• Jimmy Vaughan wears BOMONSTER

    Well I'm assuming he wears a BOMONSTER shirt. At least that's what my good friend Joe in Ocean Shores, Washington tells me.  Joe is a guitar player and met Jimmy at breakfast near his home while Jimmy's band was in town for a show. Joe got him to sign a couple of his personal guitars after a nice chat. To thank him, Joe gave Jimmy one of my shirts - "Digger" which Jimmy thought was cool.  Cool! I have his music, he has my shirt!

    Jimmy is a car guy who owns and really digs customs, hot rods and anything old with style. I don't know if he wears it, but I know he had it in his hands, HA!

  • BOMONSTER's Photo Essay of Kiwi Kev's Garage

    One man's junk pile is another man's photo essay. Every year Kiwi Kev invites old and new friends to his home for a luau-style barbeque and we got a personal invite while vending at the Ventura Nationals. We showed up to a great meal, friendly people, excellent music and the highlight for me and my camera - an open garage. I love looking at other people's collections and think you will too.

     

     

     

    All photos by BOMONSTER except the photo of BOMONSTER taken by his lovely assistant "The Mrs."

     

     

     

  • BOMONSTER Meets the Kandystriper

    We were set up at the Rat Fink Party and Kustom Kulture Extravaganza where I met Kellie the Kandystriper. She’s from Northern California but her work is known far and wide. Her and Jack drove down in a really nice flat Daytona Blue pearl ’40 Merc custom. They wanted to park in front of our booth for some pictures and since I knew it would draw a crowd, I gladly gave up some valuable real estate. Jack won Best Of Show and Kellie won the Best Pinstriper award. Here are some examples of her work that were on display that day. She’s also a tattoo artist and not only did she design the wicked webs on the tops of her feet, she applied them herself! Find out more at www.thekandystriper.com

  • BOMOMSTER And Miss California Are Pals.

    I’m not usually one to ask for autographs but I saw Miss California at a local car event this summer and the poor girl was stuck in the middle of a bunch of star-struck hanger-ons who wouldn’t stop talking to her. I could see Miss California needed to be rescued so I walked up and interrupted the pack of groupies and said “Hi Miss California, I'm BOMONSTER, could I get your autograph?” She looked at me with such relief and “Sure!” I thanked her and gave her one of my stickers for her limo. She thanked me with the happiest voice possible and signed a picture of herself for me. All the groupies looked on in awe. I think I made a pal that day.

  • BOMONSTER Meets Von Franco

    Von Franco is a legendary hot rod artist and can be seen in the video "I was a Teenage Monster Shirt Painter." I introduced myself to him at his booth in Santa Maria and immediately liked him. He surprised me by positively critiquing my progress as an artist over the last year from my posts on the HAMB friday art show. The next day I brought my 80-year old dad by to meet him and Von Franco talked 1960's commercial art tools with him which was an interesting conversation.

    To thank him for being so cool to me and my dad, I did an original scratchboard of him in his shoebox Ford with a "Not For Sale' sign on it in my booth. I told people I was going to give it to him when I saw him next. He heard about it and showed up at the Beatnik Blowout in Ventura. He came by my booth and loved the piece and we talked for awhile. Cool dudes and pretty girls were all saying hi to him and he was introducing me to everyone. I couldn't help but notice my booth get real busy while we talked. People started buying my stuff while waiting to talk to him!

    When he left the booth emptied out and all the coolness left the building.

  • Interview With BOMONSTER

    “If you aren’t checking out the Friday Art Show every week on the H.A.M.B., you’re missing a lot of great, mostly lowbrow and lowbrow-inspired, art. One of the regulars there is BOMONSTER, who works entirely in scratchboard and seems to have a lot of fun doing it.”  blog.hemmings.com

    So tell us BOMONSTER, are you having fun?

 BO: Fun is definitely the word to describe what I do. Robert Williams once said that when he first started working for Ed Roth he was disappointed to find out that most of the orders for Roth products were from 12 year old boys. He thought the art was better than that. Back then I was one of those 12 year old boys and fantasizing about wild, cool, fast cars was full time fun. It was clear to me that Roth got it like no one else at the time. These days I’m trying to tap into that same feeling that I – and many other Sting Ray riding, suburb dwelling, happy kids – had back then.

    Did you grow up in Southern California?

 BO: I am one of the few still here and not from somewhere else. I watched my dad build his own race cars during the week after work cutting up cheap old cars out of the classifieds and turning them into one-of-a-kind six-cylinder roadsters completely stripped down for ¼ mile speed runs in the D/Roadster class. He took me to drag strips all over SoCal – San Gabriel, Fontana, Colton, Pomona, Lions. I can still imagine the smell of tire smoke and sizzling cheeseburgers in the air. He later created some fun V-8 dune buggies and took us out to the desert where I learned to drive sideways on El Mirage at 14.

    When did the art thing happen for you?

 BO: That goes back to my dad again. I always liked drawing and I’m sure it came from him. He was great at pen and ink drawings and at night while we kids were asleep he would stay up and draw all kinds of cars he’d like to build. The next morning I would find them on the dining room table and he would already be up and out in the garage with the welding torch cutting the top off a recent purchase. Professionally he was commercial artist and tried all kinds of ways to make money at it. He had his own T-shirt business at one time, published a motorcycle race results paper, and had his own small ad agency, which is how I met Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.

    What was it like to meet Ed Roth?

 BO: I was like 10 or so and tagging along with my dad who placed the ads that Ed Newton and Robert Williams created for Ed in the car magazines. Ed was covered in plaster and working on shaping the body for the “Missing Link” –  a bike/truck concept later renamed Capt Pepi's Motorcycle and Zeppelin Repair by Robert Williams. Ed was larger-than-life and super-nice guy to kids. While he talked to my dad about business, I looked around a little and was shocked to find an office full of opened mail for all his T-shirt orders. Everyone must have paid in quarters those days because there thousands of them stacked, piled and falling everywhere. I had never seen so much money before in my life! We came home with the original pen and ink concept drawing that Ed Newton did so my dad could scan it (“statted” in those days) for Ed and it gave me a lot of time to study it. Newton’s drawing was brilliant and I was struck by how he could make chrome look so sparkly with black lines and dashes of white paint on the ends.

    What is your own professional background?

 BO: Advertising. I’ve had an entire career art directing campaigns for Nissan, Porsche, Acura, Apple, Yamaha, Honda, and on and on. I still have my own creative services business and recently designed some concept trucks for Toyota’s marketing group which have been seen at the last two SEMA shows. One was named “One of the top 10 Concept Cars of the Year” by Automobile magazine. It has been a great experience developing ideas but not so great developing my art skills.

    Why is that?

 BO: It turns out the more responsibilities you have in an ad agency the more you hire other people to finish your ideas. The good part was having the budgets to hire some really interesting people with skills far better than my own to bring my ideas to life. But the downside was not having the time to do it myself. With my scratchboard work I can now spend my time developing my art chops while utilizing my concept skills learned in advertising.

    Tell us what you mean by “concept skills?”

 BO: The concept is the idea behind the drawing. Also described as the narrative, it allows the viewer to connect emotionally with the visual. A technically perfect rendering of a ’57 Chevy on a drop shadow isn’t nearly as interesting as a loosely drawn ’57 Chevy parked on the street with the driver talking to some girls in the background. There are many talented illustrators who can do the former better than me so I am trying to be different by focusing on the latter.

    Is “being different’ important? After all, to an outsider most hot rod art looks similar.  

BO: As in advertising, fine art and popular music, being different is what sets you apart from the crowd and gets you noticed. Fundamental skills are required and absolutely the first step but finding your own style is more important than drawing perfect lines. The balance we have to find is that we’re all drawing from the same car cultural icons and references. We can’t be so different that the work doesn’t connect to a hot rod heritage. As I work on my own stuff I think about what I like about the styles of Ed Newton, Robert Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin and Bill Campbell but more than likely they were thinking about Tex Avery, Basil Wolverton, Harry Chester, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney before that. The Beatles were only trying to do Little Richard and Elvis at the beginning. The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin started with early Chicago blues but clearly gave it their own spin. There is no fast way to success but a big short cut is to look around at everything that’s being done –acknowledge what’s great- and do something else. There are many great artists and musicians out there who have beaten the odds to become famous because they were either born different or worked extremely hard to be. To quote two famous ad campaigns: Think Different and Just Do it!

    Are you in any galleries? How are people discovering your work?

BO: I started posting on the H.A.M.B. Friday Art Shows (www.jalopyjournal.com) as a way to develop my own ideas and get some feedback from people who really know this hot rod art world. Out of that experience I got an offer to create some shirt designs for Europe, got invited to show my work in Gasoline Gallery in L.A. and Japan and got asked to do a feature article in Traditional Rod&Kulture magazine. The best part was meeting some very influential and supportive artists like Max Grundy, John Mearns, Zombie, Candy, Jason “3 Sheets” Janes, Big Toe, Mark Waldman and others who encouraged me to print up my designs and take it directly to the people and vend at the same car and bike shows I attend for fun anyway.

    What other inspirations do you have? Who inspires you?

BO: HA! All my talent and inspiration comes from God who gave it to me in the first place. But that doesn’t mean I don’t look around to see what other people are doing. Keeping the list short I’ve got to start with Bernie Wrightson’s “Frankenstein” and Edward Hopper’s lonely Americana scenes of the 40’s. Every day I open the paper and laugh at Dan Piraro’s work in the comic section. I really like the creative ingenuity of Britain’s street artist Banksy. And I’m always inspired by a walk through any contemporary art gallery in the world. My most recent area of interest is the graphic boldness of German expressionism particularly in the woodcut engravings and painted movie sets. And I like anything Tim Burton does.

    Do you own any cool cars? BO: I don’t know how cool, but I know how old. I own a fully restored stock 1964 Lincoln Continental that my grandparents drove across the country with their big standard poodle in the back seat. Every time I stop in a gas station (which is often) someone tells me how they had a mid-sixties Lincoln in their family with suicide doors. Makes me think there were millions made. I’m currently restoring a 1964 Kellison Astra sports GT coupe. There were 500 fiberglass bodies made and most got made into race cars. Mine sits on a ’65 Corvette C2 chassis with an Olds 455 moved back 16” from stock which gives a 50/50 weight distribution. I’m frenching in 1939 tail lights, flaring the fenders over original American racing mags getting it ready for paint. My current daily driver is a clean ’92 Porsche Carrera with 200,000 miles on the odometer.

    What advice would you give to an aspiring artist who wants to make a career out of art?
 BO: Try all kinds of mediums to see what you’re naturally good at. Start with good and aim for better by creating as much stuff as you can in that medium. You’ll either get tired of it or love it which is what you need for the long haul. Think in terms of campaigns. Every artist that you can think of has a series of works they are recognized for. Jackson Pollack could draw and paint still life fruit plates but once he hit on drips, he made many. And keep notes! I draw little ideas all the time on corners of papers while on the phone. Later I’ll notice what I did and tear it off the corner and throw it in a folder called “Future Ideas.” I’ve dipped into that stash many times.

  • The Other Kellison X-300GT in Calif.

    I own a 1964 Kellison Astra X300GT. There were 500 of these fiberglass bodies made and only a few got made into actual drivable cars. Most were made into race cars and a few actually made it to the DMV for a license plate. These days there's a registry for Kellisons and there are two known Kellison Astras in California. I have one and Augie Delgado of Fullerton has the other one. His is this beautiful metallic blue with silver scallops. Mine is a lovely shade of primer gray with hints of green Marglass and pink Bondo. I met up with Augie at the L.A. Roadster Show and got to check out his car up close.

    Augie really knows motors and appreciates vintage era-correct high performance parts. Under the hood is a small block Chevy with a vintage Moon manifold and four working side draft carbs. I loved the blue headers. Inside is all business with aluminum floors, Hurst shifter and cool Mooneyes pedals.He painted the mag wheels magnesium gray and made custom magnesium wheel centers.

    It's a beautiful car and he was offered a Ferrari in trade but passed.  Ferraris you see every day in L.A. Kellison Astras hardly ever. I'm glad I saw this one.

  • 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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