The Cartist

'Round Up' article

The following article was featured in the September/October 2020 issue of “Round Up”, the official magazine of the Mustang Owners’ Club of Great Britain.  The magazine is distributed to over 1800+ members and a digital copy is available for members online. The article was also shared with the GT40 Club.  The Mustang Owners’ Club of Great Britain was formed in 1979 and is the original and largest Mustang Club in the UK.
 

 

 

Automotive Artist & Designer - The Cartist / Clive Botha

 

I am an automotive artist and designer based in Port Elizabeth, which forms part of the greater metropolitan city of Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

I grew up in the industrial town of Uitenhage (35kms northwest of Port Elizabeth – also part of Nelson Mandela Bay), where a large number of the working population either worked for the local Volkswagen or Goodyear factories. Being an artist was not considered to be a 'proper job' because of the prevailing working class attitude. At best, art was something that fell into the category of hobby.

My love for cars must be as old as I am, because I don’t recall when it started. Cars have had a strong presence in my life ever since I can remember. Growing up in the ‘motor city’ of South Africa, I was inspired by cars. Here Volkswagen of South Africa, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Isuzu SA, Goodyear SA and Continental SA straddle the city’s manufacturing sector. In addition, Hi-Tech Automotive pegs Port Elizabeth as a world leader in vintage sports replica production and is the only company in the world licensed to build genuine continuation examples of the Ford GT40 and Shelby Cobra.

My first real love of cars came in the form of a teenage obsession with supercars. Years before I got my license to drive, I would draw the cars I dreamed of buying—Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches. I took art as one of my subjects in high school and after completing high school, I registered at the Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela University) to study graphic design. We would occasionally touch on automotive drawing and design, which I really loved doing; but sadly, this was never part of the official curriculum.

After graduating, instead of pursuing my love for automotive art and design, I started my own graphic design business focusing on automotive related industries, but found that this left me little time to pursue art. It occurred to me in 2015, as I was fast approaching my forties, that I was beginning to feel a certain level of dissatisfaction with what I was doing. Perhaps, on a subconscious level, I felt that I had not really given myself the chance to express and fulfill my natural talent for drawing.

 
 
 

It wasn’t until my wife, Kerry-Lynn, an IT lecturer and researcher at the Nelson Mandela University, and I visited Las Vegas on a conference trip, that I would have a sudden realisation. Being a petrolhead, we visited the Shelby World Headquarters located just outside the city. I was mesmerised by the Shelby Mustangs being built in the factory and the Ford GT40s, Mustangs and Cobras displayed in the adjacent museum.

On returning from the trip, and with the excitement from visiting the Shelby Headquarters still fresh in my mind, I sat down and did an artwork of Carroll Shelby and his 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350. And something just clicked; I enjoyed the process so much and started doing more and more artworks.

 

 

I started investigating the possibility of doing automotive artwork, and went online to do some research to see if there were automotive artists out there who were making a living from their art. And what I found really surprised me.

I hadn't realised that so many independent, full-time automotive artists existed in the world. This was undoubtedly a key moment. I was fascinated by their drawings and paintings, but also by the idea that these people were actually making a living from drawing and painting pictures!

I saw this as a sign and after weeks of deliberation, I took a leap of faith and simply decided that it’s ‘now or never‘ and that I didn't want to one day regret that I'd never tried to pursue my passion. I simply decided that if other people could do it, so could I.

I had rediscovered my love for automotive art, dusted off my sketch pad and pencils, and reimmersed myself into my passion and I could not be happier! I went on to create ‘The Cartist’, a full-service automotive art and design agency, where I mainly specialise in classic and contemporary sports and performance cars and I've since done work for clients around the globe.

And although I render artwork of various brands, a large body of my work consists of rendering commissions for owners of Ford/Shelby Mustangs. And there’s a good reason why. The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic cars of all time. It’s been in many notable movies, featured in songs such as ‘Mustang Sally’, and has become the epitome of muscle cars to young and old reaching sales figures of well over 10 000 000 globally.

The same popularity is also true for another legend in the Ford stable – the Ford GT40, as seen in the 2019 release of Ford v Ferrari, the acclaimed Hollywood movie about the 1966 Le Mans endurance race. All the classic Ford muscle cars in the film — including the iconic GT40, Cobra and Daytona Coupe — were manufactured by Hi-Tech Automotives factory in my home city of Port Elizabeth.

 

 

As a full-time automotive artist I’m relatively still ‘new in the game’, but having experience in design has served me well and I’ve found that it’s a good marriage between my passion for art and cars.

From Pencil to Pixel to Print - I create unique drawings and designs. Everything from the pencils and paper I use, to the packaging the artwork is shipped in, is authentic, original and of the highest quality. Old-school techniques are combined with modern materials, to make sure that every artwork that leaves my agency is a beautiful masterpiece.

I would describe myself as a perfectionist and I am extremely technical and detail-oriented. I precisely reproduce every line and shape of the car on the paper, so I can fill the car with colours, highlights and shadows. The complex shapes of cars create some very interesting reflections and shadows, which is what I enjoy when I’m drawing a car. With every stroke, the drawing starts to look more realistic and comes to life on the page.

My mediums of choice are graphic markers, pens and pencils, however, I do not focus on one particular style or medium. I often incorporate pastel, gouache and airbrushing in my artwork which ranges from quick sketches to highly finished renderings.

I really love and enjoy doing commissions for clients. It’s just such a great feeling to know that people have entrusted you to create a unique memorabilia item of their car to treasure forever. All artworks are uniquely crafted to the clients’ exact specifications, securely packaged and shipped to them all over the world. Artworks are also accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and a high-resolution scanned digital file of the artwork. I’ve found that this is a fantastic addition to the original artwork, as clients can utilise this for a range of other uses, such as printing an enlargement of their artwork or printing it on various other materials, such as apparel, mugs and posters.

In 2016, I was accepted as a full member of the prestigious British Guild of Motoring Artists. This is a great honour and I am extremely proud to represent my country on this distinguished platform.

More of my work is showcased on my website www.thecartist.com where you’ll also find links to my social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

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