Bio: Eric Black

A diverse design background has given Eric a unique perspective to the pieces he creates. His involvement with modern architecture allows him to see how the design of the new is affected by the old. His work with Traditional Hot Rod and Custom design also allows him to use the use of historical precedent and restraint to design custom cars that could have rolled right out of the mid-century. His approach is simple: Ask the car what it wants to be and it will tell you. While many of his contemporaries force shear design will on their work, Eric’s is a thoughtful pursuit of the timeless. “Automotive style, particularly with the Hot Rod and Custom, moved incredibly fast through the years due to the changing trends from the manufacturers along with other cultural changes. It moved so fast, in fact, that we didn’t get to see enough examples built during particular time periods and there wasn't enough refinement of those ideas before the next trend came along. From a design sense, both the hot rod and custom were always looking for the next thing, whether it was the installation of an overhead valve Cadillac mill that would make them faster on the lakes or adding canted quad headlights to make their custom stand out in the crowd. Today’s traditional Hot Rod and Custom builders have the ability stop the clock so to speak and create something of a particular era, whatever they choose. I’m honored to be a part of that time machine.”

Eric’s evolving design techniques have allowed him to keep the focus of the built car in mind.  "Advancements in technology have allowed me to work my pen as fast as my mind will go. When I was using relatively traditional media such as pen, ink, and airbrush to create design drawings it was more about the drawing itself.  New ideas often meant a completely new rendering.”  When Black is involved with a project he is much more interested in the piece that is getting built than the drawing itself.  “I absolutely understand that the design rendering is a means to an end.  It needs to be compelling, and accurate, but it’s not the end goal.  We’re not out to create a drawing.  I am constantly aware that they are going to build this thing, and my job is to help them visualize it.”  With that in mind Eric uses techniques that allow the team to test ideas as quickly as possible.

Eric has built fantastic relationships with heavy hitters such as Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods, Bob Merkt and Jesse James of Austin Speed Shop, Steve Frisbie of Steve’s Auto Restorations, Donn Lowe, Dave Lane, and Chris Jory.  He is currently working on over 30 active projects and clients have him jumping between traditionally styled hot rods and customs to motorcycles, semi trucks, race cars, and movie cars.

Eric’s work has also hit the pages of many automotive magazines including Hot Rod, Street Rodder and Rod and Custom. “I love getting feedback from readers that are inspired to build something, whether it’s my design or something they have in their head. It’s what it’s all about.” While Black’s work has been regarded by many as art and displayed in that fashion, Eric is much more comfortable with his pieces that are pinned up in the various garages of hot rodders around the country. “As my wife says, both my work and I belong in the garage.”