time, only to be right back in our rightful place on the moebius strip. Right behind Jane Q. Slowwalker and her confused friend Ingrid. Moral of the story: Adopt some Zen into your workplace, and do without the fucking desk.

Print of the Month… and Extras!

first print of the month

If idle hands are the devil’s workshop and whatnot, just imagine what bored, angry eyes could be. While there is a certain validity in considering a B-movie about Marty Feldman’s reanimated orbs running rampant and slaying hundreds (give me a shout and we’ll write the script), we’re not talking about some fictitious scenario here… We’re talking about the potential for your eyes to become so bored, so absolutely tired of your walls that they turn on you.

What would stop an angry, vindictive eye from going cross just as your Employee of the Month photo were snapped, or even willing the lid to close, rendering you without depth perception at a crucial moment? Yes, you need to keep your eyes happy.

We can help.

Introducing our nifty new Print of the Month Subscription.

Yes, it’s not simply like getting a new print delivered to your door every month… It’s exactly like getting a fresh new print delivered to your door every month. In fact, there’s no “like it” at all. It’s precisely “GETTING A NEW PRINT DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR EVERY MONTH.” Brilliant, we know.

Imagine:

Your barren walls, aching for some neat-o, automotive art-based decoration.

Your eyes, plotting to steer you directly toward that rogue pile of what you’ll hope was dog poo.

You, pondering one of the great mysteries of life. “Oh how could I ever score some fresh automotive art each month… namely an 18×24-inch, beautiful print to hang on my wall, which would be delivered to me, and save me some cash at the same time??”

We have you covered.

3 month subscription 6-month subscription 12-month-sub

For less than the retail cost of a print, we’ll send you a new one every 30 days or so. Hell, we’ll even eat the shipping. At that point, you’re well ahead. But like most great things, there’s always a but. In this case, it’s a…

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

While you’re thinking “I’m such a lucky bastard to even have this offered to me!”, we’re plotting to potentially make you an even luckier bastard.

Each month, we’ll select a few subscribers at random, and send those “Lucky Bastards” (it’s like a club, but without all of the dues and fanfare and meetings, and crappy shiny nylon bowling jackets) a random item from the Studio. Yep… one random item. Could be a worn-down pencil, a book, a video, some odd trinket we snatched-up at a show, or even a napkin doodle. Ponder the excitement you’ll feel as your print arrives, and with it, there’s a sketch, or another print, or some… Jell-O. Ponder away.

So there you go: A print every 30 days, for 3, 6 or even 12 months, and you save some coin. Heck, you may even make off with a future museum piece from the fabled Studio. Don’t want to keep all of them? Stash ‘em for gifts, and save time later on! Why not give someone you love the gift of a print every 30 days? They’d be like “It NEVER STOPS! My eyes are so happy! I’ve never had better depth perception!”, and you’ll save more the longer you subscribe. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.

Check it out here:
We have ‘em for domestic (should you live in the continental US): http://bit.ly/NrLHC5

And international (should you be some richy-rich movie star and live in an exotic land like Italy or Alberta):
http://bit.ly/1epSSRp

Not sure where you live? Google yourself, maybe. Can you see yourself on the satellite view? Perhaps even street view? Outstanding. What if you can’t see you, but maybe someone you live with? Your car? How about a familiar landmark you might pass each day? Come to think of it, this may not be the correct way to go about things here. Perhaps it’s best that you close this email, and seek some guidance, if you’re having trouble finding where on the planet you live and all that. But if you do know where you live, by golly, hooray for you! Sign up now using the link that best describes the location of your domicile.

And there you have it. We’ve just saved your life. Or your shoes. Or, heaven forbid, some body part you didn’t want placed somewhere due to failed depth perception… AND given you a great idea for a movie. And possibly, even, directed you to discovering just where on Earth you live.

That is precisely why a woman reading a well-known magazine one time described us as “Givers”.

You’re welcome.

Pulling out all the stops, and laying out some groovy little extras for the “Print of the Month” shipments. Kinda weird to design a campaign for yourself… I’m my own worst client.

first print of the month

Why not subscribe, and get some great art at a cheap price, and see this crap in person? Your walls will thank you.

And should you be concerned, the forest has assured me that it will continue to grow more trees as we need them. See that? You can help keep the forest AND ink gnomes in a job, and away from the streets. Think traffic is bad now? Imagine the roads clogged with trees and brightly-colored creatures. It’s a circle of giving. Do some good, you selfish bastard.

Speedhunters Feature

hot rod artist

I was stoked (and honored, and humbled, and still kind of speechless) to be chosen by the great crew at Speedhunters.com as the subject of an interview for their recent “Inspiration” theme! Go figure… me.

office

Keith from Speedhunters dropped by the studio for the afternoon, and we had a blast, talking cars, design, inspiration… We talked about workflow, and the past year, which was incredibly full of good things. To say that I am still floored by of that would be an understatement.

I wanted to share the article here as an opportunity to hopefully inspire anyone out there who may find themselves in a similar situation as mine. I truly hope that it inspires anyone who is ready to simply pack it in, or move on and leave a dream behind to hold on, and push ahead. To follow through, no matter what obstacles may get in the way, and to find a way through, around or over them. Granted, I’m no poster boy for having a positive outlook, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by some great friends and family who push me non-stop, and have far more patience than I ever will. It’s been a long road, and there’s certainly a lot further to go, but I’m learning to keep at it, no matter what. While it’s hard to make something this private a public topic, if it helps just one person make a go of it, well, that’s brilliant.

That said, take a look, if interested, and please share it with someone you know who could use a little boost to get over that hill, or to know that there’s always a way forward. You simply have to make the most of the hand (or hands) you’re dealt. Check it out here: www.speedhunters.com.

A Look Back at 2013

winna-winna

While many people operate on some arcane belief that thirteen is unlucky, around the Studio, we find that, like anything, it’s all in what you make of it. To say that 2013, when viewed as a product of the work invested, was a success would be an understatement. There was a ton of struggle, more late nights than ever before, and an absolute will to push things as far as possible, and the payoff was, to say the least, something to behold. We were stoked to see so much work from the previous years see light of day as completed projects, and watch as those projects really came into their own.

To say that none of it would have been possible without you, our loyal friends and fans, well, would be the truth! It’s tough to say “Thank You” in a way that could begin to illustrate our heartfelt appreciation here, but know that it means the world to us. Without you, there would be no reason to turn the lights on each day, much less keep them burning late into the following evenings.

That said, kick back, and take a peek at all of the cool things that you helped to create in 2013, and share in my counting of the many blessings that the year brought my way. I have a lot to pay forward in ’14.

Start at the Beginning

…we could Tarrantino the whole thing, however. Or even Peter Jackson it, and split it into three newsletters, using the second part to merely waste your time with a 25-minute chase scene which only serves to present an idea for a theme park ride. But we’re not so bitter as to do that.

The year kicked off with the usual rush to finish some projects which had slid over from the previous calendar, as they usually do. Completing some minor tweaks on cars that were set to debut, and winding down from a whirlwind of last-minute SEMA work, the year always heads out in a flurry of activity.

In January, the Torino took the first bow in paint in Pomona, setting off what would be a year of serious award-winning magic. From concept:
torino-big-flat.
..to finished masterpiece:

torino-me
(I made motor noises until Moose fired it up. Then I giggled. A lot.)

…the crew at Rad Rides simply pushed the envelope, and threw down some of the most incredible fit and finish ever. While it was spectacular to see the GPT Special become reality, and then to follow-up by sweeping the 2013 Detroit Autorama Best Overall Street Machine, the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Cup in Reno, the 2013 Optima Batteries Street Machine of the Year, and the 2013 Mothers Shine Award, the icing on the cake was seeing my youngest son’s excitement in, as he put it, “finally getting to sit in it!”.

My son. Sitting in a vehicle I designed, which just spent the year cleaning house at every stop.

Best. Feeling. EVER.

In Detroit, Nailed, Mark’s ’56 Buick swept into the Great 8…

buick

Such a fun project to play on, and one of those cars that is so well-detailed that you could spend hours looking at it, and then head back and see things you missed the first time.

booick-cityblk

It was neat, too, to see the original sketch for the car on rear seat at the SEMA Show in November:

buick-render

The new year continued to tear some fresh ground with a killer opportunity to blog for Dodge. And blog I did, by golly. It began with a trek to NY, and some massive support from our friends and family in the hot rod industry. To say that it was insane to witness (and be a part of), well… That’s an understatement. Between our family supporting the heck out of it, and good friends campaigning and pushing (hey Tim and Carrie Strange! That would be friends like YOU, for example.) non-stop, I nailed a gig doing something I truly enjoy: Writing. And talking. And writing and talking about cars, and the stories behind them.

brian-walk-NL
(exploring the 2014 Durango mere minutes after its debut. I was there first. Suck it, Ron Burgundy.)

In May, we nailed the first One-n-Done, working with the great guys at Porterbuilt to complete a front and rear Dropmember (and airbag and rack and pinion!) install in Broey’s truck.

one-done

In one day, with about 40 volunteers and friends, we accomplished the task, setting the stage for a number of gatherings geared to entertain, educate, and get some work done. Between the coverage in Street Trucks, the LiveCast and more soon, it was a success on many levels!

Following the amazing win in the REDLINE Dodge contest, I was swept off to some great events, like the All Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle:

carlisle

Even spent a few moments in the Hotchkis Autocross Taxi. Seemed like the thing to do:

…and the following road trip with Steve Magnante was a blast indeed. As we traveled up North, we stopped at Jerry Stein’s place to take in some history, and complete the Max Wedge overload that began in Carlisle:

garage-rt

…and continued with making some great (and occasionally awkward… OK, mostly awkward) memories along the way, with some great stops, including a tour of the Magnante compound. (you can check out all of that in detail HERE)

road-trip

The next trip would find me in Detroit for the Woodward Dream Cruise, and a chance to fulfill a childhood dream: As a kid, I was obsessed with Steve Lisk’s Hemi Challenger, and swore to one day cruise that famous loop in a Hemi Challenger myself. Check that one off the bucket list (much, much more on this to come).

3-car-woodward
(that’s me on the left, tanning my left arm!)

Thanks to the great folks at Dodge and Ignite Social Media for making the dream come true (and for the metric ton of memories and experiences along the way that made the past months absolutely surreal). Much more on that soon.

me-and-arv

While in Detroit, I finally got to meet my good friend Arv (go and become a fan of his HERE) in person! I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the man for many moons, and we’d never been able to connect in person. He and his lovely family took time, and we managed to connect at the airport, as I was heading home. While it was a quick visit, it was one of those fantastic moments that I’ll always remember. He’s a supremely talented human being, and I’m humbled to be able to discuss art, design and so much more with the man.

sick-secs

September hit, and the year just got crazier. Sick Seconds, the 1969 Camaro I had worked on with Pro Rides/Denny Terzich, and now owned by Tom Bailey, ripped five consecutive six second, quarter-mile passes, capping the event with a 6.70 at 217.42 MPH. When I coined the name for the car some years back, it began as tongue-in-cheek… Proud to not only see it live up to the moniker, but land a spot in the record books, as well! Not too bad for a 3100 lb. car yanking a trailer 300 miles per day. 2013 was nailing shut so many open chapters for me, it was getting crazier to watch by the moment! Topped the street machine segment, and blew the doors off (literally) the on-track part of the show. Hard work was paying off!

quickest_fastest

Come Fall, things were a whirlwind, working double-time to keep up, and working on a ton of projects set to debut this coming year… and, wouldn’t you know it, SEMA was heading in fast. I was stoked, as I’d have a few marquee rides on the floor, and I’d be attending with my friends from Dodge and Ignite, so my experience would be drastically altered from years past! I saw the show in a different light, to be certain, and made some great new friends, and got to spend a little time with some of my oldest ones, as well.

Heck, I finally shook hands with my pal Max. Known the guy for years, and have had some amazing (and amazingly weird) conversations with the man, collaborated on some fun projects, and my wife and I wear rings he milled by hand.Yet, until that week, I had never shook his hand. Or been asked to be anyone’s ‘badge buddy’ before. Check another off the list:

me-and-max

Design-wise, I had a few items on the floor.

pantera-thoughts

The Pantera hit the floor with a vengeance, and created a buzz that echoed through the week.

pantera

It was certainly a different project to have worked on, and the creativity and level of ingenuity shown by the Ring Brothers raised the bar yet again!

pantera-sketch

Got to spend a few moments with Sam, who took a break from buying some very historically significant rides, well-preserved, ultra-low-mileage Lambrecht Auction vehicles, and building some clean machines to wander Vegas and pose with my goofy mug by Nailed while at the show:

me-and-sam

The SEMA Show wound down with the Torino grabbing the Mothers Shine Award, capping a stellar season in grand style.

shine-awardage

Following SEMA, it was a quick blast back home, a few days hosting our pal Tim Strange, who was in town for the Goodguys Southwest Nationals, and the annual Git-Down at Dino’s, which I’m proud to have created some artwork for again:

dino-2013-tee-shirt

Highlighting the Goodguys show was seeing Nailed and the GPT Special on my home turf:

two-winner

…and that about wraps up 2013 here. My sincerest thanks to everyone who has been with us from day one, and to the supportive family and friends I’m blessed to be surrounded by. Without you, I certainly wouldn’t be doing what I do, or checking dreams off of my list at such a pace!

May the coming year be nothing short of incredible, healthy and happy for you and all those you care about, and who care for you. Make some time to appreciate those around you, and never, ever give up. If there’s anything this year taught me, it was that. NEVER quit. Enjoy the smallest moments, and keep marking those little things off your list. We’ll check in soon, and thanks for taking time to do likewise!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,313 other followers

%d bloggers like this: