Art of Drive: Fred Lammers

How long have you been an artist, and how did it all start for you?

I've been drawing, painting and so on as long as I can remember and have kept on ever since.

How would you describe your art?

I don’t how I would describe my work, I really don't know. I just do what I feel like and try not to think too much about it.

Who and what do you cite as influences and motivations for your work?

I had many different influences over the years. Everything from great artists to comic books. Nowadays I try to make my own thing. Listening to music helps a lot for some reason. I usually hang out with my brother’s band when they're rehearsing and that for some reason makes me come up with ideas.

Take us through the process of creating a work of art from initial idea to final piece.

Ideas pop into my mind all the time. I sketch them down fast as I always have a sketch pad ready. The ones I like the most I draw again many times until I'm happy with it, although once in a while I get a ‘hit’ on the first try. From there I move it into Photoshop where I finish it. If I'm in a good mood and motivated, I can make a detailed concept car, which are so popular among my friends, within a few hours but sometimes days, even weeks. I also show stuff to my closest friends for feedback now and then.

Which mediums and tools do you work with, and why do they suit you best?

I use an A6 sketch pad. I always have one with me everywhere I go and I'm never ever going to replace it as I did with painting. I used to paint many years ago but when I tried out Photoshop I was hooked for life. When I'm working in Photoshop I try to do the same thing there as I would with paint. In my opinion the medium doesn't really matter much as long the brain who's using it has original ideas. Something else I've been into lately is to make my own fonts. For years I made the cartoon-like surf fonts which are easy but I also try to make ‘40s and ‘50s fonts from scratch. I don't like using bought fonts.

Has the way you work changed considerably over your artistic career. If so, how?

I've been through many different periods. You name it and most likely I’ve done it, but drawing cars and such has always been interesting. The mechanics of cars have not been so interesting, I’m just focusing on design. My brother is a genuine motor head and taught me a lot about cars from when I was a toddler. The surf and tikki material came about 12 years ago or so, except for Thor Heyerdahl who has been a hero ever since a I was a kid.

When planning a new project, what do you look for in a subject, and how does the project take shape? 

As mentioned earlier, ideas just pop into my head and it goes from there. I like to finish the one thing and move on to a new one as fast as possible. I can't stay with one thing too long or I loose interest.

Tell us about some of your favourite commissions that you have been asked to do.

My favourite commissions are posters and occasionally a record cover. They are done for friends or friends of friends. Malibu Surfing Assoc, Surfer Joe in Italy and many more. I'm honoured that they asked and trusted me to let me make stuff for them.

How do you see your methods and style changing and developing in the future? What’s next from the Fred Lammers studio?

I like to work with different techniques for each piece I do. I can't stay settled with just one style or technique. I know I can be predictable with the content, the theme. It's surf, cars or California most of the time. My favourite city, San Francisco, is always interesting as a subject too.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the art world?

Be true to yourself. Explore the art world. You do not have to come up with something completely new and original but try to make something old in a new and original way.

Fuel Tank