Studio-66 Hot Rod Art – Studio 18
“Hot Rods are my passion, but the graphic arts are my craft,” says Utah painter Gene Chambers, whose current work is inspired by the custom car culture of the 1950s and 60s. Chambers paints hot rods and roadsters with a smooth and illustrative feel, a style that evolved from his background in graphic design, advertising and sign painting. His cleanly structured and hyper realistic paintings reveal rusted Chevys, reflective Corvettes and close-up views of old car parts or used tools. “I can see joy in the junk, especially if its car junk,” says Chambers of his subject matter. “That old rusty oil can, a well-worn toolbox, or a door panel from a 1932 Ford – there’s magic in that metal!”
Chambers studied graphic design at Weber State University in Ogden, where he also worked for a sign company painting billboards. His preferred medium is still the oil-based sign enamel he used on the job to achieve clean lines and lettering. In the 1970s, Chambers worked as a painter and designer at Lagoon Amusement Park, where many of his murals in the Pioneer Village are still intact. He eventually shifted his career to advertising, graphics and marketing, wining several Addy Awards for his efforts.
About ten years ago, Chambers decided it was time to return to his original passion for painting; he began working in the evenings and on weekends until eventually shifting full time to the life of an artist – or more specifically, a hot rod artist. Chambers has been drawn to car culture since he was a kid, building hundreds of model cars and mimicking the illustrations of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – an artist, car designer and key figure of Southern California’s car culture in the 50s and 60s. Roth, who passed away in 2001, was Chambers’ biggest inspiration when he started painting as a boy and continues to influence him today.
Click here to read Gene Chambers’ artist statement.