Story by Wallace Wyss, images provided by Craig Booth

There is, in the automotive world, some categories not easily defined.

Whatever adjectives you use, the first time you see the work of married artists Craig and Pam Booth, residents of a small village north of NYC in the Mid-Hudson Valley, you know the pieces fit a need by capturing the zeitgeist- the spirit of the moment so to speak.

The couple met 51 years ago. She was a degreed sculptor, he was a car enthusiast. Interested in art, they attended a pottery class at the Summit Art Center guided by the renowned artist Peter Callas.

Often showing their beloved MGB at car shows, Craig incorporated his talent with the clay medium and his love of the automobile. He chose to depict his sculptures in a non conventional and unique way with humor. Together Pam and Craig create work that while difficult to define by category, is a personalized narrative between the car and its owner. Even non-enthusiasts will enjoy their work. Pam says, "Everyone has a car story--your first car, the one that got away, the one your Dad had..."

Using clay, Craig found a way to express himself and with Pam found the world of cars a worthwhile inspiration. Pieces that include the car owner and car are the commissioned ones where the relationship between car and human (also dog, cat, aardvark) has been captured. One of the most touching is of a boy awarded a visit with Jay Leno through Make a Wish. Sitting is an antique car, the boy and his idol, a moment in time captured.

Some works are concept pieces. For example a Ferrari (The Better Half) where you see the mighty V12 engine but it's only the front half of the car thrusting skywards like a wild horse, much more in the spirit of Ferrari than if there were four wheels firmly planted on Terra-firma. One of the sculptures sans human is of a prewar art deco French car with front skirts, the work capturing the pure form-follows-function essence of the streamline moderne movement of prewar France enriched by the use of actual gold.

The couple uses several mediums for the final project including wire, 14K gold, steel, wood, paint and glaze as well as kiln fired clay. Unless ordered differently most commissioned works are 10-12" long, Often cars are depicted on a stretch of road, cobblestone, brick or race track set in their natural environment. They will create any concept and have covered a 64' wall in collaboration with another artist. Craig creates pieces strictly from his imagination sometimes in settings such as an event at Monaco, a nod to Watkins Glen, and in street scenes in European villages.

The name of their studio… Car-toons by Booth… might be seen by some of the more august patrons of fine art as somewhat disingenuous, but no matter, it provides an artistic license not to replicate strict reality… and perhaps include the whimsical.

They have displayed at Amelia, Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, Laguna Seca, Hershey, and many others including many vintage car shows. Their work is part of car collectors’ interior displays in many locations. They were featured on Wayne Carini's TV show and on ESPN at Lime Rock with Carroll Shelby as well as in numerous magazine articles.

Detailed contact information at: Contact Page

motor>spirit - Rob Alen