Chris Holewski can say it and spray it thanks to careers as both an Art Director and stencil artist; whether he’s creating branding for clients ranging from offroad magazines to pharmaceutical companies, or spraying down his varied project vehicles in addition to his automotive stencil designs. It's these hand-painted works that have formed the basis for classic tees like "2-Thousand-Ooh", "Landy", and "DTM3".
Chris took off his respirator to answer a few questions:
How did your interest in cars start?
When I got my license I was looking around to buy my first car, and at the same time the youth pastor at my church had decided to move his family to Russia to become missionaries. He was giving away most of his possessions, and he knew that I was about to get my license, so he offered to give me his car for free. It was a 1985 BMW 325e with a manual transmission. I absolutely loved that car, and have been a BMW enthusiast ever since.
How does your interest show itself?
I take my 2009 BMW 128i to monthly autocross events with the NJ BMWCCA, track days, and road-rally events. I've seen every episode of Top gear probably 2-3 times. I have my own business called Manual Designs, under which I create hand-made stencil artwork of classic cars - these are some of the designs that are also featured as BlipShift t-shirts.
I also own a 1975 BMW 2002 and a 1959 Land Rover Series II truck. These are my 2 project vehicles, which I'm working on restoring.
What is at the top of your automotive bucket list?
Attend the 24 Hours of LeMans.
What's in your driveway, and what makes it special?
My 1975 BMW 2002 is probably the most unique car because it’s had a complete restoration. I actually had to buy two 2002's - the first one had a solid engine, but the body was beyond repair.
I then found a decent shell without an engine, and then sandblasted that to the bare metal. It was then painted, and I had a friend who happens to be a BMW Mechanic swap the engine in. Along with the engine, we put in a 5 speed transmission, all new suspension, lowered the car by an inch, and added disc brakes.
What is your dream car?
1959 Aston Martin DBR1.
What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?
I'm an Art Director at JK Design, an agency in NYC and NJ. Specifically, I deal with branding, advertising, and visual design for clients including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Integra Life Sciences.
I'm also the Art Director for Alloy+Grit, a quarterly magazine about Land Rovers in North America, and have done illustration work for ICON 4X4 which was used for both handmade prints and t-shirt artwork.
What are some of your non-car hobbies?
I have a 13' sail boat that I take out on lakes and in the bay. I love sailing because it’s just you and the wind, and it demands your full attention. You can't worry about anything else in the world, you just have to focus on what you're doing and disconnect from everything else. It's a really peaceful and fun escape. My favorite spots are the Spruce Run Reservoir, Round Valley Reservoir, and the Manahawkin Bay down at Long Beach Island, NJ.
I'm also into watches and architecture. And of course, I love spending time with my wife and 3 kids.
What have the funds from blipshift helped you accomplish?
It's been a huge help in the restoration of my 2002 and Land Rover!
What influences you as a designer?
I probably draw most of my influence from magazine design, photography, architecture, and illustration.
Thanks for your time Chris. Apex Everything!