03.12.2011 /

Here lies Austin Seeley Jr. who died in Arlington, U.S.A. in 1796. That’s him with wings in the centre. The heart symbol on his chest represents his soul and the birds represent its flight from the body. Those two hands show the soul’s ultimate destination and usually point upwards. But in Jr.’s case it looks like he’s staying put. Perhaps the cutter imagined he would want to haunt the local townsfolk, or maybe he had unfinished business…

This gravestone is so playful, the imagery could be straight off a greetings card from the 1950′s or the present day.


Von Dutch

10.09.2010 /

Long before his daughters sold his name to the rag trade, this is Von Dutch in his prime: classic flattop, flute, plastic third eyeball and a pinstriping brush in his ear. My fourteen-year old mind was quietly fried by this image from Hot Rod Magazine (1974) as I was trying to piece together the story of Southern California’s custom car scene from a small terraced house in Blackpool.

The article I was reading was a requiem for that era (ancient history even then) and Von Dutch was a kooky artist who showed up to stripe and flame cars at Ed Roth’s shop on Slauson Ave. Thinking about it all now, the movie in my head plays out as a mash up of American Graffiti, Two Lane Blacktop and Kustom Kar Commandos. A celebration of candy apple, metalflake and pearl. Dazzled by chrome, smoke and fire! Twangy surf sounds! Beatnik babes! Howl! meets Herman Munster on Venice Beach…