You may or may not be familiar with Steve Anderson’s work. He is a talented illustrator that works on Excellence magazine as well as others. He was also involved in the creation of the New Beetle, Nissan’s Z and Titan, GM’s (Pontiac) Solstice, SoCal Belly Tanker and, most recently, the EcoJet supercar for Jay Leno..
I was fortunate to get a chance to interview Steve about his work and experience with Porsches.
Q. How long have you been interested in Porsches?
A. Since childhood – the early 70’s. A family friend was a Porsche owner and that exposure i what really started the fascination.
Q. What was your first Porsche experience?
A. Growing up in Pasadena, Ca, we lived down the street from the Rusnak (Porsche Dealer) family – always something interesting coming up the street at days end – after school, I used to sit and wait for the daily Porsche parade!
Q. What is your favorite part of working on Excellence magazine ?
A. Working with Pete Stout was and is a pleasure. Pete really appreciates the idiosyncracies that give Porsche the credibility it has today. In the early planning stages of my illustration, which is featured in the pages of Excellence, Pete and I would have these great discussions of color, body style and options… how do we visually differentiate 60+ years of production vehicles and show them all in a very interesting light relative to their era. All the memorable details of Porsche’s production history – they made for some really fantastic illustrations.
Q. What started your passion for illustrating automobiles?
A. I was an artistic kid and loved cars, it just what I did. I’m pretty sure a touch of OCD hasn’t hurt either! Even today, creating a really successful illustration has, for me, the same feeling of satisfaction as having driven it.
Q. What has been your favorite Porsche related artwork?
A. Probably one I completed back in ’08, a 1976 Turbo. The illustration was created as a son’s gift to his father, the original owner of the 20th Turbo Built, on his 80th birthday,. The car had a lot of early production details and we ended up doing a five view illustration to really thoroughly “tell the car’s story”. The detail level was extensive… on the Instrument panel image, I swapped the odometer readout to show the car’s VIN!
Q. What automobile of any make would you love to have the opportunity to drive and why?
A. Porsche… the 904 or 935. The 904 for sheer lightness and delicacy. I can imagine it surreal being seated in such a unique and beautiful little machine. The 935 because I love 911’s and sort of came of age in the era where they dominated international racing. Moby Dick just does it for me – sorry Melville not yours. Non-Porsche, I would have to say a Bugatti Type 35 – just getting the pedals right would be a kick. I love everything about those cars.
Q. You where recently selected by Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG to be an officially licensed artist of Porsche automobiles. How did getting this selection make you feel?
A. Actually was granted the honor in ’03. Porsche has a great relationship and mutual respect for the work of the Excellence staff so my efforts were validated largely by association. I try not to dwell on it (and my similar arrangement with Ferrari SpA) as it is perhaps the highest honor for someone in this line of work – I never take something like this for granted.
Q. I have seen on your website that you are able to illustrate a clients car. About how long does it normally take to get a finished work of the car (with the understanding that time will vary)?
A. Yes, that’s actually how I got my start outside of my “day job” as a car designer. A coworker and mentor, Freeman Thomas, gave me a copy of an early 911 blueprint and I thought it’d be cool to render it out and match the exact spec of an existing car. Word spread in the local PCA crowd and I was soon doing this for owners throughout the U.S. and points abroad. Today, this is my main endeavor – creating one-off illustrations which depict the exact specification of a client’s car. I try to keep the turn around within 3-4 weeks for the standard profile illustration but multi-views typically run 2-3 months depending upon complexity.
Q. What is the best way for one of my readers go about getting one of your works?
A. My prints are available directly (www.saillustrations.com) or through vendors such as Pelican Parts, Griot’s Garage or Auto Trend Graphics. Custom illustration orders are still done the old fashioned way with conversation and imagery via phone or e mail. It’s a privilege to have the talent to provide this service and I know these cars mean A LOT to the guys who commission my work so it’s important for me to understand their wants and how to best exceed their expectations. I’ve been lucky to have developed some great friendships out of this endeavor. My typical backlog is comprised of about 60% return clients.
After looking at Steve’s work I am planning to get an illustration of my current Porsche project once it is done. So, if you are looking for a great gift for a Porsche enthusiast or for yourself check out Steve’s website at http://saillustrations.com.
A special thanks to Steve Anderson for his time in take this interview and to Kerry Anderson for helping to setup the interview.
Please note that I am not affiliated with Steve Anderson in any way and this is NOT a paid interview.