Artist Profile, Keith Weesner
Just 25-miles north of Los Angeles; a city steeped in car culture since the inception of the automobile lives artist Keith Weesner, who himself is steeped in the same automotive culture. Weesner, with his soft-spoken demeanor possesses an above average and distinct artistic ability. That ability has put him on the map, and in the living room of many a Gearhead ’round the world.
If a label had to be applied “Low Brow Art” (a seemingly self-depreciating moniker coined by none other than Robert Williams, one of Weesner’s influences) is the style in which Weesner plies his craft.
The old folksy saying “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the old oak tree” is definitely true in Weesner’s case. Like most in the automotive culture, Weesner can attribute his life long passion to the influence of his father, Jerry Weesner. His father is an author, editor, photographer, artist and most importantly a hot rodder. He was a tremendous and loving influence on his son. It was at an early age that Keith practiced drawing his fathers old Fords in their Long Beach back yard. Growing up in the late 70s and 80s in the Los Angeles area, he was also influenced by the underground punk rock and skate boarding culture. It cemented young Weesner’s direction in life, though he may not have known it.
In the 1990s a new movement was afoot by these hot rod children from the 80s; that movement involved bare bones hot rods, old parts found at swap meets, tinted primer, loud music, and louder exhaust. These audacious youth flew a defiant flag in the face of what was considered the standard in modern day hot rodding and customizing. No billet aluminum carved wheels, no smoothie Tupperware looking hot rods, those were for the old men, the “Gold Chainers.”
These youth in many instances made the Gold Chainers uncomfortable, if not nervous. He found himself with a group of like-minded individuals that organized themselves into a car club named the Burbank Choppers. At the time Weesner was working as an animator at Warner Brothers and joined the club. The young club was even featured on the cover of a Petersen publication in 1999, something that had not been done for a long time. The Choppers are still gathering and driving their vintage hot rods and Weesner is in the middle of the pack often supplying art for their shirts and other promotions.
These days you will find Weesner making his living as a full time independent artist working from his home studio just north of Los Angeles and raising a family. When time and money permits he still tinkers with his hot rods and customs, but his dedication is to his full time craft of creating unique automotive art.
In his own words “I’m an artist/designer that studied Industrial design at ACCD in Pasadena, did background styling for action/adventure animation at Warner Bros for 13 years, and currently do paintings and drawings of my particular fantasy world of stylish characters, vehicles and environments, influenced by movies, comic book art, thugs, vampy women, and dark alleys lit by bare light bulbs…
How’s that for academic art explication?
Weesner’s work is revered by hot rodders all over the world. Fellow Southern California artist Coby Gewertz of Church Equipped is a big fan and collector of original Weesner art. The Rodder’s Journal has used Weesner’s renderings on numerous tee shirts. His booth at events like the Grand National Roadster Show and the Mooneyes Car Show in Japan is swamped with fans and enthusiasts. They come to meet the man and marvel at his creations, snatching up all they can.
He works in traditional acrylic paints as well as pen and ink as seen by his paint palette. His studio mate is his French bulldog Molly. The studio walls are littered with cool art, collectibles, model kits, sculptures and hubcaps. Much of what you see in these pictures and on his website is offered for sale including original works, prints, lithographs and tee shirts.
Like many in the hot rod scene, Keith Weesner was able to turn his passion for old cars and hot rods into a living and a way of life. His art is his way of giving back to the culture he loves so much.
More Keith Weesner Art!