Is it safe to confess here? This year, I have to admit that in the grand scheme of things, there weren’t a lot of machines that really grabbed me like in years past at SEMA. There were good builds, I’m not saying there weren’t. There were beautiful cars. There were some off-the-wall “WTF?!” builds that were awesome, and some that defied time and era. On the other side of the coin, there were a lot of brodozers and more brand-new Supras than I expected…and I expected a lot. By Friday, I was working on trying to find some kind of redemption song for the show. I wanted something to make me feel like creativity hadn’t completely stuck to a recipe. And I found my solace with the paint gurus and displays.
Growing up I went through a lowrider kick, right about my middle-school days. I liked the idea of a 1969 Caprice or Impala laid out on 100-spoke wires, but I really fell in love with the intricate, detailed, flake-heavy paint jobs. Even if you can’t stand a lowrider, you have to admit that the paintwork put into those builds, the real-deal builds, is jaw-droppingly insane, full of color, detail and imagination. I found my painters, on the floor, airbrushing art, raffling off unique pieces, and experimenting with different layers. I spoke with artists about why they chose to work with which candies and how they layered up certain sections on vehicles in the booth. I saw color combinations, stripe layouts, fades, lacework, gradients and more, in bright colors…black and silver? Only as trim lines, friend. The darker orange of the motorcycle here was just one of the many neat shades I fell in love with.