Since automotive design is basically an artistic endeavor, art has always been a part of automotive life. However, for many years automotive art was the product of design studies, design departments of automobile manufacturers, or aligned with automotive advertising. Automotive fine art did not exist as a separate art genre. However there were a few car lovers who happened to be artists and enjoyed painting cars simply because they loved the subject matter. But for an artist to be successful, there must be a market. And there were automotive enthusiasts who were interested in buying art. So in 1983, a group of six artists received invitations to display their works at the Meadowbrook Concours in Detroit. During this exhibition, these artists decided to form an alliance devoted to exchanging ideas and keeping current on trends in automotive art and so the Automotive Fine Arts Society was born. The artist credited with founding this society is Ken Eberts who has been its president since that time. Ken is recognized as one of the world’s leading automotive fine artists. He originally worked in the design department at Ford Motor Company. Then in 1968 he embarked on a second career in automotive fine art. Since then, his works have appeared in magazines, on Christmas cards, posters, and book covers. Ken also has an interest in architecture and many of his automotive works include an automobile set against the backdrop of an interesting building. He has been a two-time winner of the Peter Helck Award and the Richard Teague Award for the ‘body of work that best exemplifies the spirit of the automobile.’
Bill Neale is also a member of the Automobile Fine Arts Society. In addition to automobiles, Bill paints the people associated with the industry such as drivers and owners. Bill has an aviation background and both cars and airplanes are often featured in his compositions. Bill’s work has appeared in all of the prestigious automotive magazines such as Road & Track, Car & Driver, and Automobile Magazine. He has done posters for many Automobile Concours d’Elegance and other automobile events such as the Monterey Historic Races, Houston Classi-Chassis and Carroll Shelby Nationals. He is the poster artist for the Colorado Grand Rally. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from Europe, the United States and South America including the prestigious Peter Helck and Athena awards.
Jim Dietz is another contemporary artist who paints automobiles. However, Jim is a historical artist who specializes in aviation and military subjects as well as automobiles. Jim is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design. He began his career in art as an illustrator doing automotive ads, movie posters and book covers. But in 1978 he changed from commercial illustration to historical art. In 1997, Dietz won the Stanley Wanlass Award for ‘excellence in strength of design and composition echoing the spirit of the automobile’ at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance. He also won a Peter Helck Award in 1999 and 2,000 at the Pebble Beach Concours’ d’Elegance. In addition, he has received numerous other awards for his aviation and military art. Like Neale and Eberts, he represents the best of a new genre in art.