Pen and Ink meets Grease and Oil
Cars and art go together well, sorta like hamburgers and fries. It should be no surprise, then, that there are several artists out there that see cars as subject, medium and passion. Johnny Mac (AKA John MacLachlan) is one such artist, specializing in pen-and-ink as well as technical illustrations and more.
For Mac, the art follows the cars. "I've always been into cars as long as I can remember," he said. Growing up, MacLachlan was obsessed with cars, poring over issues of Hot Rod and constructing model cars. His father was also a primary source of his passion, taking him to car shows and exposing him to car culture. "I would draw the cars I saw at shows, and spend my weekly allowance at the local Thrifty's buying model cars and hot rod magazines," says MacLachlan. "I actually learned what the car's parts were called by studying the model instructions and reading the parts ads in magazines. It was pretty cool being 11 years old and being able to point out a distributor or carburetor, even though I had yet to actually work on one."
As life goes on, MacLachlan has continued to grow and progress in his art. In high school, he took every art class he could, while during service in the United States Air Force, MacLachlan attended graphic arts school. MacLachlan's current job requires him to be mechanically proficient in aerospace rocket technology, but he continues to take art classes when he can.
Preferring to work in pen and ink, MacLachlan creates drawings that range from conceptual to highly technical. Among his works, the theme of "exploding parts" is particularly prevalent. Every nut, bolt, valve and spring is accurately represented in these pictures, which bring the term "exploded diagram" to a whole new level. MacLachlan explained his process for coming up with some of his art, contracted pieces drawn for clients. "Sometimes a client will say, I want this car, this color, these wheels, etc.," He says, adding, "But then you get other clients who kinda know what they want, or they do know what they want, they just don't know how to express it." MacLachlan often converses at length with the client to determine what they want, and puts together quick sketches to whet their appetite. "Ironically enough, these are usually the easiest people to please. If you think about it, that makes sense. After all of those conversations and sketches in order to finalize the design, I inevitably become more familiar with the client. And as I said before, the more you know about your subject, the better the art," MacLachlan says.
MacLachlan's artistic gene is not a recessive occurrence, as his father painted as well. When asked about his favorite piece of art, MacLachlan replied, "When I was about 15 years old- he painted a small oil of a Cragar wheel with the reflection of a racing helmet in the chrome." Although MacLachlan begged his father to paint more like it, he never did. The piece was sold to a man who had driven three hours through driving rain to buy it-for a whole 40 dollars. Explaining his father's rationale for selling, MacLachlan said, "After that guy left, I asked my father why he didn't charge more, and he said, "Did you see that guy's eyes? He loved that painting. I've never had a reaction like that before. That was payment enough."
Art for MacLachlan is more than just what HE wants to create, it stems into his everyday life and work. "Ha ha! It's still art, and I love it," he says. MacLachlan isn't the only one who loves his art- Hemmings Auto Blog has done a few short articles on his work. We are sure you'll be diggin' it, too. Check out more of his work at his web site HERE, or his blog, HERE.