The computer has revolutionized so many things in our life that there wouldn't be enough space on this page to list them all. We have everything from software that will tell us if our four-link will bind up before we even set foot in the shop to programs that can show us what our truck will look like body-dropped, shaved, and sporting some wicked paint. The talent pool that has been able to tap into programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator is nothing short of amazing.
Take Joe Iacono, for instance. His unique approach to digital renderings combines the old-school styles with new-school techniques. Quite a few of his pieces have been featured in various street-rod magazines as well as highlighted by manufacturers such as Weld Racing and DuPont Paint Hot Hues. We sat down with Joe for a quick Q&A session to find out where he thought our trends were going as well as what artists have influenced him.
ST: Hey, Joe, thanks for sitting down with us. How did you get started?
Joe: I have been around hot rods my whole life. My father has a full machine shop at home, so the culture has been a big part of the family.
ST: Well, they say the family that builds together, stays together. Who are your influences?
Joe: My father has been the major influence. I saw him be a part of some very cool projects growing up. My father was always dabbling in all kinds of media. My main influences in terms of illustrators, though, are Steve Stanford, Thom Taylor, and Chip Foose. These three guys have the most recognizable styles in the industry.
ST: Those are definitely some of the heavy-hitters. You do all of your renderings in Adobe Illustrator, right? How long does it take you to do a rendering?
Joe: Yes. I can get an idea out in about three hours. Most of the time, however, I really want to nurture the details, so it takes a lot longer. I like to do as many looks for the client as possible until we are both happy with the lines and look of the car or truck.
ST: What are the advantages of doing digital renderings?
Joe: Speed of changes. Without digital, you don't have the luxury of doing any kind of modification as quickly. Sometimes it feels great to get the hand on some paper. However, as with any tool, the computer can work just as nice, and to your advantage.
ST: Have you owned any hot rods or custom trucks?
Joe: Yes - a '28 Model A pickup, a '71 El Camino, a '34 three-window Coupe, two Chevy S-10 Blazers, and an '01 S-10 Extreme.
ST: That's a pretty good crop of vehicles. Where do you see trends going over the next year?
Joe: SEMA is the best place to see where we're going in the custom world. Every year, it gets more and more exciting. Personally, I love the paint. There are so many new and interesting ways to make an attractive-looking project.
ST: Are there any trends you would like to see go away?
Joe: I think we are lost in the world of wheels that are starting to look wagonish. Are we going back to the buggy era? I think there are maybe two or three trucks that can look good with 26-inch wheels, but in many cases, it's a little ridiculous. It's all about fit and finish. It's like shoes: If a 10-inch shoe fits really nice, you will look lame wearing a 14-inch.
ST: I see a lot of older vehicles in your portfolio, do you ever mess around with late-model vehicles?
Joe: I get a lot of requests for older trucks and hot rods, however, I love the modern late-model stuff as well.
ST: Do you have a favorite painter in the industry? If so, why?
Joe: Art Himsel has always been one of my favorites. He's been in the industry a long time, and has so many concepts, it would blow your mind. Art developed his own style and look. His shop has to be one of the coolest places I have ever been. Any art enthusiast would drool at his shop, art, and collectables that could keep your eyes busy for days.
ST: Thanks again for letting us pick your brain a bit. If others want to do the same or have you do a rendering for them, how can they get in touch with you?
Joe: They can see more of my work at www.joeiacono.com, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (925) 202-9595