Art Appreciation: Early Honda F1

The Motorcycle Artwork of Kenji Shibata

Kenji Shibata's 1959 Honda Painting

Look back up at that ’59 Honda. Go on, Look.

That’s not a photo.

Let that sink in for a second.

I find that I tend to be of two minds on automotive art. I tend to be most drawn to either those pieces of work that come from one of two very different points of view. I love work that evokes the motion of a machine: Blurred splashes of color that are barely recognizable silhouettes of specific racing machines but with an emphasis on the frenetic movement of a high speed machine caught in a barely focused instant. But with almost equal reverence I can appreciate a meticulously detailed piece of work like these. It’s hard not to appreciate the careful study of the minutia of a racing machine. Kenji Shibata’s work is breathtakingly precise. It wasn’t until I saw this photo of his work in process that I realized I wasn’t seeing a beautifully lit studio photograph.

Kenji Shibata at work

In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like how we all appreciate the two essences of motorsport: The high paced courage and emotion on the track itself versus the slow, careful detail work of the long hours spent in the workshop in preparation for the track. I’m sure that’s why I am so drawn to these two apparently opposing aesthetics: because together they represent the full experience of motorsport.

More at Kenji Shibata’s site. Via 8Negro.

Ginther’s Bricks

Flickr user Biczzz has created this astoundingly nuanced sculpture of Ginther’s 1965 Honda RA272 from simple Lego. The level of detail Biczzz has managed to achieve here is really incredible. Sure, I’ve made my share of blocky Lego cars, but these gentle curves, the suspension bits, the windscreen! I’ve seen die-cast models with less detail.

Maybe with some practice, I could make a generic 60s F1 car from Lego. But this isn’t a generic 60s F1 car. You can plainly recognize it as the car that took Honda’s first victory in Mexico. Overcoming the constraints inherent in sculpting from Lego and still managing such a finely crafted result is absolutely fantastic!

Previously: Flying Bricks