Our hobby is all about making dreams come true. There are those among us who can actually dream the dream and then make it come true on paper, canvas, or sandpaper, yes sandpaper. For the rest of us this is well outside our boundaries, but for the precious few in our rodding world, they're the artists-those among us who can actually express their dreams to a canvas for the rest of us to admire and realize, "that's how I want my car to look!"
This month we take a look at Dav3 Kurz out of Englewood, Colorado, who has been around for 12-plus years. Dav3, with the backward "3," picked up his trademark as a young kid who signed his youthful artwork "Dave3" with no last name. Today Dav3 uses his last name, Kurz, on his work.
We have followed Dav3 for some time, and now "Giff's Place" is finished. The original painting was first shown at the 2005 Meadow Brook Concours last August. Signed and numbered limited-edition prints measuring 15x24 inches are available.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves; let's get on with the interview.
SR: What do you do your initial composition drawings with?
DK: I use an HB (grade) charcoal pencil to do a relatively "loose" sketch on my sandpaper surface. This initial sketch usually takes four to six hours depending on the complexity of the piece.
SR: Do you always draw real places?
DK: The simple answer is yes; I try to include lots of highly accurate detail in the central subject of my paintings while retaining a softer more impressionistic look to the backgrounds. This causes my paintings to fall loosely into the category of photo-realism and there is an old saying in photo-realism that I've always tried to keep in mind: "The more you make up, the more made up it looks."
SR: How did you find the location for "Griff's Place"?
DK: In the case of this particular truck, I had the photos in my file for over a year when I ran into owners Wayne and Robin Griffin at another show. When they asked me if I was ever going to do anything with the photos of their truck, I told them that I had not come up with a suitable background scene. Robin piped up nd said, "Well, we have a good background right at our house!"
SR: What about people in your paintings?
DK: I like to think of the car as just one of the "characters" in the painting, so whenever possible, I try to include people in my paintings. With that in mind, I recruited Wayne and Robin as models for this painting. On the morning of our shoot, I photographed the cars in numerous arrangements and then placed the two of them, moving them around as well.
SR: Do you make things up out of your imagination or do you work from photographs?
DK: I work from photographs, but that is an overly simple explanation to a more complicated process. I am seldom without my camera because I never know when I might see something that I can use in a future painting and, in order to keep things from looking made up, I always start with good clear photos of my central subject. Most paintings begin just this way: A vehicle I've photographed in a parking lot is placed into a scene using background photos I've shot in other locations. To make sure my ideas will work, I usually do very loose preliminary pencil sketches on newsprint to be certain that the elements of several photographs can successfully be combined to create a scene and tell a story.
SR: What happens when you have worked out your ideas in charcoal?
DK: Once all the composition decisions have been made, I'm ready to transfer my ideas to my working surface.
SR: What do you "paint" with?
DK: All my paintings are done in pastel.
SR: What exactly is pastel?
DK: If you hold a piece of pastel in your hand, it looks like a stick of chalk, but it's not-chalk is limestone-based and pastel is dry paint pigment held together with a binder in stick or pencil form.
SR: What do you use as your paintings' canvases?
DK: I work on 2,000-grit wet and dry sandpaper mounted to acid-free mat board.
SR: How long does a painting take, and what about "Griff's Place"?
DK: It takes about 150 to 180 hours or three to four weeks to complete a painting this size. The detailed areas are very time consuming, taking approximately one hour per square inch! This painting took much longer.
SR: How does one see your work if not in person?
DK: Anyone can call me or go to my Web site and see my numbered and limited-edition prints. My phone number is (303) 761-4050 and the Web site is www.dav3kurz.com