• BOMONSTER Meets Metallica's James Hetfield

    One of the hardest things about being famous is that you can't go anywhere without a bunch of autograph seeking hounds invading your free time bugging you for a picture. Not that it happens to me often but it does happen to Metallica's James Hetfield a lot. He's also a car collector and loves having wild kustoms created for him and just likes hanging out and talking cars. So when he goes to car shows he can usually just walk around and enjoy the scene without the hassle of "I'm-a-big-fan-got-all-your-records-I- saw-you-in-'92-I-got-a-tattoo-like-yours-can-I-get-a-picture?"

    We had our booth set up at the West Coast Kustoms show in Santa Maria and James walked up and was checking out my work. Since this was a car show and not a heavy metal concert I didn't recognize him and introduced myself. He said "Oh I know your work, I see it all over the HAMB and in the car books." Then we talked for about 20 minutes about cars, creativity, art styles. inspiration and doing work because you love it. He is a member of the Beatniks car club and was wearing their club shirt. I commented that I like his club's visual identity - always cool graphics and logos coming out of those guys. He said most of the other members were artists but he was "into music." Still didn't register with me. Then he asked if I do commissioned pieces of owner's cars. "Yes, I do, you have a car in the show today?" I asked. He said "Yeah I got that little Auburn outside." I knew that car as I had taken pictures of it earlier in the day. I said "Are you James?" "Yeah."

    Immediately we talked more cars. I told him I loved the light to dark metallic rootbeer color on his Auburn and he whipped out his purple iPhone and showed a bunch of pictures of his cars - a '56 custom crew cab Ford PU, a '36 Ford coupe being hammered on and redone after driving it to Santa Maria the year before. A little roadster, a flamed Lincoln Contintental and on and on.

    Total car guy in his element anonymously talking cars to another anonymous car guy. He thanked me for a great conversation and walked back into the crowd. The following week he hired me to scratch "Slow Burn" - that "little Auburn" that was parked outside. I love the name so I created a cool image driving hard against the "burn." If you want to see it, check out my "Commissioned Art" pages. It was fun to create an original for a car guy who digs cars as much as most fans dig music.

  • BOMONSTER's Memories of Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas is probably the largest rockabilly car show/music fest in the world and we were there. This was my first time showing/selling my art and apparel in Las Vegas and it was an unforgettable experience.

    A long day of great music from the huge outdoor stage we were vending near, lots of great people stopping by to admire the work and introduce themselves, vendors with so much interesting eye candy, pinup girls everywhere, tattooed guys and girls happily showing them off and a ton of classic kustoms, hot rods, bikes and one-a-kind-rides.

    We set up our booth the night before caught up with new friends - the Max Grundy and ACME Speed Shop John Mearns families - before heading over to a cool little dinner spot for locals - the 4 Kegs. We enjoyed some excellent home-made strombollies and cold beer and turned in early. When we returned the next morning a few vendor booths around us had blown over in the night wind. Thankfully we were still standing and used the hours before the show opened to hang pictures, push out into the walkway as far as possible and enjoy the only downtime we would see all day. The sponsors let hang me hang a couple of BOMONSTER banners anywhere I wanted so I hung one at the entrance which made it look like the show was brought to you by Pabst beer and BOMONSTER.

    Right before the gates opened I looked up and saw thousands and thousands of people standing four rows wide patiently behind four closed turnstiles. Promptly at 9:00am the gates opened and it was suddenly a crowded event. We had our first sale within the first one minute and sales stayed brisk all day long. Beyond the sales the real highlight was actually meeting people who really dig the art. Artists naturally see all the flaws in their own work but still like it enough to invest in offering it for sale. But that little shred of confidence is suddenly gone moments before the public actually walks in to have a look. To hear so many people tell me that they liked the work because it was "new, different, and reminded them of something old" was music to my ears because those are the things I think about when I create it.

    The girls shown above were the Satin Dollz singing group and were there to promote that evening's performance. Luckily for me they were in the booth next to mine and brought the customers in all day with their good looks and happy team spirit.

    Late in the morning I was talking to a VIVA show veteran and he said "if you think it's crowded now, just wait until the Europeans get here." Sure enough I looked up at the gates and the river of people had not let up all morning. Shortly thereafter our customers would only nod politely as I described how I create my scratchboard art and it was then that I realized that many couldn't speak English. But they still bought. Considering the value of the Euros these days I figured they must have looked at my prices the way we used to look at the cheap prices in Tijuana. At least they didn't try to talk me down any lower.

    In the background we enjoyed the tight, rockin' music of The Blasters, Jerry Lee Lewis and a bunch of great rockabilly bands. I love to hear good live music at any car show and this was the best produced outdoor show I've heard yet. When Jerry Lee Lewis was finished they rode him out of the show on a golf cart and when he passed by us fans went running and screaming to get close to him.

    The only drawback to a successful day vending is that we were too busy talking, selling and yes - even signing autographs -  to leave the booth, meet friends or check out the car show. It also meant we had no time to spend any money either so it could be said that we were one of the few who left Vegas with more cash than we brought.

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