Tom Fritz is an American painter who many would say is at the top of his game. His subject matter consists of some of the most amazing cars and motorcycles known to man and his ability to capture them on canvas is truly amazing.

The paintings truly capture the light and atmosphere of the day but also the way he captures the movement is incredible. What strikes me about Fritz’ work is that while each car is different, also each scene is too. When I look at his images I almost see paintings of how beautiful landscapes would look at high speed with a car driving through.

Everyone of Fritz’ images are different. Different car and setting every time, the way he captures the day and the weather creating a sense of light on canvas without the help of shadows is remarkable. Looking at the paintings Fritz produces, it is clear that he has a profound understanding for how light works and moves.

For me personally, the images are relaxing. Although there is a lot of adrenaline and commotion in the images, the warm colours and smooth strokes make me feel at ease.

Part of an interview with Tom Fritz

How would you describe the art you create?

If I said I create to satisfy my eye and my soul it probably wouldn’t be good enough. I focus on representational interpretations of something I feel on a subconscious level.

I also dig the act of mark-making so I don’t try to disguise that. I want to play a game with my viewer; I want them to see two things at once. At one glance, they see abstract shapes of paint applied to the canvas, and in the flicker of an instant they see an object in dimensional reality appearing out of that seemingly disordered jumble of painted marks.

Which artists would you say have had the greatest influence on your work?

Come on, Kevin… you know I have trouble recalling names. Images are so much easier to recall – check my grades in Art History.

There’s a ton of ‘em, and I’m gonna miss some, but here goes: Renoir, Daumier, I marvel at the fluidity of Tiepolo’s line, Manet, (especially his later works where he was influenced by the avant garde Impressionists), Degas, Monet (for his color contrasts), Delacroix (for his expressive use of juxtaposing complementary colors), Morisot, Sargent and Henri (esp. for their highly economical, confident, and accurate brushwork). Van Gogh. Thiebaud. American Illustrators: Remington, Howard Pyle, Leyendecker (composition and awareness of contour and silhouette). Rockwell (for the narrative). Can’t forget Fuchs, Peak, Heindel, Cunningham.  Right now, I’m studying the Russian Socialist Realists. I take a little bit from all of ‘em. Really hard to say who’s influenced me most though.

I am personally fascinated by other artist’s working methods. So let me ask you about your studio, is it in the house or a separate building like Norman Rockwell?

My studio is in my house. Living in southern California, most people would kill to have my commute every morning. I go down seven steps, turn on the lights, and start destroying canvas.

Let’s get into a bit of your process. How do you like to work out ideas? Do you do thumbnails and develop it from there?

Oh yeah, a quick thumbnail is where I start. All it takes is a pen or pencil and a scrap of paper, a bar napkin, or matchbook… or a Sharpie marker on a linen tablecloth. Or a soapy finger on the steamy shower door. I’m trying to pull the image out of my head and lay the foundation. Scribbling little abstracts is a relatively painless way to work out a composition.

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