Monday, June 14, 2010

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth - Garage Artist

my friend Rat Fink

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth achieved many things in his life. He helped create modern pin-striping with his mentor Von Dutch, pioneered using fiberglass for one of a kind mobile sculptures mounted on fine tuned hot rods, and corrupted the minds of an entire generation with his "Rat Fink" monster shirts and model kits. 

After his enormous success in the 60's, Ed's celebrity receded until the "low brow" art movement gained traction in the 90's. A new generation of artists and pop culture addicts proclaimed him, along with Robert Williams and Von Dutch, one of the godfathers of their burgeoning scene.

His death was a crushing blow for his many friends and followers and an outpouring of posthumous praise followed.  The Roth phenomenon took place before my birth, but I'm truly amazed at his effect on the arts some forty years later. When I came to Los Angeles in 2001 I was able to take advantage of his resurgence in popularity, attending the Peterson Exhibit held in his honor, witnessing the still vigorous hot rod culture in California, and observing modern pin-stripers practice their craft in the style of the master.

Ed Roth's legend casts a long shadow, yet he has always been a guiding light to artists and gearheads alike. Here are some of his best known supporters and contemporaries musing on the art, influence, and contradictions of the unforgettable "Big Daddy" Roth -- 

Roth's "Beatnik Bandit"
from Juxtapoz magazine
Portrait of the artist as a young man
Ed pin-striping in his autumn years
Automobile magazine's obituary
Roth by Revell
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth with contemporary Von Dutch
Poster for "Kustom Kulture" exhibit that revived interest in 60's "low brow" culture
Long Gone John and Ed
Ed Newton and Ed Roth 
sundry business cards from Roth's endeavors
from Garage magazine

Ed and his clan
selection of Roth Studios' water decals 
Ed with Revell staff clad in Roth's monster shirts
One of Ed's enormously popular model kits from Revell
Ed in tux and monocle 
Ed's son Darryl Roth
my limited edition of "Rat Fink's Revenge" signed by Ed Newton and Robert Williams
Last Gasp's essential tome on Ed
Ron Mann's feature length documentary on Ed's legacy
Roth with "The Outlaw" rod and model 
Roth with his creations "The Beatnik Bandit", "The Mysterion", and hovercraft "Rotar"
Roth's "Orbitron" at Revell waiting to be measured. It disappeared a decade later -
Darryl Roth drives his father's rebuilt "Wishbone"
"Orbitron" lost -- and found
"The Druid Princess"
Ed takes downsizing to a whole new level at Snow College
The Roth family endures -

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