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Automotive artist spotlight on Hot Rod Jen

This post comes from Autoblog Open Road, our contributor network. The author is solely responsible for the content, and any opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Autoblog and its editors.

Automotive artistry has been around for generations. This art though hasn’t always been accepted by the established art aficionados of the world. In recent years however, with the proliferation of social media, and car collecting becoming a high dollar industry, automotive art has been coming into greater focus. The industry has been growing with artisans coming out of the woodwork displaying their paintings, photography, sculptures, and etcetera.

I began highlighting artists with the last post. Other artists will follow in succeeding posts. Some names will by now be familiar. Some will be new to you. In either case, enjoy the stories and experience their talent by checking out their work. Don’t forget to share this page to spread the news about automotive art.

The first spotlight was on Danny Whitfield. This spotlight is on “Hot Rod” Jen.

The automotive art world has been a recent interest of mine. As such, I’ve been finding articles, short bios, websites and photographs here and there of people that have been able to leave their own mark on the field. So, imagine my giddiness when I recently enjoyed a trip to the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania and came across an exhibit with work done by “Hot Rod” Jen. As it turns out, the night before her exhibit had opened to a packed house. Admirers of her work can continue to see her work displayed at AACA through May 31st.

I reached Jen by email. She kindly agreed to discuss a little about her history and inspirations. The Q&A follows.

There are generations of artists in the family. How long have you been an artist yourself?
Since I could hold a crayon. Haha! I have always excelled and have been interested in art and all different kinds of art.

Do you remember how you started?
I remember how I started on pinstriping. I was at a car show showing my artwork, consisting of drawings, pastel works, etc.. A friend and I were talking. He suggested I learn how to pinstripe, and during that time a pinstriper happened to be in ear shot , and he had knowledge of my artwork. So, he grabbed a can of 1 Shot and handed it to me. Later on, while talking to my uncle, who is also an artist, we got on the topic of pinstriping. Turned out he used to pinstripe. So, one afternoon I headed over to his place after buying a pinstriping brush at an auto body supply shop. He gave me a mini lesson – How to hold the brush, pallet and the basic strokes. The rest was up for me to learn while practicing.

Your exhibit at the AACA shows some of your photography and pinstriping work. What media have you used to create your work over the years? Whats your favorite? Photography, oils, charcoal, paint, etc
Before I got into pinstriping I used graphite pencils, charcoal and pastels a lot. I often worked off my own photos that I would shoot at car shows I attended. But, now my favorite to work with is the 1 Shot enamel paint for pinstriping and even painting graphics. I really enjoy the flow of the paint compared to oil and acrylics.

Pinstriped Air Cleaner

Define your style of Pinstriping.
This is a hard question to answer because I feel that I’m constantly trying to expand and try new things with my designs. But, I try to achieve the best symmetry, line consistency and design flow that I can get each time.

What has been your most challenging pinstriping job to date?
Either working on some 50 Era dash boards around the steering wheel, with the blinker arm on one side and the stick shift on the other side of the column while having to weave my arms through the opening of the wheel. Pinstripers often have to get in very uncomfortable positions which I call “Pinstripers Yoga”.

Newest challenge or inspiration ahead of you?
Glass gilding. I’m totally floored and amped up on glass gilding. I had a great opportunity to spend a weekend with some experienced sign and glass gliders that taught me the ropes. It was not only a challenging thought process but a relaxing process also. I find most tedious things to be relaxing.

How long was it before one of your works was first published? What did it feel like?
My earliest piece of art to be published was in a newspaper. It was the piece I won the Congressional Art Discovery Award with while in high school. It was exciting! I felt that all those years of soaking up what my art teachers instructed and the book reading paid off. My pinstriping has been published a lot in car magazines and that’s awesome! My photography has been published in a few magazines but the first time I got a cover shot I almost cried. That was an overwhelming feeling! I had no idea it was going to be on the cover until it was already printed. I’m still smiling over that!

How would you encourage others coming behind you in the Automotive Art arena?
I would tell them to learn as much and practice as much as they can. It doesn’t happen overnight. If they have questions I try my best to answer them or point them in the direction to where they can be answered.

What has the recent recognition taught you?
Stay humble. Even though I have come this far I’m still learning something new almost every day. The day I say I know it all is the day I should just hang up my brushes

Hot Rod Jen has taken her profession on full time. So, don’t be surprised if she’s standing next to you at a car show taking pictures, or to find her holding a pinstriping workshop during the warm weather months. You can also find her during the Holiday season creating some pretty special pinstriped tree ornaments or customizing helmets with her brushwork.

Pinstriped Ornaments

Pinstriped Tailgate

You can find Hot Rod Jen at,

Sources in addition to the Q&A:
Hemings Daily –


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