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Old 11-12-2006, 03:00 PM
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The Late-Great Ed Roth

I copied this from my blog, so you folks can check it out. I have also re-posted the illustration this article refers to. If anyone wants to talk about art- this is where I'm coming from.
This one, like the previous, was done with ballpoint pen. Try to zoom in, if you can, and check out the details. Bolts, valves, rocker arms; they are all in there. This is what is truly fun. Sure, it's very "Roth-like" with smoking tires, and a crazed, gearshifting pilot, and it's true, Mr. Roth influenced many generations, so we shouldn't become plagiarist, but I have incorporated a little of my own style into it. It really is fun to draw "rat-fink" style art. There is something unencumbered about it. It's relaxing, and without rules; just big tires, smoke, and a gearshift. Everything else is up to the artist. It's like Big Daddy gave us a "template" on how to effectively draw hotrods. No, it's like he gave us a template on how to illustrate the attitude of hotrodding. This is what made him so influential in the hotrod art world.
Back in the fifties, there was a feeling going around; an attitude; a kind of "underground kulture" was forming that encompassed cars, kids, and the need for freedom. Freedom from their parents, freedom from the restraints of an "obey the rules or else" society, and freedom from, of course, the speed limit. Artists tried, but nobody really ever found a way of tapping into this new way of thinking, until the gods of petrol gave the world Ed Roth. His art didn't just tell the world what these greased-up throttle jockeys were feeling, his art drove it down society's throat. With smoking tires, screaming engines, and a crazy, bug-eyed rodent named Ratfink, this new artistic style hit the hot rod scene in a way that no other artist will ever be able to duplicate.
This is not because he was the best illustrator, or the best painter. In fact, his work wasn't as technical, or as precise as some of his peers like George Trosley, who is a great artists, still pumping them out today. But he's not Big Daddy. So What made an above average artist so great? Well first, we, as artists, need to realize what art truly is. Art is nothing more, and hopefully nothing less, than a tangible display of something that is experienced in a non tangible way. "Whaaaaa?" Art is the expression of emotion. That's it. You see, artist aren't just paintbrush technicians, or pencil actuators. They are communicators. Their job is to communicate their emotions through their art. This is where most of us drop the ball. We focus so intently on being technically correct; "The windshield should look just like this", or "The guys hand is way too large", or "shiny paint needs to reflect just so", that we forget all about the emotions we should be trying to convey. This however, was not Mr. Roth's problem. His art was simple, but effective. Most of his stuff, was nothing more than a rat driving a car, but it was portrayed in such a way, that you ( the viewer) could feel the roar of the engine, you could smell the smoke bellowing off the rear tires, and if you looked at it long enough, you just had to get into your Dad's 58 Pontiac, and burn rubber all the way to A&W. Ed Roth's art encapsulated the attitude, and emotion of a generation. That is why his work was so great. And that is why no one will ever be able to surpass the impact his art has made on the automotive industry, and culture.
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:37 PM
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Always been a Big Daddy Roth fan. I think his cars were his strongest art form. I also think if you would dig through some old Cartoons and Hot Rod cartoons from the 60s you'll see that there were PLENTY of these artists and Ed, while one was by no means the best, IMHO. Most of his T-shirts, which I had and copied when I was a teenager in the mid 60s were fairly crude in comparison to some of the others. I am not playing his contributions down, just noting there were others much, much better. If that is your drawing in the thumbnail, it is even more detailed than Ed's. He was more an impressionist than a realist and minute details weren't as important as the "FEEL". I don't think Ed came into big notoriety until the 60s actually and was pretty unknown out of the car world, same with Von Dutch. I think both of those guys are more popular in overall society now than when they were creating. Kind of like Artists,eh, never know what you got till it's gone. He did have a bad period in the 80s where he got religion and was bad mouthing many of the same things he represented in the 60s. Fortunately he got back on track and returned to his "roots" prior to passing. Fortunate to have met him in the early 60s in Southern California when I lived there. pretty much in awe as a young teenager(maybe 13 or14). Rest in Peace.
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:37 PM
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I think you are totally right woods. Ed was an impressionist. That is why, at least in my opinion, he became so famous. Von Dutch was extremely respected within the car community, more as a striper than an artist. Even though he has made quite an impact with his art, back then, his notoriety as a striper is what opened the door for his art. As for Roth, and his art- it was nothing but attitude. But at the same time, the concept was easily copied by up-and-coming wannabe artists- like you and me, and everyone else out there. That is why I give him so much praise. You and I could list at least 50 artists right now that are, and were, better than him at things like perspective, tone, scale etc. But that isn't what makes an artist great. There are a thousand kids graduating from college this year, that are better at realism than Ed Roth was, but how many of them will be half as effective as he was at impressionism? I was a kid in the late 70's reading Car-toons, and hitting the local head shop for the latest posters to come out. I loved anything that had to do with cars-but When I saw an old Ed Roth poster in a friends garage(it was his fathers from the late 60's) It grabbed me. This was different. This had substance. It was the first time I understood the difference between good artwork and effective art. Mr. Roth had effective art.
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:04 PM
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Your prose is nearly as good as your art. Bookmarked your blog.

Agreed on "technical accuracy" in art. That's what cameras are for.

An artist friend once said to me that the "real" value of a work of art is determined by the feeling that people get when they look at it.

From what I've gathered, Roth's cars were analogous to his art. They didn't embody great technical skill, but they were so culturally expressive that they earned him a special place in hotrodding culture.
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:53 PM
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Thank you Jon. I am honored to be bookmarked.
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:53 PM
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The Man Hisself

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Old 11-13-2006, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
the "real" value of a work of art is determined by the feeling that people get when they look at it.
very true

i had the privalage of having a great number of magazines from the 60's and 70's to leaf thru when i was still an 80's child, so i had the please of also being a 60's and 70's child when it came to automotive stuff

the first time my dad brought those magazines home, given to him by coworkers that were clearing out their collections, i had no idea that people modified cars for fun, i didnt know anyone who was into the car culture beyond simple repairs....

without any outside influence, Ed Roths works captured my attention and held it. i must say thats got to be something that defines an artist as an artist... he captured my attention witho anyone telling me that his art SHOULD have my attention ...

i just wish i had had the chance to talk to Roth when he was on the 1998 power tour... someplace here i still have the pics of the Rat Fink that was on the side of the motel 6 bus that was on the tour. ill be keeping those till the day i die
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:00 PM
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Perfect

That is AWESOME Malc! Thank's for posting it. It looks to be original-is it?
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:03 PM
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Anyone seen this "Documentry" on Roth ?
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:12 PM
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No Malc, I haven't, but it just made my "top ten must see list"

Hey Lowroller- Thanks for sharing your story. I've never met him either, but everyone I've met who has met him, say that he was the most approachable celeb ever.
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:22 PM
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He did have other artists working for him and some say he wasīnt the easiest boss to have.
I wish I could remember where I read more about the man, the book shown above was written by Roth so itīs a tad biased.
The color poster metioned on the cover is glued into the spine, so while the bookīs in my posession it ainīt coming out
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:27 PM
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ugh ...now i wish i had been over trying to talk to Roth instead of trying to get a chance to talk to old man currie while he was working on his 32 ford salt flats car ... that was such a waste of time ... and i still wanna kick him in the shins ....
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:29 PM
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I don't blame you, that's a little piece of history there.
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:33 PM
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Some more stuff to know,
īlil Daddy Roth gets covered in the UK.
Click the cover pic for bigger version.
And is in the news here at HotRodHotLine
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:38 PM
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Holly crap lowroller. I've never met anybody. My cousin met Roth a few times, back in the 70's. Him and my uncle(his Dad) have even been over to Roth's house. But Me? I could'nt meet a prostitute in a brothel.
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