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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Mar 14, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Robert Michaels’ Bodie Dreams

It’s been called the greatest collection of automotive art in the world. We are referring to Car Art, Peter Aylett’s electronic gallery of the finest artwork ever assembled in one location—and that location is as close as your computer screen. Now approaching its 10-year anniversary, Car Art has branched out into three components: Car Designer Art, Car Fine Art, and the original Car Art. LA CAR’s featured Car Art artist here: Robert Michaels. ROBERT MICHAELS’ ROLLING SCULPTURES Never has rust looked as good as through the lens of Robert Michaels’ camera. One look at his book, Shine to Rust, and you will agree. Much of the beauty, however, is created after the click of the camera. “I was originally trained as a fine art painter, but later embraced photographic-based imagery and the use of digital painting tools because I found that they provided me with exceptional control over color, light, composition and rendering techniques,” says Michaels.

Robert Michaels’ Beach Parking

“My techniques vary significantly from image to image. I start with scanned transparencies or high resolution digital photographs, which I then enhance using a variety of software and digital brush techniques. This may involve merging two or more separate photographs—or elements thereof –to form a compelling new composition.” While Michaels is an accomplished landscape and wildlife photographer, it’s his automotive artwork that is the focus in the Car Art collection. Michaels’ work has been widely published in everything from consumer magazines to print advertisements. Automobile Quarterly, the highly-regarded design hardback periodical, will be publishing a 17-page article on his works for its upcoming issue. Having been schooled at Art Center College of Design, Otis Art Institute, and UCLA, Michaels’ paintings and photographs have been showcased in art galleries and competitions, wherein he’s received numerous awards. His schooling even included taking workshops with the photographic legend, Ansel Adams, who once said “There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.”

Robert Michaels’ Field of Competition

While his clients have included the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Masters Golf Tournament, Agfa, Fujifilm, Polaroid, American Airlines, U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Postal Service, and magazines such as National Geographic, Sunset, Camera & Darkroom, Computer Artist, and New Media, Michaels has also produced made-to-order works via the Car Art gallery. Robert Michaels has photographed thousands of classic and vintage cars, from the immaculate to those abandoned and rusted (‘rolling sculptures’ as he calls these). Many of these are with the Car Art collection. For information on the rest, you can go to ABOUT CAR ART Peter Aylett founded Car Art, Inc. after a 25-year career as an automotive design engineer. The great-grandson of a London carriage maker, he developed an early appreciation for the art of car design, particularly 50s American fins, 60s Italian exotics and British sports cars. His work with Ford and Lotus in England, Mercedes in Stuttgart, GM in Detroit and Los Angeles, Nissan in San Diego, and Mazda in Irvine, California, helped create exciting concepts like the Corvette Stingray III and coveted sports cars like the Lotus Esprit, De Lorean and Mazda RX-8. Car Art, Inc. was established in 2002 with this idea: Your favorite car in art ... by the car’s designer.

Robert Michaels’ Along the Turquoise Trail was introduced to sell prints of car designer artwork. Aylett commissioned a painting of the Mazda RX-7 sports car, by its designer, Wu-Huang Chin. Other renowned car designers have joined Car Art from Europe and the USA, including Maurizio Corbi, a Ferrari designer with Pininfarina, Henrik Fisker, BMW Z8 designer, now Aston Martin Design Director, and Chuck Jordan, former Vice President of Design for GM, with his rare tail fin designs from the 50s and 60s. was added when automotive fine artists came to Car Art’s stable, most of them members of the elite Automotive Fine Arts Society. They include its President, Ken Eberts, a former car designer with Ford, and Vice President Bill Motta, who was Art Director for Road & Track for 40 years. Other award-winning artists have joined from England, France, Germany, Canada and Argentina. now showcases both groups in one resource: a collection of 500 artworks of 60 marques, by the masters of automotive art at their same prices. Originals, signed, limited edition prints, and posters, range from European sports and racing to American muscle and classics, in most years since 1897. And they can commission a personal painting of your car by your favorite artist. To go to Car Art, click here.

Robert Michaels’ Memphis Belle

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