The Art of Women, Romance, and Cars
Mr. Jack Vettriano is a self-taught artist from Fife, Scotland inspired by a love of women, their style and the courtship of love and romance. He was profiled by Vanity Fair Magazine in 2012 and his work is collected by many including Jack Nicholson. In contrast to many automotive artists, Jack is known more for his non-automotive art. His most famous painting is called The Singing Butler and has been reproduced many times over as art prints and greetings cards across the world.
Q: You seem to love and live the magic of the 1940s and ’50s. Why are you so fascinated by the era?
A: I love the look and the style of the clothes from that time. Women wore high heels, dresses, stockings and red lipstick, and the men a proper suit, tie and trilby hat. It was a time where men and women still dressed up to go out and I can remember my parents getting ready on a Saturday night to go to the local dance hall. My Dad would play a record and my brothers and sister would watch them in awe. I hate it nowadays that you see people out at night wearing jeans and trainers (sneakers). It just doesn’t sit comfortably with me.
Q: What are your favorite cars from that era?
A: I have three: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL fixed head, Jaguar XK 140 and the Porsche 365.
Q: Do your have a favorite male fashion accessory from that era?
A: Yes, the table lighters. I am a keen tobacconalia fan and have collected Dunhill shagreen table lighters for some time. They are beautiful pieces to look and to hold. I am rather out of fashion with my views on smoking but I love the timeless accessories from that era that were created for smoking.
Q: Can cars be art?
A: I think so – when I was commissioned by Sir Terence Conran to create a series of paintings based around the Campbell Bluebird cars, I was in awe of their beauty. They were a series of machines that were built to break land speed records but were so sleek with clean lines and slick design. I really enjoyed working on those paintings and understanding the meticulous design process involved. In general, I am inspired by the shape and individual design of each car and I have been lucky enough to paint numerous classic cars throughout my career. I find them stunning and the perfect vehicle (excuse the pun) for setting a narrative in my work.
Q: Is your Mercedes-Benz SL your daily driver? What year is it?
A: No, it’s not my daily drive anymore. I sold it a little while back. It was a ’66.
Q: How long did you have it? Is there a story behind it that you’d like to share with us?
A: I had the car for about ten years and it did inspire a painting of mine, “Suddenly One Summer.” I wanted to capture a moment where a beautifully dressed woman is waiting to meet her lover and is waiting by her car. The Mercedes was the perfect match.
Q: Is there a type of music that you listen to when you paint?
A: I am a huge fan of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The lyrics and title to a song is perhaps more important to me than the music itself. I’ve often been listening to Leonard Cohen or Joni Mitchell and wondered “what would that look like?” I’ve named numerous works after a song title or lyric such as Dance me to the end of Love, Scarlet Ribbons and Bird on a Wire.
Q: What song/music do you like to listen to when you drive?
A: I enjoy listening to classical music and composers such as Ennio Morricone.
Q: You briefly owned the BMW Z3 that once belonged to Jay Kay. Why did you sell it?
A: It was left hand drive and I just couldn’t get to grips with it. The car dealer also had a beautiful E-Type Jaguar that I couldn’t resist. If I am being honest, the acceleration was a little dangerous for me as well. I knew I’d be in trouble if I drove it for much longer.
Q: What would your dream vintage car and journey be? and with whom?
A: It would be a Mercedes ’59 Convertible, driving along the Amalfi Coast with my girlfriend. The scenery is stunning and with a summer’s breeze, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect.
Q: Where would you most like to see one of your paintings hung?
A: I’ve had the privilege of seeing my work hung in numerous prestigious venues but having my self-portrait, “The Weight,” exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland in 2011 was a moment to savour. I am always thrilled when anyone or any organisation appreciates my work.
Q: In 2008 you had the chance to meet and paint Sir Jackie Stewart. What was he like as a subject?
A: He was a perfect subject- an icon of his day. I can remember being entranced by his style in the 1970s and even tried to replicate it myself. He has fascinating stories to tell about motor sport and I wanted to capture the magic of that era. As part of my research, he was able to provide me with films and photographs of the time. He was nothing but a pleasure to work with.
Q: What is your fondest memory involving a classic car?
A: I had a problematic Alfa Romeo Spider that I drove to a car dealer in the hope of having it fixed but in the yard was a Mercedes 250 SL which took my breath away. It was just at the start of my career as an artist and I had to really push my limits to buy the car but it was the sweetest feeling driving from the car dealer and back to my home in it. A magical moment.
To purchase some of Jack’s work, click here and make sure to enter ‘Petrolicious’ in the discount code area of the checkout page to receive a 15% discount.
To check out more of his work, click here.