THE AUTOMOTIVE ARTISTRY SERIES #2
INTRODUCING STREET TRUCKS’ NEW ARTIST SERIES
At Street Trucks magazine, we have always found that it’s not just the cars that make the publication what it is. It’s the fans, it’s the readers, it’s the enthusiasts, it’s the owners, it’s the builders—and the passion they have for the truck/automotive world. That passion creates the family we are now.
Though not on purpose, one branch of our car culture has often been overlooked: the artists. In the past, the rich history of hot rod art spread some of the car culture’s first wild ideas before renderings or even photographs of the latest cutting-edge builds reached other states around the nation. As time went by, builds began to evolve with the times like the art did, but for some people it became easier to look more into physical builds than the inspirations that started it all.
With our new Artist Series, we want to provide fresh inspiration for every type of enthusiast out there today, from the pen and paper artist and the computer and keyboard designer, to the wrench and garage builder. Enjoy—and be inspired.
PRETTY MUCH FROM WHEN I COULD PICK UP A CRAYON OR PENCIL, I’VE ALWAYS DOODLED FOR FUN,” SAYS BUTCH HARTMAN, THE FEATURED ARTIST IN THIS ISSUE’S AUTOMOTIVE ARTISTRY SERIES.
Butch’s art almost always revolved around hot rods or comic characters when he was growing up. Having always enjoyed doing it, he was slightly worried that bringing his talents into the “social media and public spotlight” would end up making him hate what he creates. Luckily, he has found plenty of encouragement, which has helped push Butch to higher levels and even brought new opportunities into his life.
“I never wanted it to be work,” Butch says.
It is very easy to see Butch is still enjoying doing his art to the max. He’s the first to admit, though, that he never thought he was any better at art than anyone else.
“It’s just like anything—with enough time, persistence and consistency, you can be amazing at anything,” Butch says. “I also feel that if you get into that mindset, that you are better than anyone else, you have lost. Always remain a student.”
That said, I know I will personally never be able to create the work Butch does.
IT’S JUST LIKE ANYTHING— WITH ENOUGH TIME, PERSISTENCE AND CONSISTENCY, YOU CAN BE AMAZING AT ANYTHING.
When he started Bitchin Inc. in 2014, he had been working for a custom Harley shop called Trask Performance for four years. Bitchin Inc. became his side gig up until October 2018. As of then, Butch is happy to say this has become him been full-time job.
I asked Butch who his inspirations and favorite artists are, and he didn’t have a simple answer.
“I have a lot, because with Instagram there’s so many rad artists you can find with a swipe of your thumb,” Butch says. “I’ll just name a few off the top of my head: Perry Fitzgerald, Doug Breuninger, Don Coker … Lee Goode, Evan Daines and Scott Stevens just to name a few for hot rod stuff . And I could give a whole list for other genres. Growing up, I’d say Rat Fink was a pretty big inspiration as well, and later on knowing more about Ed Roth and what he and a group of others did for the hot rod industry. I have a newfound respect for those guys. Really things would
There’s no doubt the next generations of auto art enthusiasts will name Butch Hartman as a legend.
Butch, 38 years old, says 2018 was a good year for him. He was featured in three different magazines, one of which included being the cover art for an old-school mag: Cartoons Magazine. He also got to work with several shops that he used to watch on TV back in the day, which he says was a crazy feeling for him. End of the day, he honestly just seems pretty damn happy to be doing what he loves every day.
This year, Butch hopes to do large shows like Good Guys and Barrett Jackson, and his ultimate goal is to be set up at SEMA and set more goals from there. (So, if anyone reading this can make that happen, hit up Butch Hartman immediately…) As far as his art career, for the time being he would like to focus on commissions and as well as creating and selling personal pieces and merchandise. Later down the road, he would like to do something geared toward the hot rod and custom art only events that highlight the kustom kulture aspect of the scene.
“In a world with a lot of digital representation throughout the industry, there is a large amount today’s youth going that way, with less and less picking/sticking with traditional art,” Butch says. “I think having something that showcases those who are sticking with traditional art would be a good way to keep it alive and show the younger generation, because it’s always been rooted with hot rodding.”
When asked his favorite work he has made, he said it is a toss-up between the patinaed Apache “The Ducks Guts” and the red shovel head, but we have a feeling his work is only getting bigger and better.
I THINK HAVING SOMETHING THAT SHOWCASES THOSE WHO ARE STICKING WITH TRADITIONAL ART WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO KEEP IT ALIVE…
Butch drives a 1973 F-100 long bed, so it is right up our alley here at Street Trucks. It is mostly original minus the rebuilt 390 motor in it. Living currently in Redmond, Oregon, you may even catch him cruising it around if you’re lucky.
To contact Butch Hartman, see more of and/or purchase his art (or if you want to help him accomplish a few of those career goals for the coming years), visit his website, www.bitchinincdesigns.com, or check out his Instagram @bitchin_inc._designs and his Facebook page Bitchin Inc.