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exhibition slideshow
BONE CRUSHER RAT RODS

by Mark Sheppard

"Kustom Kulture" Ink Drawings

On View
October 3 - November 14, 2009


OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION
Saturday, October 3, 2009
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

See the Limited Edition Print

With a nod to the West Coast "Kustom Kulture" of the 1950s and 1960s, Mark Sheppard unveils more than a dozen original "hot rod" ink drawings in PHD's Portfolio Gallery. The works are loosely inspired by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's grotesque caricatures - typified by "Rat Fink" - which depict imaginative, outsized monstrosities driving representations of the hot rods Roth and his contemporaries built. Mark Sheppard, however, has created an original crew of animated skeletons driving impossible vehicles which he refers to as "creatures who won't die driving cars that won't break." The artist has also released a limited edition print based on his ink drawings. Bone Crusher Rat Rods will be on view October 3 through November 14, 2009, with an opening reception Saturday, October 3, from 7 to 10 pm.

Mark Sheppard, a Michigan native, earned a BFA in Painting from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, and is an MFA graduate in painting from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 1993, Sheppard has worked as an artist and instructor in St. Louis.

"Growing up, drawing was my favorite pastime. Without much training, I turned toward artists such as Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, creator of "Ratfink" as well as other out-of-this-world creatures in the Hot Rod culture. I also learned from a comic book called 'Car-Toons' that gave drawing tips in every issue. I remember spending countless hours trying to master the three-quarter viewpoint of a car. I was obsessed with one of my creations which I drew regularly: a '57 Chevy Hearse with huge rear tires and a raccoon tail hanging from its antenna.

Once I got to college, I left that all far behind.

Since 2005, my obsession with rat-rod machines has again found its way back into my work. Though having studied ink drawings by masters such as Durer, Daumier, Goya, and Harrison Cady, I returned to the influence of Ed Roth. I am interested in whimsical and quirky characters but equally interested in re-imagining a view of the automobile and its future, in the context of its historical beauty."

- Mark Sheppard

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