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Artist keeps 'em guessing

Festival of Arts exhibitor Breck Rothage, known for his car images, is an interesting mix of painter and photographer.

November 05, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Breck Rothage has produced a book called "The Essence of Image - Automotive Artistry."
Breck Rothage has produced a book called "The Essence… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

White gloves conjure images of butlers, orthodontists and Mickey Mouse.

So when Breck Rothage slipped on his pair, half a dozen possibilities flashed through an observer's mind like a film reel.

Once accoutered, he lifted "The Essence of Image — Automotive Artistry" and reverently flipped through images of a 1957 Jaguar XK140 Roadster, 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe, 1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350 and 1967 Lamborghini 400 GT, gazing upon them as one might at a firstborn.

The $350 book — 50 early-bird buyers can snag it for $300 — contains 39 of Rothage's best artworks, printed on Kodak professional photographic paper. It comes in two sizes — 12-by-8 and 9-by-6 inches. The former will be offered as a limited edition of 500, hand-signed and numbered.

Gloves will also be part of the purchase. The first of their two purposes is to protect the glossy paper from being marred by fingerprints.

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And for the second, Rothage said, "Since it is far above a normal coffee-table book, I thought it would send the message, 'I am receiving something here that is very special and above the norm — a work of art.'"

The Irvine resident also launched a Kickstarter campaign, which runs until 8:08 a.m. on Nov. 22, to benefit the book's production. Through increased production, he hopes his original work will be easily accessed by a larger pool of art enthusiasts.

"One of the problems is that people don't have the money to buy the bigger pictures, and they also don't have the wall space," he remarked. "This accomplishes both."

Rothage is a six-time exhibitor at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, but he will be the first to say that getting there wasn't easy.

Having long dreamed of participating in the show, with its lofty reputation, he tossed his name into the mix in 2005. Although confident about the quality of his nature-themed submissions, he didn't make the cut.

When the next Jury Day rolled around, Rothage arrived at the venue carting automobile art, which was met with "oohs" and "aahs" from longtime participants. Nonetheless, he was denied admission again.

Disappointed and shocked, Rothage refused to back down. Instead, he spent the following year adding to his repertoire.

It appears that the third time's a charm, because the judges liked what they saw, finally admitting him into the 2008 show.

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