Interview with John Krsteski from Petrolicious

John’s website:

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Mr. John Krsteski attended the College for Creative Studies, although he now teaches at Art Center College of Design in addition to his full-time job as a design manager at Hyundai Design North America. In contrast to many automotive artists, John doesn’t try to reproduce a photographed moment-in-time. He takes his subjects out of their natural environment and places them in a graphic composition that gives his art an explosive, fluid quality to it. And while he loves creating auto art, he says that he still enjoys design too much to choose one over the other.

Q: Was it hard to start your career as a designer/automotive artist? 

A: It was a challenge, but growing up in Detroit, I just knew it was what I wanted to do. The great thing about going to CCS is being able to take fine art painting classes as my design electives. This really helped me become more expressive in how I see things in both art and design.

Q: What is your favorite painting subject? 

A: I love to paint vintage motorsports, everything from Indy Car, Formula One, and World Sportscar Championships.

Q: How did your passion for painting and vintage cars begin? 

A: Again, I think growing up in Detroit, cars just become a part of you, whether you choose it or not. And it helps to live in southern California. There is such a huge car culture, that the passion just gets reinforced even further.

Q: How does the creative process start? 

A: As an artist, I don’t think you could ever match the exhilaration of what the drivers and cars have accomplished, but I start by trying to bring as much energy and expression into the paintings as possible.

Q: What technique do you use for your paintings? 

A: I bounce back and forth between acrylics on canvas and digital. From a digital perspective, I limit the brush techniques to the way I would normally paint traditionally in acrylic and try to make it as seamless as possible.

Q: Do you own or aspire to own a vintage car (and which one)? 

A: Not vintage, but I have had a variety of cars over time. I had a ’66 fastback Mustang, Porsche 928, and BMW E30 M3. Currently, I have a ’78 Ferrari 308GTS that is in pieces, but hopefully it’ll be back on the road this year. My aspiration would be that it somehow morphs itself into a Ferrari 288 GTO. Right now I am driving a 2005 911S that I have pushed past 100K miles on the odometer and I am excited to see if I can double it!

Q: What is your favorite road and companion? 

A: I loved going up Angeles Crest Highway when we lived in Pasadena, California. Living in Huntington Beach, I catch myself taking the longer way around just to use the Pacific Coast Highway. It is always amazing to me to drive alongside the ocean.

Q: As an artist, when you look at a car what do you see? 

A: The beauty in the proportion, profile, stance and form all play huge in how I see things from an art and design perspective. At the same time, I am looking at the car from so many vantage points to lock in on the most dramatic view.

Q: Do you have an all-time favorite car? 

A: The Gulf Porsche 917. I never tire of the beauty of that car and the Gulf livery. Maybe I can set a record for most paintings of that car…haha! Being a Ferrari nut as well, the 330 P3/4 is fantastic!

Q: Where do you like or would you like to see your art displayed most? 

A: I love the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s era, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with the ’60s.

Q: Is there a classic that you’d like to redesign for production today? 

A: It’s a really tough and bitter-sweet question. I would love to redesign a Maserati Bora or De Tomaso Mangusta, but at the same time, part of me wants the original to be left alone. Maybe it’s enough fun to just imagine how some of them could have evolved.

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