by Stephanie Hart
There are a lot of ways to personalize a car. Now you can add extra body work, or express your individuality with a throaty exhaust. Perhaps you go for a wrap, or custom paint. And, when it comes to unique paint jobs, some of them are truly works of art. But that takes a dedicated artist like the one our Stephanie hart has found who creates masterpieces on four-wheels.
Stephanie Hart: Memorable music feeds the soul…and motivates Chuck Gamber. Trucks are his canvas.
He’s been painting right on them for 40 years! A special greeting welcomed us into jack of arts in Ellicott City, Maryland. We immediately felt right at home! This is actually Motorweek’s second visit to the art studio, and we found the same creative vibe it had three decades ago.
Chuck Hamber: I love what I do because I was born a creative artist and even in high school I remember freshmen year of high school when they ask you “What you want to do for a living?” I go “I want to be an artist” and they go “Oh no, you’ll starve if you do that. You don’t want to be an artist.” But you can’t change who you are and you can’t change what you do and you can’t change how you feel about your creativity.
Stephanie Hart: Ignoring the advice of administrators, a then 18-year old Chuck, took a gamble. With a $100 loan from his mom, he bought a sign case. He’s used it everyday since. Chuck is really proud of this piece of art.
And it’s easy to see why who doesn’t love the beach. He says it took him about a week to paint each side. He uses it to travel cross country to car and truck shows to show off his work and get new business.
Most of his work is a mix of old world and new age techniques. His prices range from $50 to tens of thousands of dollars…for unforgettable art work. Like he’s doing here on this freightliner.
Chuck Gamber: There’s a little bit of PT Barnum being the sign man. You got to know how to kind of put in the show and make your people look good. And if you make them look good, they get compliments and if they get compliments they say “Jack of Arts did that” or “Chuck did that and you ought to go see Chuck because he’s gonna put that little special thing to your truck and you’re gonna love driving your truck” and if your truck looks good you take better care of it, you get compliments and everybody gets to make more money.
Stephanie Hart: It’s a combination of talents that sets this shop apart from all the rest they also specialize in graphic design. That’s where Joe Westphal comes in he’s been running the digital aspect of the business for the last 13 years.
Joe Westphal: This right here is a design I did for a tailgate for a business a local business. It’s kind of his personal truck but he just wants to be able to advertise his business a little so he’s looking for something a little edgy, you know, something that will look cool but something that will still represent his business well.
Stephanie Hart: Jack of Arts nailed it.
Jim Byrd: It’s amazing when someone can take their love and passion and make a living out of it. I really admire him for Joe again.
Joe Westphal: So when you can stand back and look at your finished product and see I designed that I came up with that that’s really fulfilling and really helps you enjoy your work.
Stephanie Hart: Rewarding for the artists and their customers. Like Bill Kuiper, a former amateur race car driver.
Bill Kuiper: 1970 Mercury Cyclone heavily modified. It was beautiful.
Stephanie Hart: Back in the day, Bill asked Chuck to replicate a wood brothers stock car.
Bill Kuiper: I felt good. The car was a work of emotion for me.
Stephanie Hart: Translating that emotion into art…Chuck succeeded.
Chuck Gamber: It’s been a wonderful journey running a small art studio. I really did enjoy my life being able to stay an artist and I’m kind of glad I didn’t take it big because once you go big you have to manage people, you gotta manage a business, and you are not really being the artist anymore. You’re being a businessman and it’s not the money that drives me to do it although you have to make enough money to live. What inspires me is the trucks and the people coming in wanting something special done.