Automotive Artist Alan Scott Greene is passionate about cars. How a Porsche 356 standing in a driveway with a striking sunset backdrop, made him fall in love. It's easy to see why!
I love the vibrant, dynamic art that you create. Tell me about how your love of cars began.
The first time I saw a 356 Porsche that a friend of my dad’s owned, when I was about 13, was when I really fell in love with cars. My dad took me to Phoenix, Arizona with him on a trip to see his friend. When we arrived one of those there was a beautiful, rich south westerly sunset – lots of oranges and purples. It was just stunning. The car happened to be parked in the driveway and with the backdrop of that sunset. I just fell in love. I found the reflections fascinating. I don’t think I’d ever really seen a Porsche before because we were living in Chicago and there aren’t many in that town that I’d seen. It was my first introduction to European sports cars.
The third car I ever owned was a Porsche. I got my license when I was 15. My first car was a Corvair. It was as close to a Porsche as I could afford and it was so much fun. When I had a little bit more money from working my job in high school I got my first new car. Dad had to help me out a bit, but it was new! So my first new car was a Plymouth Roadrunner. It was a hotrod American muscle car – very popular in 1969. I just loved that car.
When Porsche came out with a 914 it was affordable. I was so thrilled to be able to afford one so I bought the 914 and then after that the 911 and I’ve just been driving Porsches ever since. So that’s my love of cars.
In terms incorporating art, well, that’s a little different. Years ago I was driving a Porsche SC, a 911 classic. That was just a gorgeous car; I thought I was going to keep that car for a long time. But then I came across the riviera blue 993 Cabriolet that was just stunning. It reminded me of a car I owned in 1976, a lagoon blue Porsche. It was so similar and so stunning that I thought, “I just have to have this. I have to own this car.”
I met a few people from Southern California and we started going on drives through the hills in Malibu and up to Santa Barbra. We started doing all sorts of fun stuff like barbeques and renting out wineries and things of that nature. And I’ve always been a photographer. I was taking photos of everyone’s cars and posting on the site. People really seemed to like them so I started working with Photoshop to create different images. Then people started buying my work and one thing led to another and then I started to doing the pieces and printing them out. Then I started painting over them with acrylic paint. Word started to spread and people liked my work. They then started asked for custom jobs and my main focus was always automotives.
So you’ve developed your own technique in a very unique way. You use photos and Photoshop and acrylics and pastel. Tell me more about that.
Yes, you know, whatever the piece requires. I like to do lots of detailing. There are a lot of different techniques and programs. For instance, using Corel Paint and Photoshop. Digital techniques are always involved in my process. Hand painting with acrylics is also always involved. All of my work is multimedia. I usually start digitally but it depends. I’m all over the place as far as my design is concerned. My works are recognizable but they’re not cookie cutter. That’s what I aim for with each piece – something that is truly unique but recognizable in my style. It shouldn’t look like the same thing I just made with a different location or a different car. Those types of paintings all look the same. I try and create each piece uniquely but also clearly mine.
It’s taken me years to cultivate my style. I’ve worked hard at it. It reminds me of playing three-dimensional chess when you’re working digitally. When I start adding all the other variables and all the other layers it’s almost mind-boggling. Sometimes I create a piece and almost forget how I created it! It almost feels as though my muse takes over and creates the piece without my conscious being part of it. Sometimes it takes weeks and weeks to finish a piece. I’ll work until ungodly hours of the morning working on one piece but I just feel compelled to continue. Then when I wake up in the morning and see it in a whole new light again. What a first start with and end up with are so different. It always amazes me to see the progression to the end result.
Is there a difference in your approach to the more abstract work and some of the more photorealistic pieces?
It depends on the muse, truly. I sort of look at a piece and have an idea but it always just see what develops. That said my tastes evolve too. I’ll pick up a new technique that I like and begin to incorporate it in more and more of my work. It is a constant evolution.
I can imagine with the speed that new hardware and software are being developed that it could be a challenge to keep up with current trends and cutting-edge tools.
For me it really boils down to the programs that I use. I’m satisfied with them so they remain relatively constant. I could probably expand from there but that entails a whole new learning process. I like the results of the applications that I commonly use and it was a very long process of learning. There are always new things to learn. As I’m working, I pick up new tricks and tips. Even within the programs I have I am always learning new things. Sometimes the biggest challenge is taking what’s in my mind and manifesting it electronically.
Where do you find your inspiration for new work?
Hmmm. Well, I can’t work on something that doesn’t excite me. You’ll notice I do a lot of Ferraris, a lot of Porsches, and rally cars. Those are my areas of interest in particular. It’s sort of akin to sitting down to a meal prepared by a chef who loves what he’s working with. It tastes amazing because the chef knows how to cook. I feel the same way about my art. I know how to cook but it’s got to be something I love to cook. It really is a recipe.
The people who buy my art seem to like it. At least they tell me so. When you create good art, you strike a chord with people. And if you can’t strike the chord, your art will be lost in the shuffle. I strive to strike that chord with people so that my work touches them and they can get as excited about it as I do.
There’s no question that there is a certain audience that enjoys my work. I try to focus first on the cars that I love and second on the cars that have a large following. The people who love Porsches and Ferraris truly love those cars. They go to the races and they buy the gear and wear the clothes. Those are the same people who’d like to have a piece of art depicting their favourite car. My art is attractive to them. As always, art is in the eye of the beholder. I know not everybody in the world loves my art but thank goodness there are enough of them to create a living for me! [Laughs.]
Do you have any advice to other aspiring artists?
Work hard. If you have a dream, just put your nose to the grindstone and do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or that it’s not an admirable goal. Just work at it. It makes me think of a little cartoon that I saw once. There are two characters using a pickaxe to work away at a large rock that has diamonds in the centre. Eventually, the character on the top gives up and leaves even though he was just inches away from reaching the diamonds while the character on the bottom eventually reaches them after a lot of hard work. I think that’s just it. You can’t give up – you never know how close you are to the diamonds.