A conversation with Patrick George last night turned to the subject of Japanese car magazines, so I showed him a couple of examples. When it came to the cover of Car Magazine (the Japanese counterpart to the UK’s CAR Magazine), Patrick’s response was “God that is gorgeous.” Yeah, I know, and all the covers look this good.
Truth is, the inside art is even more amazing, but you’ll have to purchase the actual titles to see inside. The illustrator for Car Magazine is none other than the man generally considered to be Japan’s premiere automotive artist, Ikeda “BOW” Kazuhiro. His nickname is read as “bow and arrow” and not as “bow wow.” It comes from his childhood nickname “boku-chan” which roughly translates to “beloved little boy” or “adorable little boy.”
According to an interview with Cycle World magazine in 1996 (they were covering his motorcycle work), Ikeda was first inspired to become an automotive illustrator when at three years old he saw a rendering of a 1949 Ford truck, and started to draw vehicles of every type as soon as he could. As he revealed to Cycle World, his actual love is illustrating action packed scenes of motorcyclists doing their thing out on the track, and I can attest that his art of the competitors (especially his profile shots) are as amazing as anything he has done with the machines themselves, bikes or cars.
Yet, for all that love of the two wheeled, his regular job so to speak is as the cover illustrator for the four wheeled focused Car Magazine, a position he has had since the 1970s. At seventy years old now, it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop any time soon, and as long as he continues we’re going to keep getting covers like these:
Here’s hoping that Ikeda will continue to have decades of work ahead of him, for we are all richer with his talent on the book shop shelves.
Images via Ikeda “BOW” Kazuhiro/Car Magazine.
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