Papa Pepsi & Granny | Custom Art Feature
This piece of custom painted art was created for Justin and Nova out of Austin, Texas. Their wish was to have an art piece created to memorialize not only their favorite car but also a bit of their grandparent’s legacy. Justin’s grandpa worked at a Pepsi Cola factory back in the day, and he and his wife were fondly known as “Papa Pepsi and Granny” to their friends and family. One of the most meaningful memories Justin recalled from his childhood was driving around with his grandpa, “Papa Pepsi”, in his 1930’s model convertible Ford Cabriolet. Since 1972, the car had been stored in Justin’s grandparents garage with a promise from Justin’s Granny that he could have it after she passed.
Today, the car is proudly owned by Justin and his wife who now have detailed plans to have it lovingly restored to its former glory at Murpho’s Rods and Customs in Austin, Texas. Luckily, when the idea came to them for a custom piece of art to honor the car and Justin’s late grandparents, they thought to use the original Ford Cabriolet hood that was previously damaged by Justin’s dad while driving the Cabriolet when he was young. Since they had found a replacement hood for the restoration of the car, they wanted to use the original patina hood as the “canvas” for this project.
Talk about an inspiring story! The clients gave me creative freedom for the overall look of the artwork. They had specifications for the car I would be painting on the canvas, or in this case, the rusted hood, so that it would look almost identical to the original ride. We matched the body color and soft top, bench seat interior, and trim package to Papa Pepsi’s original Cabriolet. The couple had collected vintage Ford Cabriolet advertisements over the years, which I was happy to use as inspiration for the overall look and feel of the art work.
While I was working with the clients to sketch out the design, we had the hood painted with a satin clear coat at Overspray Customs in Temple, Texas. This was to preserve the rusty patina of the hood. It also acted as a smooth base coat for the silver leafing and glossy enamel paints I planned to use. I transferred the sketch onto the hood with Saral paper which left a chalk outline of the artwork on the hood for me to follow while painting.
The first thing I did was tint the clear size with yellow paint so that I could see where I was painting it onto the piece (“size” is a fancy word for the clear glue that clings onto the silver leaf sheets). Then I brush painted in all the areas I had previously mapped out on my sketch of where I wanted a metallic silver look. Once the glue was a tacky, I applied the silver leaf by hand and burnished it down onto the hood with a little pressure. I applied an “engine turned” circular pattern into the leaf with a handmade tool from Valley Kustoms. Finally, I sealed the silver leaf with an oil-based brush on clear coat by Alpha 6 Corporation. The remainder of the artwork was then meticulously painted with multiple layers and a lot of details in Alpha 6 high gloss enamels.
It was important to me to somehow include the unique story behind the nick name of “Papa Pepsi” in this custom piece of art. When my clients told me they had even found original Pepsi bottles from the factory floating around in the trunk of the original Cabriolet, my imagination came up with a pinstriping design that highlighted the outline of a cola bottle in a subtle way. For the border, I pulled from the many different decorative elements and fonts I found in the vintage advertisements, including the unique sideways V8 logo. To me this car embodied the era of art deco and I wanted to showcase that in the pinstriping design and border. I used some of my own images from the Empire State building when I was in New York to get some of the accurate art deco shapes and colors included in the overall design.
Art and cars are tangible items that have the potential to live past our lifetime and tell a story that may be otherwise forgotten. To combine both in one piece of art is always a highlight and a joy. That idea is one of the main reasons I enjoy working a custom artist in the automotive industry in particular. It’s my hope that this piece will be passed down through their family to keep Papa Pepsi and Granny’s story alive in a generational way. It was a joy to not only meet these clients who share similar sentiments and esthetics as I do but also create a piece of special piece of art with them, completely inspired by their ideas and story.
I would also like to thank my brother of the brush, Blue Rooster Customs, for referring me to these clients.
The Tools I Used to Make This Art : Click the photos to purchase!
WANT TO WORK WITH ME TO CREATE A CUSTOM PIECE OF ART INSPIRED BY YOUR OWN IDEAS OR STORY? CLICK HERE!
Ken Mahoy says
I’ve had to look at this piece of art more times since reading your blog because I missed some of the incredible detail – the Coke bottle outline, the engine turned silver leaf, the Empire State Building-inspired artwork, etc. – just amazing! Having lost family in the last couple of years, I am so thankful there are artists like you who can create family heirlooms from a piece of their past and create new memories with. Great job, Kate!
Kate Cook says
Thank you for your compliments, Ken! I started this blog for the exact reason you mention. I wanted to share all the story and art details that a little Instagram grid square doesn’t. I appreciate your support.
Carlos Perez says
The colors are incredible. I worked and made a living as a color match tech for a mom and pop paint company . Mom and pop factory was sold over and over. We were bought out by several company’s. I spent 32 years in the paint manufacturing industry . I can really appreciate your work. . Thanks for sharing.
Kate Cook says
Carlos, Thank you for taking the time to post a reply. Your career sounds so cool! I love color matching in my work as well. Color is an amazing thing to learn about and work with. I appreciate your compliments!! Thank you!