It Still Freaks Me Out a Little

“I come to a red light, tempted to go through it, then stop once I see a billboard sign that I don’t remember seeing and I look up at it. All it says is ‘Disappear Here’ and even though it’s probably an ad for some resort, it still freaks me out a little and I step on the gas really hard and the car screeches as I leave the light.”
Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Pinstripe Skull, Car Show, Denton, Texas


“Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.”
J.G. Ballard

Pinstripe on Hood, Car Show, Dallas, Texas

I remember in my youth, swimming in a lake somewhere (little fish kept nibbling at me). I was moving along a dock towards the sandy bit of slope they called a beach. There were some girls up on the dock and I could hear them talking. One said, “Yeah, I know he’s not good lookin’ and I don’t like him at all… but I’m going out with him anyway… he has such a nice car.”

I still remember that and, as I get older, I wonder if she might have been on to something.


“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”
—- W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

Pinstriper at work, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Pinstriper at work, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

To watch someone do something like this is like watching someone doing magic – real magic. I can’t imagine having the eye, the dexterity, most of all the ability to shut everything out of mind other than the brush, the fender, and the paint. Notice how he has the two colors of paint he is using in daubs on his index finger – he picks up what he needs and brushes it in place. It is completely freehand – no masking tape, no guide lines, not even a design done ahead of time.

Yet the result is perfect. It is smooth, faultless, and symmetrical – even though it is applied to a complex curve on a rusty Volkswagen Beetle fender. The sun was beating down – it was about 104 degrees. It was so hot, I could barely think straight.

“I hate to paint portraits! I hope never to paint another portrait in my life…. Portraiture may be all right for a man in his you th, but after forty I believe that manual dexterity deserts one, and, besides, the colour-sense is less acute. Youth can better stand the exactions of a personal kind that are inseparable from portraiture. I have had enough of it”
—- John Singer Sargent