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Published on Sun, Dec 8, 2019

By: Doug Stokes

LACar’s Artist Extraordinaire Hector Cademartori shows us a bit of his unique style of holiday spirit

Above: Hector Cademartori holiday cards from sketch to final products and back (2019 and 2017 editions)

Truth be told, LACar contributor Hector Cademartori prefers the title “illustrator” to “fine artist”; in my copybook, Hector is quite honestly both and his work is more than proof of that.

Born in Argentina, Hector and his wife Florencia emigrated to the United States in 1983 and both became citizens in the late ’90s.

Never having taken a day of formal art training, his talent was recognized early on as a very young man and he is now one of the best-known motorsports artists in the country.

His work is characterized by his faithful renditions of the racing cars and people that he paints, but more than that, his attention to the smallest details makes his work just a joy to see.

His racing event posters always capture the flavor of the event and his individual portraits of famous racing drivers in their most well-known races and race cars always seem to capture the perfect moment in time for future generations of fans to know what it was like when iconic drivers like Senna, Gurney, and Fangio ruled the racetracks.

With this series of panels, we can see the artist at work on one of his annual holiday card projects. As usual, it’s a fresh, fun, funny, look at good old Santa Claus making ready for the big night.

Hector seems to really have his own brand of good cheer going here in this wonderfully-descriptive series of shots of the stages one of his paintings goes through on the way to becoming a keepsake piece of holiday art.

…I know precisely where the detail that we see in his detailed depiction Santa’s workshop because I’ve been to Hector’s workshop (er…studio) and have seen the books, photos, model cars, toys, gadgets, and other sorts of on-site stuff (er…inspiration) that’s stacked, hung on the walls, shelved, framed, taped-up, and hanging from wires here and there. The chaos is not only intended it’s almost a bit intoxicating (at least for me, the outsider).

And then there’s the man, Hector, standing precisely in the center of his self-made vortex, calmly leaning over his drawing board and creating his own special world of motorsports that’s always so much fun when he shares it with us.

We’ve seen his racing poster art used for the Long Beach Grand Prix, and to publicize numerous major events (including NASCAR, IndyCar, and Vintage events) for the past sixteen years at Auto Club Speedway and, from 1988 right up this year’s running, for the famous La Carrera Panamericana de Mexico open road event down south of the border.

“Christmas cards are the highlight of my year. I enjoy including
a Santa Claus and his helpers within a car or a motorcycle scene and,
at the same time, making it as if it’s all very normal.”
– Hector Cademartori

His work on the two-wheeled side of the ledger is quite popular as well, his Illustrations being used for many years in the pages of Cycle, Cycle World, and Rider magazines.

In his own words: “One thing that I want to say, and this might disappoint those who follow my work, is that I used my art to be around racing. I was not a driver, a mechanic, a sponsor, or a fabricator but I had my art and I got a job in Corsa Magazine, a racing publication in Buenos Aires … and that was my ticket into the world of racing. I didn’t want to hang out with artists, I wanted to go to the race track and hang out with racing people.”

As it turns out, Hector has “hung out” with the many of the very best in both the racing world and the motorsports art world. Universally respected and widely collected, this talented, but modest man, can be summed in one word: it’s the Argentine equivalent of our “Good Guy” … Hector is an artist and a true Gaucho. – DS

Even Biker Santa needs a break every now and then (Hector Cademartori)
Even Biker Santa needs a break every now and then (Hector Cademartori)

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