Max Grundy is a name known far and wide for his one-of-a-kind “post apocalyptic” creations. One of the most talented and unique artists to have brought his own style to the automotive world, we’re quite fortunate to have him as an integral part of Team Slam’d. As the auto-industry has developed over the last century and-a-half, customs having popularized through the decades but automotive/car art is still a relatively new creative endeavor in comparison. We spent a day with the grand-master himself to learn more about what makes him tick:
Photos: Mike Alexander | Words: Michael Phillips & Mike Alexander | Video: David Apodaca
Max Grundy’s unique body of work draws inspiration from a variety of related and un-related automotive factors. Fascinated by the concepts and implications of propaganda used in the eras of World War, many of Grundy’s designs are visually rooted in golden propaganda era techniques. Similar styles and philosophies of artistic expression were used to develop american comic books, bringing life to modern western mythos. Coinciding with his attraction to the genre, comic books and particularly those of the 1940s also influenced this combination of bold style and design.
The heavy black outlines and bold / block color technique is indicative of classic americana. In addition to being iconic styling of comic books, war-time propaganda, and american traditional tattoo style, thematic elements used by Grundy can be found in pop-art, art deco, and post-modern european fine art. These all tie to other styles again and fit congruently with Grundy and his ability to beautifully mix mediums for their striking results in the automotive realm. Furthermore to the various styles and influences, Max brings all of his own personality and soul to the canvas when creating each and every design. A constant fascination with the concept of phobias and their extreme diversity is one of the many fascinations that Max attributes to his inspirations, as many of his art pieces feature a characterizing phobia that lends itself to the visuals and color schemes used.
Originally from Utah and holding a Master’s Degree in Art History, Max Grundy began his career as an Art Teacher but something that kept nagging him back then was the way the “real art world” viewed automotive art. His teachers and professors throughout school were constantly quoted as saying things like – “You’ll never make a living being an automotive artist” – which of course, only fueled Grundy’s fire to go out on his own.
With a very supportive girl friend (now wife), Max decided it was time to pursue his art full-time – and knowing that Utah just wasn’t going to cut it, they packed up and headed to LA to be fully immersed into the Southern California automotive mecca. Of course, this was a huge risk, but his heart led him to fully pursue his passions and continue to grow them into what they have become today.
His artwork has continued to evolve and polarize. Over the last decade, Max has been commissioned by major manufacturers, SEMA, and even Disney. The now theme and tagline for Max’s work is one that he has long seen as his identifying thesis. Simply put, “Fear is the new beauty.” Max sees his body of work as being a counter strike against the mass exploitation of fear in the media for control and propaganda. By flipping the tables with a paint brush, Max displays the fears that consume people into beautiful and soulful creations, thus disarming the tool of mass media. In his own words:
“My creation blows up the daily powers of fear to an extreme ratio, then puts this spectacle into the gallery environment. When the viewer sees it in this situation, it will become a tangible thing made of shapes and colors, instead of the specter of fear. It now becomes isolated. The threat is neutralized, maybe turned into a novelty. The fear is now a form of entertainment for the public.” – Max Grundy
Max’s artwork is next level and it’s everything we love about cars, everything we love about people, about hotrods, and about the custom Slam’d lifestyle. Max Grundy take what he loves, takes what he believes, takes what he wants to communicate and through passionate hard work, he puts it on full display for the world to embrace. While the medium is different and the process unique, this is indistinguishable akin to what so many of us seek to achieve with our rides. Max and his team have since turned their attentions toward designing a few kickass custom vehicle builds each year under the moniker “Max Grundy Designs” with a few insane COE builds under their belts, we can’t wait to see what’s next! Many thanks to Max and his hard work in making the world a better place, one piece at a time.