Saturday, May 17, 2008

Welcome to the blog

For as long as I can remember, I've had an interest in mechanical things. My dad was a mechanical engineer, pilot and owner of an instrument calibration business. When I was growing up, I was around cool stuff with big dials, meters and glowing lights from the beginning. By the time I was six, my dad had changed careers - but the seeds in me were already planted.


Naturally, the most prominent mechanical device in any boys life is the family car and I remember sitting in the front yard and being able to identify whatever drove by on our busy road. I remember my jaw dropping when my dad brought home his first Cadillac - and three years later when it was traded in for a the more oil crisis-friendly Chrysler Cordoba. Then there was the custom van craze and CB radios too. I played with AFX slot cars; Matchbox; Corgi; Hot Wheels & Sizzlers; put together model cars; drew pictures of futuristic cars; and had owned five different real automobiles before I moved away to college. (Mom was not a big fan of the '72 Fleetwood 75 Limo)


As life unfolded I chose a career in television broadcasting... lots of expensive machines with dials, meters and flashing lights I guess. But the car thing stuck as well.


Over the years I've lost count of the cars I've driven and collected, the hunt for parts, storage costs and repair bills. There came a point when it was simply overwhelming and no longer fun. I looked to other offerings to satisfy my unquenchable automotive thirst.


As an adjunct to my car collecting addiction, I had started to gather all the other little things that went along with the cars. You know - brochures, magazine ads, giveaways, dealership posters and showroom albums. As I sold off the last of the burdensome full-size cars, automobilia and literature became my full-time automotive habit.


For the most part, literature does not take up a lot space and is fairly manageable. The collection grew and my obsession was fun again. My collection focused on the Forward Look era of the Chrysler Corporation, which is from around 1955 through 1961. After about 15 years of acquiring this stuff, it got harder and harder to find something I didn't already have. This is when original art turned me on.


You see, even the rarest of rare literature stuff - say one piece to a dealer - is still probably produced in the high hundreds. With original art, you've literally got a one-of-a-kind item. So a person can own the hard-to-find sales brochure - but there's a unique pleasure in owning the original painting that was used to make the brochure. The same is true of the concept designs. I cannot describe the satisfaction of owning a genuine piece of automotive history; an original artifact that was part of the creative process used to seduce the car buying public.


My collector cars are long gone. I still have and occasionally add items to my literature collection. But my automotive passion now belongs to design concept and illustration art. This blog was created as a companion to my art collection website andrewfjohnsongallery.com. The goal is to spread the word and generate interest in this emerging art and automotive collectible category.

1 comment:

John Samsen said...

I congratulate Brett on this very professional and inspiring blog. It is a fitting addition to his fine website. As a former 'car stylist' I am gratified to see automotive concept art being collected and displayed to the public. I, as well as others, consider the design sketches and renderings of the post World War II era to be an important part of the modern fine art movement, especially 'Pop Art' and Industrial Art, and expect them to receive increasing interest as history unfolds.