News Column

Ink and Pistons: still life with hot rods

June 27, 2014

By Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel

June 27--The centerpiece of Ink and Pistons' group art show "Hot Rod Round Up" is J.R. Linton's painting "A Spark of Fuel and Fire," a tribute to chrome-wrapped muscle cars, take-no-guff women and, yes, "Game of Thrones." The painting, which he says makes references to covers of Heavy Metal magazine, depicts a tattooed woman in a junkyard, posing atop a metal throne composed of car parts, including mangled fenders and cracked headlights. Protruding from the chair are several exhaust pipes, each of which discharges flames and smoke, while the woman, described by Linton as an "ex-military warrior chick," sits on a red, upholstered cushion. The throne is balanced on a bed of 1950stires.

"It's got a real gritty, post-apocalyptic feel to it, and she's just a badass," Linton says of the painting, which he finished and framed Tuesday. "I've had this image of a car-part metal throne tossing around in my head for a while, right around the time I was reading the 'Game of Thrones' books."

If "A Spark of Fuel and Fire" sounds fit for admirers of hot rods and hot women, the artwork is likewise an example of the nerdy reverie that has cemented the part-tattoo shop, part-slushbox gallery as a fixture of lowbrow art. Ink and Pistons, owned by Linton and wife Amanda, will mark its second anniversary Saturday, June 28, with a reception that includes food trucks, art giveaways, a roundup of 50 classic and custom cars and works from roughly 30 artists. Linton, who has collected nine cars over the past decade, plans to showcase his 1950 Buick Sedanette and a green-tire 1928 Ford Model A.

The 60 works on display pay tribute to the artistic mashup of pinup models, rockabilly, custom-built cars and tiki- and Day of the Dead-inspired works often found decorating Ink and Pistons. Bryan Collins' "White Knuckle Willie" shows a James Dean look-alike with a pompadour and facial scars, grimacing as he grips a car's steering wheel. Meanwhile, the self-titled painting from Saint Petersburg artist Von Zombo is an ode to classic movie monsters, depicting Frankenstein with his eyes and lips sewn shut. And Linton's noirlike "The Empty Barrel Fuel Depot" centers on a deserted gas station at night, with a tattooed biker leaning against a column as gas pumps into her motorcycle.

Lake Worth'sMelanie Benson, who operates the vintage pinup photography company VaVaVoom Photos, says a visit to Las Vegas' kitschy Frankie's Tiki Room inspired her pinup portrait "Kenikki." Sporting a vintage floral-pattern bikini, the model poses inside the off-Las Vegas Strip bar next to a wooden tiki statue. Her other photograph, "Betty Chantel," was shot inside the home of famed burlesque dancer Cha Cha Velour, and the model wears vintage lingerie with a steel-boned corset.

"I love midcentury fashion and burlesque," says Benson, who gained appreciation for Polynesian culture after living in Oahu for several years. "It's the classic art of the tease." or Twitter @philvalys

Hot Rod Round Up Anniversary Party and Art Show

When: Saturday, June 28, through Aug. 16 (opening reception: 7-11 p.m. Saturday)

Where: Ink and Pistons Tattoo and Slushbox Art Gallery, 2716 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Cost: Free

Contact: 561-832-4655 or


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Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)

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