Scott Jacobs Reveals His ‘Astonishing’ Story on a Special Two-Part Podcast Event
It’s easy to see why. Jacobs is an international art superstar, a critical and popular success known around the world for his photorealistic artwork. However, “photorealistic” might not be a superlative enough term to describe Jacobs’ art. Shapiro argues that his paintings are “so shockingly realistic that many viewers refuse to believe they’re not photographs.”
Jacobs has an equally astonishing life story. It’s actually so astonishing that we broke it into two separate episodes of the “Behind the Artist” podcast.
In the first half of the extended conversation between Jacobs and Shapiro, they cover a range of topics, including Jacob’s early interest in art, how he bought his first art gallery at the age of 19, his path to becoming the first-ever artist licensed by Harley-Davidson, and his appearance on ABC’s Secret Millionaire.
Here are just a few excerpts from the start of their fascinating conversation:
Scott Jacobs on his initial attempts to find his direction as an artist:
Back in the ’80s, I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go, if I was going to be an artist. So I took prints out of the rack that I was selling in the studio, you know, Maxwell Parrish and Norman Rockwell and all these different types of art. I remember doing some Cubist pieces, which were really fun. I did some architectural pieces.
Every time I tried to do Cubism or abstract … I think abstract paintings are a different mindset than what I do, because I see some abstract pieces that I’m like, wow, it’s really nice. I really connect with them, even though I think… that it would be easy to paint. But then when I attempted it, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. … So what I started doing is trying all these different types of art.
Scott Jacobs on the challenges of painting motorcycles:
Early on with the Harley pieces, I did mostly sections of motorcycles. So I would pick just the tank, a little piece of engine, or painting just about the engine itself. Whatever I thought was an interesting angle of the motorcycle.
My cars were pretty photorealistic. But the motorcycles took me to another level. It was totally different. Because, in all the car pieces, you’re painting mostly panels. You’re painting tires and wheels and things like that, reflections off of windshields.
But when it comes to motorcycles… now you’re painting spokes, you’re painting nuts and bolts, and all these intricate little things that I didn’t really know a lot about. So I really had to study my reference as far as getting in there, making sure all the nuts and bolts were correct and things like that.
Because if I was going to paint motorcycles and somebody was a purist, and I made a mistake on the engine or left a part out, it’d be pretty obvious for somebody that was really into bikes. So I tried to become very accurate with what I did.
Scott Jacobs on why he started painting wine bottles:
That was at the suggestion of my wife, sorta. We were decorating our house, so changing our art around at our house in San Diego. And if you went into my home there in Rancho Santa Fe… my art was everywhere. Through the game room, through the living room. And my wife didn’t want motorcycle art in the dining room. So she said she was in downtown San Diego at a furniture store… and she saw some old-school wine paintings. And she wanted to get a couple of them and put them in the dining room.
I said to her, “Let me see what they look like.” She showed me a picture. I said, “Oh, I can do that.” And she goes, “Well you’ll never have time to do it.” … But I found time.