The Art Of Carlo Demand
This one is gonna be a tad off-topic, so please excuse the tangent. In the last week or so, I’ve been busting my ass trying to get the Atomic office and shop cleaned up. While doing so, I came across a book that was given to me by Lee Pratt. Lee stole the book from the Weeks Junior High School Library in Des Moines, IA.
Maybe “stole” is too strong a word… Knowing Lee, he probably just forgot to return the thing. In any case, it’s mine now – come and take it Dr. Cheryl.
The book is titled, “The Big Race” and it tells the story of the history of International racing from 1894 to 1955. All of the illustration within was done by Carlo Demand.
Now, the H.A.M.B. has a long history of supporting the Automotive Arts. And finding this book this morning made me think about how ridiculous it is that we’ve never really covered one of the most important figures in the history of the scene. By a lot of accounts, Carlo was the first artist to really focus on the Automotive world and by just about every account, he was the first fine artist to really do it justice.
In any regard, Carlo was born in Germany in 1921 to a family full of car guys. This early exposure had him drawing wheels from a very young age, but it was all interrupted by WWII. Carlo was drafted into the German Army in 1943, served on the western front, but someone how managed to switch allegiances and fight for the French Army before the war was over.
After the war, he moved back to Germany and began to help the Americans by doing illustrations for their Recreation Service Publications. From that time forward, Carlo painted and drew ten to fourteen hours a day for the rest of his life. He did work for all sorts of European publications and just about every American Automotive pub in existence.
And Carlo was so good that skipping over genres was pretty common for him as well. He did plenty of aircraft illustrations, some ad work, and even a number of covers for Mad Magazine.
But what interests me the most about Carlo is that I think he was pretty much the first guy to JUXTAPOSITION the grace of the automotive form with the ugliness of human competitive nature and the disaster that can bring. You know those incredible pieces that Robert Williams has done in the past where a roadster is being chased down the highway by a wrench wielding monster? Road rage on canvas?
Think of those pieces and now check out these early works by Carlo:
Amazing stuff, right? And I know you can do a google search and find all sorts of Carlo’s more refined and elegant works of art, but it’s these early charcoal sketches of his that really do it for me. This really is early racing in charcoal stills.
So there… We’ve got the Carl Demand base covered now. Thanks for hearing me out.