An Instagram gem: Art Tunerz.

Tuned Automotive Art.

5w ago

Is Instagram taking over the world? Taking away Facebooks fame? A typical Friday evening for me scrolling through Instagram for an hour or so has some what kept me sane in these uncertain times with this Covid 19 insanity. I happened to land on this page called Art Tunerz as a suggested page I might like, been bored I clicked in. A hidden gem was waiting for me in the form of Art Tunerz.

A profile of JDM automotive art awaited, I think it's safe to say I spent at least 40 minutes on this page, I decided there and then that more people needed to know about the page and so began the task of finding out more information about Art Tunerz. I sent a message to the page and that's where the story for this article began.

I recieved a message back from the profile owner Clifford Ong, after telling him what I thought of his profile and what I would like to do, this article began.

Sarah: So Clifford can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Clifford: I've always inclined towards art, design and a strong passion for cars, particularly JDM culture. Being a professional design consultant and director of design in the field of environmental graphics design for over a decade, I decided to combine my collective skills and love of cars in mid-2018 and launched Art Tunerz.

Sarah: When did you passion for car begin?

Clifford: My passion for cars started since very young, especially with the world of JDM cars aftermarket tuning and customisation. The world of JDM tuners had always fascinated and attracted me; from its styling characteristics to high-performance tuning. The Japanese tuners always seemed to be able to achieve high performance yet balanced with beautiful aesthetics. From the right body kit design which accentuates the body lines perfectly, to the right complimenting wheel choice, it all mattered.

Sarah: When was the idea of Art Tunerz thought of?

Clifford: The idea of Art Tunerz came about when I moved into my own place. There was a blank wall in my house that needed a little something to fill in. In my mind, I thought to myself, a beautiful image of my dream ride an RX7 FD3S would fit the wall nicely. I envisioned that it should be the same as what I would own in real life. However, after searching all over, I realized it was either not the way I wanted it, or the details were inaccurate, or the scale/size was wrong or it had the wrong color and wheels, etc.

Sarah: So this is when Art Tunerz was created?

Clifford: Yes this was when I decided to take matters into my own hands and utilize my skills set as a professional digital artist and designer. I created a bespoke true to scale illustration of my dream RX7 with the correct color, aftermarket performance enhancements parts and down to the correct decals placement and print size.

Sarah: So your new piece of art is hanging on the wall, what was the next step after that?

Clifford: As I admired the finished drawing on the wall, it fitted beautifully just as I had envisioned it I realized perhaps there are enthusiasts out there like myself, who would want to have their dream rides captured the way they want it. Or perhaps, those who are fortunate enough to own their rides already would want to have a portrait of their cars captured to be admired as part of their interior decoration. From this idea, Art Tunerz was conceived, focusing purely on true to scale tuned automotive art, in the hopes to fill this gap and bringing customized tuned automotive art to life for all enthusiasts.

Sarah: So what's the process of 'drawing' a car?

Clifford: The process of striving for accurate detailing, ideally is to refer to the actual car itself. However, this is very much impossible due to obvious logistic reasons. As a result, I refer to photos provided by customers and also search on the internet for high-quality reference images to get the detailing, scale, texture, and proportions correct. In some difficult cases, I will make reference to die-cast models that I have in my collection. This is handy to get the correct body and panel lines.

Sarah: Apart from the RX7 been your favourite JDMcar what would be your other 4 other top JDM cars?

Clifford: Other top 4 will be: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, Honda S2000, Nissan Silvia Spec-R S15 and Honda Accord Euro R CL7 I currently own one.

Sarah: Is there any JDM cars you hate, if so why?

Clifford: I don’t have any specific JDMs that I hate perhaps if I would say, if disappointed, it would be the RX-8. Always felt it had more potential, but its reliability is problematic. The rounded and suicide door styling was also a big departure from the RX7 FD sleek and coupe style, that said the RX8 is a truly unique JDM in its own way. That said, I am looking forward to Mazda bringing back the rotary in the future RX9, hopefully that will manifest.

Sarah: Have you ever been to Japan?

Cifford: Yes, I have been to Japan many times on/off. The longest time I previously stayed in Tokyo was for about half a year when I was around 13 years old. My step father is Japanese, and my mother was previously working in Tokyo.

Sarah: For you personally what was the worse car to draw and why?

Clifford: This would be a work in progress BMW 2002. The owner commissioned me to draw the car, concurrently while it was being built. The artwork was done purely via description of what the owner was planning to do, with work in progress images being sent progressively and the artwork updated as the built progressed. It was definitely an interesting experience and the final artwork was really awesome and matched the owner’s vision for the completed build.

Sarah: How long does it take to draw the average car?

Clifford: A plain street car takes about an average of 2 – 3 weeks. If a car has full liveries, it will take twice longer.

Sarah: I would imagine more complicated cars with liveries takes alot longer?

Clifford: Yes, one time I did a custom Lamborghini Aventador LP740 with full camo liveries and custom wheels. Working on it on/off, it took me over a period of 6 months to complete it.

Sarah: How do you deal with difficult customers?

Clifford: I’ve never really encountered difficult customers, perhaps a better way to define them are customers who are really particular about the attention to details. And attention to detail is what Art Tunerz is all about. Some of the challenges of bespoke art, are car parts or colours that are custom made. In this case, many back and forth communication is necessary with the owner, getting hi-res close up reference photos of the parts or colour so that it can be accurately depicted in the artwork. Sometimes multiple review rounds maybe necessary for me to get the right profile, colour etc. It is all part of the process, and what matters most Is the end result, that the owner is happy with.

Sarah: Where would you like to see Art Tunerz in say 5 years?

Clifford: In 5 years’ time, I would like to see Art Tunerz being known and recognised globally, especially among car clubs, enthusiasts groups, tuner and automotive and racing industries. Perhaps having some showcase gallery and getting featured in big automotive events like SEMA. I do also hope to be able to create and expand a team that would then allow me to work on it full time by then.

Sarah: Any secrets you can tell us about Art Tunerz that no one else knows?

Cifford: Initially when I started doing the car artworks, I had no intention of sharing it with anyone or on social media. I was unsure how people would perceive my work. It was my wife who encouraged me to start my Instagram and share my works. I am definitely very glad to listen to her advice. She is also fully supportive of what I am doing with Art Tunerz, and if it was not for her, I would not have been able to start Art Tunerz at all.

Big thanks to Cifford for doing this interview, if you would like to follow him on social media I've listed his social media links below!




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