AA: Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
KE: Sure, I am a portrait artist to start with, I paint more portraits of dogs than people but I like to do both. I grew up mainly in Pennsylvania near Chadds Ford which is Wyeth country. I received a B.F.A. from Kutztown University and started my art career as an Archaeological Illustrator. I have been on digs from VA to MA and one for the National Park Service out in Arizona. Then, after starting a family, I went into Computer Based Training and not only did the graphics but wrote content as well. Now I am working part-time as a marketing assistant so I can concentrate more on my automotive artwork.
My husband loves old cars so he took me to the Turkey Rod Run when we were dating. The Turkey Rod Run is where they fill the Daytona Speedway with classic cars and you can walk all day and not see all of them. I just fell in love with them so I had to start painting the classics.
AA: What is your preferred medium?
KE: For my cars, I use oil on canvas. I like the way I can blend color together and layer up.
AA: What is the title of your new book and how did you come up with it?
KE: The title of my book is “Classic Car-ma”. My longtime friend and writer Linda Wooten Carter came up with the name. It so fits both our sense of humor and the memories the cars invoke. Linda wrote the stories for my paintings.
AA: What is the book about?
KE: I think the preface to the book tells it all: “These are the cars driven by our grandparents, our parents, and us. They are the stars of the show. This book is for you, the classic car aficionado, who appreciates the character and history behind the 20th century automobile. We hope studying the paintings and reading the stories evoke happy memories of cars and people who have played an important part in your life. These are their stories.”
AA: What inspired you to write it?
KE: Every time I was at a festival or art exhibit of my work, people would always tell me stories about that particular car that set a memory for them. I told my friend Linda to take a look at my paintings and come up with a short story for each one that would set a memory.
AA: How many pieces of artwork went into the making of this book?
KE: There are 17 paintings in this book. I know that there are some cars I did not include but that may be another book.
AA: What was your most challenging piece?
KE: The 57 Ford Fairlane with ghost flames. I painted it at a distorted angle so I had to make sure the detail in the front section was precise as well as the painting being 2ft x 3ft. All the detail and the angles were time consuming.
AA: Which one is your favorite?
KE: The 48 DeSoto, because it was my first one and it is the most painterly…besides, my Dad had a DeSoto.
AA: When will the book be released and can it be purchased?
KE: The book was released on April 1st of this year. The initial launch was at the 44 Monroe Gallery in Jacksonville Florida on Art Walk night. The gallery got into it with a retro theme and my husband parked his 1961 Studebaker Lark outside in front. We played oldies and danced all night.
The book sales were fabulous that night and we hope to continue that with appearances at the local car shows and maybe taking the entire exhibit on tour. Anyone can purchase my book by going to my website www.KayteeEsser.com and you will see it on the front page.
AA: What are you doing when you’re not creating artwork?
KE: When I am not creating art, I am marketing, looking for new markets, teaching workshops, riding with my husband on our motorcycle and going to the beach.
We would like the thank Kaytee for taking the time to do the interview. She has been on AutomotiveArtists.com since 2013 and has been active in posting updates.
To get her new book “Classic Car-ma” go to http://www.kayteeesser.com/page14/index.html