Robert Williams life and work have proven difficult to describe. Who better then, to put Williams into words and pictures than the man himselfas he does in this illustrated autobiography of his life in hot rods. Here, for the first time, Robert Williams presents his extraordinary body of work in the context of his hot rod background, in the process relating his impossibly wild formative years and his gradual establishment as one of Americas most influential underground artists.
Born in 1943, and raised in Alabama and Albuquerque, Williams eventually gravitated to Southern California and the Chouinard Art Institute, but not before immersing himself in the countrys nascent youth culture of hot rods, rock n roll, and bowling alley rumbles. He recounts a boyhood spent at drive-in theaters and dirt tracks, honing a life and a style that had little to do with the world of square day jobs he entered after leaving Chouinard in 1963, when, through sheer happenstance, an unemployment agency handed him a job as art director at the studio of his hero, Ed Big Daddy Roth.
Along with tales from his time at Roth studioswhich resulted in his famous Roth ads for Hot Rod magazine, not to mention several infamous run-ins with the Hells AngelsWilliams demythologizes the 1950s, recalls his association with Zap Comix and R. Crumb, and reflects on todays retro rodders and his own hot rods. Illustrated throughout with photographs from Williams personal collection as well as paintings and illustrations, this is a life portrait as only Robert Williams could do it.
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