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the not so distant project

I’m like a lot of you, I’d presume. Find a project that speaks volumes and move quickly to procure what’s needed for it… except time. Then the wait grows and reasons ensue as to why it doesn’t start. One thing we can all agree is, when the project starts, its on! So best not start till “time” can be allotted.

Unfortunately, what we all just agreed on, is horse shit! Like having children. You’ll never be ready. Just try the best you can and when it happens, dive in. If its meant to be, it’ll all work out. Now, I don’t have children so maybe I shouldn’t be using this analogy but enough people around me speak to this statement. Back to the point, if you don’t “just get started” you land yourself some lawn art.

My 1984 Heritage special was passed over to me from my father as I asked him for a project. Personally I wanted one that had a tie to my Father and my relationship. May Father rides and I never did. I’m sure he feels, like me, that it would be nice to ride together but there was never any pressure to do so. When I was younger I remember my father taking me for a ride on this bike, stopping in a parking lot and while he took some z’s on the grass boulevard, let me ride around the lot to get a feel. Never went past this for me but It meant a lot and one day the thought of this bike came in my head and I acted on it.

Well, a few years later it still sits under tarp, in my yard. Now I guess I can say its because I don’t have a garage but thats kinda weak considering I don’t have a problem dropping a transmission or removing an engine in my driveway. So…. its one of those things. I never tire of it or feel depressed at the thought of it. It makes me smile just having it sit there. I’ll get to this one, unlike those I walk away from that have no meaning. This ones still though, for another day.

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focus eh

Here, just now, I deleted a couple paragraphs of what could have been some really nice information pertaining to wrapping vehicles. My focus isn’t there though, so lets dive deeper. A colour change of a vehicle is a craft. Kinda a boring one at that. Three days of teardown, clean, prep and wrap, tuck and trim then resemble. Something beautiful arrises but my mind feels its lost time. I guess as far as my mind is concerned, I require depth, creativity in expression and the risk of failure. If I fail at a colour change its due to the material, environment or vehicle condition. Something obviously repairable at the time. When I talk “failure”… true failure to me is pushing whats possibly creative in my mind with the chance my vision could fall flat in execution. Its happened. people don’t see it, so thats a good thing I guess. I’m my judge, so… happy I still provide to the public what they want but – I know – if I nailed it or missed it.

Creative in vinyl can be loud but it can also be very detailed and subtle. Layered vinyl. Patterns underneath a wrap. Gloss on matt and throw in some satin. Theres some great variety these days in automotive vinyls and making them dance together in a calm design or blatant display can be soooo satisfying. Obviously, like anything, we find each project dictated by not only the vision, products and canvas, but as well by the people in play on the project. The client, suppliers and helpers. Often times, grander is cut short through the process and unfortunately even at the beginning. By budget, contrasting vision, lack of trust, materials… but every project still holds a glimmer of amazement. When I see it, I grab it and save it. Hold onto it to swirl into a future design.

focus eh. I feel I’m on two ends of the word. Completely obscure, grasping at everything all the while in the moment taking what seems like eternity on the littlest detail. I’ve been all over the board finding satisfaction in any sort of mixed media. handling the finest detail is in my bag of tricks but replicating it over and over, day in and day out is not. So wheres my focus? Seriously, I am asking this right now. I talk above, about my interpretation of the satisfaction I gain in the automotive vinyl world but thats just juggling around the details to keep interest. I have multiple different personal projects, equipment and materials in a variety of genres slowly growing around me. I’m waiting to be spoken to. Am I too wound trying to find direction, that I’ve let slip the perfect path for me?

So, again I say, focus eh. No this isn’t some big lead up to me being Canadian. This is literally me talking it out to see if I can pull something from my words or spur on a new thought taking me closer in the direction I wish to find myself following. So I did mention the hinderance of people in the process and I do know I desire more personal art projects. Within paying the bills I don’t really keep on them and they sit there staring at me. The blank canvas, the full blocks of wood, uncarved wax, design sketches and an array of different materials sitting on the shelf. I know I’m answering my question so why do I find myself still talking about it instead of really putting my mind to work on these projects? I want to blame family, friends, work requirements, weather, home maintenance, pets, relationships, vehicle maintenance, health, exercise… stop… because I’m just saying life is getting in the way.

Lets see if I can answer this? Can I turn my creative projects into my life? I am a very practical and methodical individual and need definition to what I do. Funny I just said that as I have recently been exploring the open belief principal in all aspects of my life. Hmmmm. To not hold serious definition to anything and be open to growth, understanding and expression. Definitives are limiting. They instigate aggression, greed and control. Thats the thought wondering around up there. Up there, as in my mind. In case you were wondering.

So… I want to drop definition to find enlightenment. I want satisfaction to be found within daily routine that mixes with expression and not hindered by people, monetary requirement and production.

I’ve got it! Artist in a box on the street corner! Damn, I’m gunna have to work on a hybrid idea as I’m sure my wonderful, beautiful wife would prefer to come home to me then visit me on the corner. Well, as I’m trying not to define things these days, I’ll leave this open as the conversation may work itself out in my mind over time.

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the roux

Projects that I start – that I finish – that I quit – that fizzles – that excites. I feel like everything these days, probably… just like the rest of you, eludes me to what will peak my interest – keep my interest – or loose my interest. Or so I used to believe.

Wether you believe it or not, I’m much more focussed since my dietary change to Whole Food – Plant Based. I’m precise yet calm. Although, I felt I was before. The thing is, when your state becomes your norm, you think your normal. It’s quite clear we find ruts that become perceived as the way things are. A complete misinterpretation due to our minds and bodies inundated with poison still to this day believed to be acceptable. Or at least touted through media and popular culture, medicine, and animal agriculture propaganda as fuel we require.

I’m left making sense of all the different avenues I travelled down. Not really wanting to leave any of them in the past. I find myself juggling them all equally as I bring them further to completion. They all lead into each other and to bigger stories, so I feel I kinda have to.

What about the ones I quite and can’t pick back up? Some great projects I dove right into and made some pretty sweet advancements. Projects that are no longer in my possession or no longer in existence. A beautiful 1984 VW GTi for example. Definitely a project car. One I imersed myself in. Designed a clean Recaro seat and had stitched up. A completely custom mk1 bezel chop and amalgamation of a VR cluster to accommodate the VR6 under the hood. Body work. Wrap and period specific graphics. Slimmed aluminum Bumpers and so on. With so much into it I decided to stop, sell and move on. How about another example. Jumped into upholstery. Head first with a tough mk6 GTI Recaro seat recover. Did the drivers seat twice just to get it right. Sold the car. Didn’t proceed.

Here in my writing might be the answer. I’ve heard said, “In art theres craft and in craft theres art. The craftsman looks for perfection and the artist pushes expression.” I’ve spent my time as an “adult”?! becoming part of the working world making things that please people. My mind really turns from instinct and creation. Pay the bills or free my mind though? Taught to pay the bills so guess we know how most months end.

I Couldn’t see this before. I Couldn’t see a lot before. Before Whole Food – Plant Based. So lets bring this jump around story together. I need to be able to be expressionistic. Yet, in the past, doing this through more crafts and skills was something that fell short for me because perfection was and is required. A contrast to what really satisfies me even though meticulous detail is something I have the patience for. I couldn’t see this as I was battling my body and my mind through every adventure. Now I’m positive about who I am. Healthier then I ever thought someone could be. Pulling all my current adventures into a pot. Sampling each one equally to find a balance to the roux. Keeping time to express myself. Providing enough craft for survival. Above all, not concerning myself too much with anything, as to refrain from loosing composure.

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contrasting style

A bag of varying styles and techniques is my most appropriate creative description. Sketching designs is, unless in a funk, an amassing calm for me. I drop my pencil to paper and let it move. Lines contrast from hard corners to soft curves. Those instinctive lines create a cloud that I then pull details from. Pull them and crisp them up till you see something. One of my ultimate aphrodisiacs.

A favourite company of mine, local to Calgary, is Concept 1. A fantastic Parts/Repair & Restoration facility Specializing in Volkswagen, Audi & Porsche. I was contracted for some imagery, this is one of the designs that hit the paper. I see it soon coming out in a larger piece of “one off” work. The idea floating back in my head every few weeks. I love mixed media and when the right sub straight lands in front of me, I’ll know its time.

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enthusiast by location

We view an enthusiasts product without really knowing where they are. The location where they build makes a huge difference, in my mind, to the depth of their abilities.

Ok, look at it this way; your radiator blows up and needs replacement. Your capable and can repair it yourself so you order the parts, jack the car up and make the repairs. Easy. Easy for the auto enthusiast. The Auto enthusiast that plays on the wrench side of things. Well… maybe theres a couple more variables in that repair. Say you live in an apartment building and park on the city street. Your three ton jack which you bought when you lived somewhere more “garage facilitating”, is stored in your closet on the second floor of a building that has no elevator. The street is on the other side of the parking lot. The time of year is January and there is snow on the ground and the average temperature at that time is minus 10 degrees Celsius. Plastic parts are cold and brittle. the concrete is jarring to the muscles. The wind intermittently travels past your neck. I think thats enough a picture. What I’m getting at here is the environment tells much more a story then the product outcome.

An auto enthusiast of the wrench variety preservers. Especially with the crowd I grew up with. Guys and girls passionate within limited means. Ok, poor as fuck but not without a roof over our heads or ample ambition. Non of us felt sorry for ourselves or looked at us as ever being lesser. We worked hard and not necessarily doing what we wanted to but doing what we needed to. With all this and long winter seasons, cheap tool sets and cars forever breaking down we persevered. Not only did we persevere but I saw some amassing cars born in our environment. Not only created, built, crafted, but then had to endure hard winter after winter with salt and rocks. Bad roads… oh shit! the roads. Its said over and over, so these are not my words, but if your drunk you drive strait. If your sober you weave down our roads due to the pot holes, cracks and literally chunks out of the pavement.

These are the enthusiasts! Now I’m not at all talking down about builds from guys and girls who live where their cars are not ever under attack by the roads and weather but I hold my glass up high to those who build in the conditions here. Calgary Alberta, Canada. You know who you are. The low riders, polished cruisers, machined and built powerhouses. The daily drivers who’s cars were their projects. Your perseverance, dedication and insanity never went unnoticed and as I look around social media today, your cars come up time and time again as serious contenders in Canada, North America, And the world.

I’m seriously proud to have wrenched on the same cold concrete you did.

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behind the vehicle

What really helps drive me to obtain a higher level of output when it comes to many of my projects, are the people behind it. I have the privilege to place finishing touches on a variety of builds. Being the final ingredient on great in-depth projects with either some graphics, sharp details or a full body vinyl car wrap. I start really seeing these individuals in the creation of their projects. At that point you find who that person is. That is, if you pay attention. Their passion and direction presents itself clearly. Their creative attitude and abilities come out to not only show what the vehicle will be but how its an extension of who they are.

Shane, pictured here, is such a technical artist. His personal abilities mixed with utilization of who and whats around him shows real genius. In this case the project became Shane. Starting from his early Volkswagen Jetta build and transpiring into a couple photo shoots and a write up. The story was larger and included the cars builder. Photo by Matthew Vieweger.

This happens quite often and the people that bring me in to help with their project end up being the focus. Its a beautiful thing when occasionally you look just past the car to whats right there behind it.

Shane Schinkel, Volkswagen Jetta Mk1 Custom Build
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Last week I bought my 35th vehicle. Registered, running and insured. It’s joked, my driveway at times looks like a used car lot. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Theres two reasons in my head for the mass amount of vehicles I’ve purchased and let go over the years. Currency would be one. The fluctuation up and down of my financial position sometimes calls for a car to be sold to facilitate more important things. Things like the ones I love and the direction I’m heading. I never buy a car to sell it though. Its true. I look at them all as something with wonder and intrigue, requiring exploration and attention. That brings me to my other reason. I love them all! Yes, there are so many wonderful cars. New, old, custom, factory, pristine or well used. One of my favourites was Wilmer. A 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon upgraded to a 2.1 ltr engine with a 4 speed manual transmission. My Grandfather owned a Vanagon and his name just fit right as to honour a man I wish I knew better. A man so many admired. Theres nothing that drives like the Vanagon and the versatility of the interior dimensions. Wilmer was actually one vehicle that stayed by my side the longest. Why did it leave? It gets complicated as they all do so I’ll just remember why I chose to buy it in the first place. Fly out to Vancouver and drive it back to Alberta. The Vanagon did get placed on my list of vehicles I would own again. Thank you Volkswagen. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon 2.1 ltr 4speed manual
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Automotive Obsession

My father jumpstarted my obsession with the automotive industry. Its not the only thing I loose my mind over but definitely one of the top contenders. All of us enthusiasts are looking for our feelings. Thats my opinion. I think its good for us too. For some reason or another we may not express ourselves very well to other people. When we dive into the different aspects of our vehicles we find the multitude of ways we wish we could express ourselves socially. The only issue is that it is a language not many understand and it doesn’t really translate into the social situations we wish it did. A special breed, we are and diverse – not to be defined in general terms. Want to know us more? take the time to see us through our creations.

My old 1991 Volkswagen 16V GTX with factory Recaro interior