Artist Profile – Coby Gewertz of Church Equipped
Coby Gewertz was born and raised in Cupertino, California. The son of blown gas dragster racer and NHRA tech man Bob Gewertz, he and his brothers Marc (a regular contributor here) and Casey (An Indy Car crew specialist) grew up in the back seat of the family wagon going to Fremont, Sacramento, Lions, Irwindale, OCIR and whatever other western dragstrips were within a long days drive. You could say those experiences had a profound influence on him. Rather than picking up wrenches however, Gewertz took a pencil and sketched what he saw. It became quite apparent he was destined for a brilliant artistic journey.
After graduating from Monte Vista High School he flew south to attend Cal State University, Fullerton in 1990. After graduating with a BFA in graphic design, he headed straight to Hollywood for a fast-paced life designing movie posters and ad campaigns for the biggest studios tinsel town had to offer while staying true to his performance automotive roots by driving cool old cars (one of which was a Nash Rambler with such bad bump steer that he unwittingly “one eightied” it on the way home from Famoso Dragstrip!) Over time Coby proved to be an award-winning art director and creative director at each stop on his employment tour. An admitted workaholic, he continues solving design problems into the wee hours of the morning while most mere mortals are fast asleep.
Custom cars and hot rods held his attention just as much as the dragsters and gassers he observed as a boy. Coby found himself buried deep in the hot rod sub-culture. In his “spare time”, he created the Church Equipped brand including his self-published, limited edition automotive mini photo books, his iconic line of t-shirts, and silkscreen prints. Then came “Van-Go.” When finished, the radically redesigned, slammed and stupendous 1963 Ford Econoline lowrider van literally blew the lid off the custom car scene. In fact – it has yet to be matched in our estimation. Better yet? It has well over 30,000 miles on the clock. He drives his cars no matter what they are! If it’s possible to “one up” Van-Go, the ’34 Ford coupe he’s got underway right now just might be the car to do it. No ’34 has ever looked like this one folks. Trust us – it’s a giant “eff you” to the hot rod establishment. If anyone can pull that off and set a new trend, Coby is the man.
When his schedule permits, Gewertz travels the globe using just his iPhone camera and big imagination, capturing mostly abstract photos of the rod and custom underworld. You have seen his photo work here before. In fact, he designed our Fuel Curve logos.
But what we haven’t shown you is a peek inside his world. Not only does he create art, he collects it. Lots of it. He believes in it and it has come to define him. Von Dutch, Tom Fritz, Dirty Donnie, Weesner, Roth, Kenny Youngblood, Dennis McPhail, Dean Jeffries and so many other artists and their works occupy his walls, hallways, and workspace. He buys incredibly rare stuff off eBay and has even managed to collect things around Southern California like prototype Mickey Thompson sand cast molds for hot rod parts as well as a full set of mag wheels used on Thompson’s “Challenger 1.”
His best gal – a 130 pound Great Dane named Bonnie seems to appreciate the art too. We received these images from his brother Marc a few days ago after they spent the day together cruising Van Go and having lunch. We are happy to give you this quick look into the life of our friend, Coby Gewertz.
Photography by Marc Gewertz