Joel Clark – FEATURED ARTIST –
Not a brush in sight, but poster techniques & a scalpel create impact
Here’s something different: to produce his vibrant images, Joel Clark doesn’t use brush or pen. He wields a scalpel. Every piece of colour is hand-cut from vinyl. Instead of conventional gradation, Joel picks two or three shades to indicate curves, among a restricted palette of bright colours.
“I start with a photo,” he says. “I prefer indoor shots because of the great highlights from windows. That’s when the car really pings.” Those highlights, tiny as they are, he cuts out individually to reveal the base white through the colour layer, itself an abstract shape that only delineates a car once placed next to the other elements.
“I like to play with the negative space,” he says. “In my Group B rally pictures there’s no outline or structure to the cars, yet they’re all defined.” As for the vinyl, it’s the same material signwriters use. “I’m back full-circle – my first job was making signs,” Joel says. (Based at Silverstone, too; the racing passion is long-term.)
“The vinyl has the same finish as the cars I’m depicting so I’m showing highlights on the original in a shiny material and once it’s hung there’s a new set of reflections, almost like the real thing. No other material can produce that effect.”
This has led to Joel applying vinyl to three-dimensional objects such as car doors. “When the car passes, you see a moment of light and reflections. I try to catch that snapshot, the trees, buildings, signs imprinted permanently on the window glass and the panel paint.” As far as he knows, Joel is the only motoring artist working this way. Good to know that our much-portrayed subject still inspires fresh approaches.