Artist Varies Style & Tools but Distinct Signature Stays Constant
Artist Charles Maher grew up in Miami, Florida, and learned to drive at the wheel of a ’55 Chevy Bel Aire and then a 1960 Chrysler when he was 14 years old, but it was later, when he attended a race with a friend, that he really fell in love with cars. He studied fine arts with an industrial design emphasis at University of Notre Dame. Although industrial design was more in line with Charles’ interests and talents than business (the subject his father wanted him to study), it still couldn’t contain all of Charles’ creativity, but it paid the bills and kept structure in his life.
Charles was hired at Ford Motor Company in 1968 for a brief stint, and after the mid-seventies economic downturn and layoffs, he worked at a graphic design firm in Detroit that did a lot of automotive work. There, he designed car graphics for Ford, GM, Honda motorcycles, and Toyota.
Throughout these years, he continued to paint at night and on the weekends as well as hone his woodworking craft as well, and eventually, he ventured out as an independent artist, designer, and illustrator. He has done cover paintings for AutoWeek, Sports Car Market, and his work has appeared in Racer, Road & Track, Mustang Monthly, Automobile, and Car Collector magazines. He attends several professional races and vintage racing events every year as part of his research, which doesn’t sound as boring as we usually attribute research to be!
Charles works mostly in acrylics, but he loves experimentation, so he frequently varies the way that his paints are applied or blended. Some of his paintings below feature splatters, while others looked carved on carefully with a palette knife. He uses a lot of color and shape to add interest and drama.