Art & Design

May 26, 2016

Customs by Keith Weesner

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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The Custom Car and Hot Rod world Keith Weesner creates in his paintings and black and white artwork is as close to perfection as it can get.

Keith Weesner is a profesional full time artist from Thousand Oaks, California. He creates beautiful paintings of Hot Rods, Custom Cars, Race Cars and fantasy girls all embedded in a surrealistic world. Keith artwork for T-shirts is highly demanded and he works for clients all over the world. He travels all over the globe from all states in the US, to Scandinavia, Japan and Australia making new friends and selling his art at car shows. Keith passion for early style Custom Cars and Hot Rods is evident in his work, time to put the spotlight on some of the wonderful Custom Car art Keith has created over the years.

By Keith Weesner
Custom Cars and Hot Rods have always been a central interest in my life from a very young age. There were pictures of Ayala and Barris Mercs on my Dad’s walls and Big bopper, Elvis and Buddy Holly 45’s on my toy record player, even though I was born in ’68. Hot Rods were sort of an arrangement of mechanical parts of which I had no practical knowledge, Custom Cars on the other hand, were pure art! As a young artist I knew what a ’40 DeLuxe was and a ’50 Merc… I did a finger painting in kindergarten and announced to the teacher that it was a “purple ’49 Ford”. So I’ve always had a knack for drawing customs and having my own slant on what a chopped top should look like, informed by the Barrises, and the Ayalas and Winfield.

CCC-keith-weesner-41-ford-coupe“Jade Teardrop”


CCC-keith-weesner-shoebox-coupe’51 Ford coupe


CCC-keith-weesner-own-shoeboxKeith Weesner’s own 1949 Ford 


CCC-keith-weesner-54-chevy1954 Chevy Sedan


CCC-keith-weesner-54-chevy-detailClose up shows how super detailed the work of Keith is. It also shows that Keith works on the car first, before doing the background.


By Rik Hoving

I cannot remember when I first saw Keith’s artwork, it might have been in the 1990’s Custom Rodder Magazine, or perhaps Rod & Custom. I knew about Keith and the Chopper’s car club from Burbanks Ca. The cars these guys were building back then were magical, like a step back in time. I fell in love with Keith’s 1949 Ford Shoebox that was build by Scott Guildner and keith himself. The car was the perfect combination between the Ayala and Barris customs from the early 1950’s and the slight cartoonish paint style Keith had developed over the years. His Shoebox really was like one of his paintings had come to life.

As you can read in the introduction by Keith he was very much inspired by the famous California Custom Car builders from the 1940’s and 1950’s. And it shows in his artwork. The perfect combination of styles borrowed from the Ayala’s and Barris brothers. Perhaps even perfected from what these guys could do back in time, simply because on paper/canvas/wood anything is possible. But Keith always makes his creations look like they have really happened, like they were actually parked outside his studio and he drew them right there.

When you look at Keith artwork, and especially his color paintings it is almost like you are drawn into this perfect Custom and Hot Rod world like how it is in your dream. Or perhaps how it used to be. I was born in 1967, so I have never experienced this time in real life myself. However listening to all the great stories told by the people who had been there, reading the stories in the magazines and books, and looking over thousands of photos gave me an impression on which I created the perfect Custom Car and Hot Rod world…  And exactly that is how Keith Weesner visualizes this world in his paintings.

CCC-keith-weesner-40-ford-convertible’40 Ford padded top convertible


CCC-keith-weesner-40-ford-how“How do I do a certain color paint job? Find a photo of a car that color (in the lighting that you want) and see what the paint does at different angles on the car, how it’s affected by sky and ground tones, etc.”


CCC-keith-weesner-40-ford-detailClose up of the 1940 Ford convertible with an amazing amount of details.


CCC-keith-weesner-40-ford-coupe’40 Ford coupe with rear quarter windows filled in, inspired by several samples built in the 1940’s. The dark lime color looks to be hinting towards the Ayala brothers.


CCC-keith-weesner-41-Ford-maroon-w“Evening Shine” a piece Keith created in 2016 for his Sept. 23rd Outré Gallery show.


CCC-keith-weesner-4-paintingsCustoms and girls…


CCC-keith-weesner-detail-headlightDetail from “Red Room” showing headlight treatment inspired by the Bob Dofflow ’49Ford used on a ’52-54 Ford.


CCC-keith-weesner-ford-pick-upFrom the painting “Lit Up”. The Custom ’52 Ford F-1 in Keith his painting is recreated in metal by metal master Jimmy Hervatin.




CCC-keith-weesner-lincoln-sketchesKeith did a few quick sketches when he was inspired by a Lincoln convertible with 49-Merc top sitting on top of it. Clever use of Post-Its.


Black & White

CCC-keith-weesner-bw-50-mercury-011949 Mercury inspired by the Sam Barris and Jerry Quesnel Barris creations.


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-vern-41-ford-01Deron Wright 1941 Ford inspired coupe in the city lights


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-41-ford-coupe’41 Ford Coupe, Early Barris / Ayala inspired


CCC-keith-weesner-41-ford-coupe-rear’46-48 coupe at the Starlite. (unfinished artwork)


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-sketchesA few more samples of black & white art


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-shoeboxHammered Shoebox Ford at night


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-36-ford-convertibleNew design for Austin Speed Shop for the Roundup next week! John Joyo’s ’36- only with shiny paint…


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-36-ford-4-door“Metropolis Thirty Six”


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-41-ford-convertible’41 Ford padded topped convertible


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-chuck-dewittPart of the “Pistons & Paint” T-Shirt art. ’50 Ford convertible with combining the Barris Chuck DeWitt grill and Larry Ernst side trim.


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-54-chevy’54 Chevy Bel-Air


CCC-keith-weesner-bw-39-mercury’39 Mercury Coupe


T-Shirt & Hoodie art

Keith Weesner is a full time artist, and one of the products he offers are his own line of T-Shirts, but he also creates Custom T-Shirt art for third parties. Over the years he has created several designs for the Rodder’s Journal shirts, including the special Revival car show shirts. Many car clubs from around the world find their way to Keith his studio for some unique designs for their special show shirts and hoodies.



The Future…

Over the years Keith has created several futuristic vehicles, Jetson like flying Custom Speeders, and out of this world show cars. This article did not have enough space to cover those here as well… perhaps they will appear in a future article on Keith. There is one futuristic painting that I wanted to include here “Hauler”. A futuristic pick-up inspired by the Alexander Brothers “Deora” combined with the space age illustration style from the late 1950’s.



More Info…

For more information about Keith Weesner Artwork, the Art and other product he is selling, and how he can be hired for commission work check out the Keith Weesner Website,  or his Bigcartel selling prints website. You can also follow Keith on Instagram (@weesner1958 instagram) to keep up to date with his latest art.



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About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)



  1. I love Keith’s customs. I have the’Jade Teardrop’ above my desk for inspiration. Not only is his version of the car outstanding but his background scenes [ including the females] are icing on the cake.

  2. Not only is Keith’s style and work outstanding, he’s a genuine guy. His shoebox Ford solidified my interest in kustom cars when I first saw it in the ’90s and I haven’t been the same since. I can’t give that car enough credit for turning me on to shoebox Fords and why I have one today.

    I love to see his compositions of original design kustoms based on parts and ideas from well-known kustoms. I have to admit that ’46-’48 Ford convertible with fadeaways in black and white is one that I have not seen before…I feel left out haha.

    His artwork invites the viewer into a sort of cartoonish kustom world that I would never want to leave!

    Great post of a deserving artist. Keep up the great work, Keith 🙂

  3. I love Keith’s work! Strangely enough both pieces I have of his are of hot rods?!?

  4. Colour or Black and White, Mr. Weesner truly does take us to that perfect era of rods and customs.. I get a “film noir” feeling with each painting I see. I love them!


  5. outstanding art work love all the drawings shown beautyful work kieth ,, thank u rik for ur article an those neat drawings,

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