Why did Bruce Gossett get into art to get away from cars?
Bruce, how did you get started with painting cars?
Actually, I got into art to get away from cars. I grew up around car culture during the 70’s and 80’s muscle car thing. Not a lot of free-thinkers in that world. But in the mid-90’s I was introduced to the weirdos of car-culture and realized there was a whole world or left-of-center people that were into the extreme subculture of the American automobile. Basically, not your Mustang/Camaro crowd. By this time I started merging my early love of cars with the art pursuits. I’m still honing the skills to capture the essence of rods & customs. I like the challenge. It’s a never-ending learning process.
Did you go to art school?
Took a few core drawing and design classes at the local city college. Eventually I enrolled at the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, CA but bowed out at the last minute. I chose a different approach by studying and eventually meeting a lot of the artists I was into.
What sort of cars do you like to paint?
Whatever catches my eye at the moment. There’s no rhyme or reason most of the time. Usually some little detail or thought presents itself and I try to follow through. Sometimes effectively or not. You never know.
What inspires your paintings?
Action, movement, rhythms. And I like to sneak a bit of dark humor in when possible. Making art, for me, is a very visceral and personal thing. You go with the gut.
What are you expressing with your art?
The things I like to look at and have been influenced by.
What techniques do you use?
Primary mediums are acrylics, enamels, lacquers, airbrushing and screenprinting, I bounce between mediums to keep things exciting. I’ve been designing and screenprinting my own t-shirts since ’96. And then in 2000, I teamed up with Ira Cowart doing limited edition screenprinted rock/car show posters as Blackcat Press. To date we’ve done more than 100 posters. Ira does the digital stuff. Computers are not my strong suit.
I read on your website that you have done many exhibitions. Who is your audience in general and which audience are you aiming at?
People that are car-crazy for sure, but mainly the weirdo car people. I choose to focus on the subculture of this scene: the builders, the musicians, tattoo people – the freaks.
You have a clear unique style of painting which is easily recognizable. Is that something you learned or a natural influence?
Well, thanks, I’m tryin’. Not sure about that yet, but one hopes their stuff is easily recognizable. I am trying to merge a disconnected set of influences that to me are a very natural fit. Also, taste is a major factor. Bad taste in my case, ha!
What is your basic background?
As a kid in the 70’s, BMX and skateboarding. And later, cars, music, comics, surf and tattoo culture… I think California has shaped a lot of what I do.
What is your ultimate goal or your dream and what do want to achieve with your art?
It’s pretty simple, to continue making a living doing what I love. I’m not driven by fame and fortune. I mean, it’s natural as an artist to want your stuff to make an impact long after one’s gone. But ultimately I get pleasure and satisfaction making images and fortunately have an audience that appreciates it enough to throw down their hard-earned cash for it -- and that’s enough for me. That and finishing what’s sittin’ on the easel right now.
See also Bruces' Instagram photos and videos