Tom Fritz Masterclass Part Two: Going Deep


We set out for an interview, and got a masterclass instead. The Round Six gearheads were fortunate to spend nearly five hours hanging out with legendary automotive artist Tom Fritz. We learned and laughed more than we have in years.

We had set out to sit and talk art and life, but managed to take this into masterclass territory. In part two, Tom builds upon the foundation, and offers sage advice, time-saving tips and a bunch of laughs.

Things covered in episode two of this series:

  • Continuing Tom’s recollection of early visual inspiration
  • Use of dramatic lighting
  • Drawing on personal experiences to create work
    – The universal draw of humans to machines
    – Telling a story in the work
  • Selecting a historical era or subject for your work
    –What sells?
    –Avoiding being too specific
    –Learning to tailor the work to your market
    –Balancing a personal taste for the subject VS what will sell
  • When drag racing was raw
  • Reference materials
    –Avoiding Copyright issues
    –The value of creating your own reference materials
    –Knowing the historically-accurate details
  • Commissioned work
    –Selecting which jobs to take, and which to turn away
  • Tom’s US postage stamp project
    –The process of landing the job
    –Working with a team of Art Directors
    –Not being able to sign the original paintings… and why
    –The original paintings are now in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum
  • Painting medium
    –Surface substrate selection, the Tom Fritz way
    –Feel of the brush on the surface
  • Chemistry
    –A discussion on painting medium
    –The value of using your intuition and experience to select the right mixtures
  • Supplies
    –The changes in standards of pencils, paints and more
    –The value in being adaptable to new technology
    –Sourcing older supplies
  • A business pitch that may or may not involve a deceased artist’s hair
  • Tom’s favorite color, of course

tom fritz sema

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