23 December 2011

Origins Of The Effect: Ray Mumford

Who did your masthead/logo?
First things first, it wasn't done for me specifically; This is the original artwork for my masthead; for the 'Down At The Club page in Street Machine magazine, circa 1979.

And the similarly-themed cover for their November '79 issue:

The artist in question is Ray Mumford, airbrush artist extaordinaire with an impressive portfolio of work, of which only a fraction is shown in this post.

If Ray had followed his original career aspirations though, it may well have been PC Mumford booking the drivers of the very cars he turned into mobile masterpieces. Its a good job for the custom car scene that Ray decided against joining the police force and eventually ended up as a mural artist...
Or rather (arguably) the mural artist, as few would argue that his work is perhaps the most accomlished and certainly the most original in the UK. His father saw Ray's artistic potential at an early age, but Ray had those police ideas in his head for a while which sidetracked him from his art. He joined an art college, but it seems college life wasn't for him, as Ray explains on his website:
"I was thrown out of art college (I got bored after the first year, so wasn’t there very often).
The head of the college told me that I would never get anywhere whilst I was obsessed with cars! Well he was spot on.
I was later cited as one of their ‘success’ stories, to new students, by the same head.
I did actually benefit from my time there though. Particularly from ‘Bob Knee’, he taught me how to appreciate hues and textures and to experiment with colour. Brilliant man.
But I probably learned most from a fellow student, Alan Wilson (Wilf). He was my main inspiration, I always wanted to achieve a certain quality that came so easily for him. Never did though. We are still the best of friends.
If someone had told us then, that I would spend half my life with an airbrush in my hand, We’d have spilt our drinks laughing.
Years later I was asked by a ‘person’ in Romford to design a paint job for a car. I did the design and was asked to go and see the result. I said it was awful (it was), in a fit of peak he said ‘you do better’.
He stormed out and I found an airbrush on the floor. Within an hour I had learned how it worked and did a couple of basic pictures on his fridge.
A few weeks later I saw those fridge panels on display at a custom car exhibition, he claimed to have done them. I put the record straight, and suddenly I was busy.
From little fridge panels, do full paint jobs grow." 
Ray's method once he approaches a job seems to be one of total commitment; I remember reading that he envisages the whole mural in his head before he even commits a single brush stroke to metal. And that when he starts, he has to keep going until the job is done; like for example, when he and his brother did the Bullitt-muralled Mustang, he apparently had no sleep for nine days, so focused was he on getting his ideas down on the car. When you see the pics of it below, I think you can see why it took so much in the way of time, effort and sheer dedication. Lets look at some of his other work.

The road-legal Formula Ford car owned by the owner of Willhire, a car hire company and sponsers of a race in the 70's and 80's called the Willhire 24 hours:

The first of a trio of Mumford muralled Mustangs; French Connection, a 1970 Mach 1:

The Enforcer, a '68, I believe, based on images from the film of the same name:

The aforementioned Bullitt; the murals are in the style of a film reel showing the legendary car chase:

American Graffiti; a Corvette C2:

3001, a promotional vehicle for Wolfrace. They sure like their six-wheeled vehicles; they revisted six véhicules à roues with the Sonic:

The Rolls-Royce art car:

Savannah and Arcadia, a brace of VW LTs:

Another Corvette, Tommy. Almost looks like you could play a mean pinball on the bonnet, doesn't it?

Car were not the only canvas Ray used; Led Zeppelin no less approached him to paint a Boeing 707; wonder if it was actually done?

More Ray Mumford art to come in 2012.

With grateful thanks to Ray Mumford for the use of his material. Visit his site at Raymumford.co.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment