Featured artist: Roy Putt. Dogs, punk and mail order catalogues have all played a part in this career
Punk rock isn’t usually a factor in motoring art, but for Roy Putt it hastened a career switch. He’d trained in graphic design in the 1960s, but when his prog rock band landed a record contract he turned musician for a decade. “But I got fed up of being abroad a lot, and then punk came along and it felt like time to change. I began painting in my 30s; the cars came along gradually and got a good response.”
Putt works mostly in traditional oils on linen, and figures are often central to his work. “I often go to Monza and between events the park is sad and empty. At a race it’s glamorous, magical. It’s the people who make a difference.”
And if his figures boast a breezy elegance that may be because he uses period mail order catalogues for inspiration. “I search through hundreds to find something that fits. It can take days,” he says. “The car I’m painting has to appeal to me, and that’s classics up to the ’60s. I can’t afford one so it’s a way of scratching that itch!”
His dogs are a bit of a trademark. “I’d done one painting of a flapper driving with a dog alongside and at a show I noticed the men looked at the cars but the women were interested in the dog. So I thought if can find a car I like and include a pretty lady and a dog, well – something for everyone.”
There’s always more than one picture on the go – currently a Martini Lancia LC2 – plus illustration work and commissions, but research takes much time: “If you get some detail wrong someone will point it out”.
Yes, Roy, we know all about that…