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The Kick Off: Sea Miata

North of Seattle is the second largest island of the continental United States, outsized only by Manhattan. Accessible via ferry on the south and by car at the other end, it was home to Simpson Designs and this Miata in 2006.

I drove there for the expressed purpose of photographing the car and arrived in the waning light of the day. Jim Simpson was in a garage at the residence, hard at work on a rare vehicle that he called a Nardi. He had two of them. Very interesting vehicles. It was the first time I’d ever heard of putting brakes somewhere other than in the orbit around the spindles.

He was kind enough to drive his Italia to the end of an adjacent cul de sac where I could walk all around it taking pictures.

I took  more photo’s when the car was up at the garage.

It was fascinating to visit this man and see a little bit into his world. He designed and marketed the Italia body kit and has since then come up with even more of them for all generations of the venerable MX5 sports car.

I came home and used the pictures to help kick off my own project that would consist of my best art. Three of the paintings in the 2100 project set feature Mazda Miata cars in Simpson’s Italia form. This is the first.

Being poor, I opted to recycle existing materials. This meant taking a 1960’s Robert Wood print and preparing the panel with sealer and paint. Then I sketched the car and did a heavy aquatint sort of paint job over the lines, which still show.

This is a process left over from my school days. It’s simple and time consuming, but it worked. I printed a page sized photo of the car and sketched directly on the panel, using it as my model. Since my camera at the time was a Canon Elph, there was distortion to correct for. To capitalize on the open top theme (freedom, one with the environment) of the car, I placed it at the edge of the sea.

With this, the 2100 project began! It was October, 2006.

sketch01 sketch2 sketch04 sketch05 sketch06 sketch08b sketch10


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