Moira Vincentelli interviewing Charles Krafft

Kecskemét, Hungary 5-20th, July 1998

M.V. Charles can you tell me how you first got interested in art?

C.K. I was always interested in art from a relatively early age and probably the first artistic influence on my life was an automotive painter, Von Dutch, who lived in Southern California. I saw him on T.V pin striping Keenan Wynn’s motorcycle and that got me excited about art.

M.V. You say he invented pinstriping, is that the line along the side of the car? It’s not fancy decoration of cars?

C.K. It’s fancy decoration of cars. Pin striping had been used to decorate safes and an assortment of other functional objects including cars but there had never been such Baroque pinstripes. That became a sort of fad amongst custom car enthusiasts and hot rodders. He was the premier car painter.

M.V. So you were a teenager at that time?

C.K. I was a pre-teen. I was twelve when I first ran across his work and then I forgot about him. Then a few years ago I decided to find out what had happened to him, because he had left this indelible impression upon me and I tracked him down and entered into a lively and prolonged correspondence with him.

M.V. And that was important to you?

C.K. Very, yes.

M.V. And was he still interesting to you at that point or were you interested in him as a sort of..?

C.K. I was interested in him in a sort of ghost from my past and I was also interested in him as a forgotten icon of American popular culture.

M.V. So what kind of background did you come from? Where were you living?

C.K. Seattle, Washington.

M.V. In an urban background?

C.K. Urban.

M.V. And what were your parents doing?

C.K. My father worked for Boeing and my mother was a housewife.

M.V. So there was no particular art in the family