by Dennis Brown
As a boy with a new box of crayons and a head full of flying saucers, I began my career as an artist. Eventually, my interest shifted to all things automotive. My dad encouraged me by making sure that we hit all of the auto shows that came to the L.A. area.
After high school, I enlisted in the army during the Vietnam era. I was stationed in Germany and assigned to the engineering and map making section. Once my drawing skills were discovered, I became the go-to guy for any art related project that the T.S. staff could dream up. Luckily, I scored a hand-me-down, slightly run-down V.W. Bug that was passed through the departing ranks of G.I's. It was just reliable enough to brave traffic circles and carry me throughout Europe in my off-duty hours. I met people from all walks of life in my travels, including a couple of L.A. art directors who were generous in sharing useful career tips for an aspiring young artist.
After the service, I attended Cal State LA, Cal State Long Beach and Art Center as an art and illustration major. Later, I accepted the opportunity to work with two former Art Center students in their L.A. based design firm where I produced architectural renderings for the next 15 years. The pressure to visually define the dreams of a varied and demanding clientele compelled me to constantly refine my skills with color, line and perspective. My goal was to retain quality while never missing a deadline.
Still, cars are my passion and the focus of sketching in my free time. Thankfully, I decided to follow up on a suggestion and sent samples of my work to Bill Motta, the late art director at Road & Track magazine. That move altered the course of my career! At first, he requested spot renderings in ink. Later, I was assigned full page, color illustrations. As a result of this exposure, I finally gained recognition as an automotive artist and work increased steadily. I am proud to be included as a founding member of AFAS and grateful for the many treasured friends and professional collaborations that followed. Pebble Beach has been a great showcase for our group to show the world how exciting automotive art can be.
Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with Universal Studios and other world-wide studios as a concept artist, WestWays and other magazines as an illustrator and Mt. San Antonio College as an adjunct art professor (35 years). I've also accepted many private commissions, even some that don't involve wheels, and continue to explore how my painting style can be applied to florals, wildlife and portraiture.