Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth & Rat Fink

Though first associated with the hot rod culture of the 50's, the above symbol came to represent a multitude of counter cultures. Depending on what Rat Fink or the "Monster Hot Rod"er was doing, it could represent anything from surfing, motorcycling, skateboarding, hot rods, or the grunge lifestyle. Now I have been a fan of the "Monster Hot Rod" art form for quite some time and have found that not very many people are enlightened to this major part of the counter culture/kustom kulture that has been around for the past 60 years.

While born in Beverly Hills, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth grew up in Bell, CA and was interested in only two things; his autoshop class and art. And though not as well known as his creation called Rat Fink, Ed Roth was a custom mechanic and took the artform of automechanics from a backyard hobby to a full blown activity where he refined and created fiberglass bodyworks.

Ed Roth took "Monster Hot Rod" art to a new level but was not and never will be the pioneer, that role will be forever in the hands of the great Stanley Mouse. Though to look at the early works of both Roth and Mouse would prove to be intriguing since neither can be pinpointed as to who the author is, Mouse never went as far with the artform as Roth had. Mouse ended up working on tour posters for bands of the psychedelic age leaving Roth to improve and expand on the "Monster Hot Rod" artform.

Now out of great coincidence I found a group of classic Rat Fink toys at my work the other day and found out today that my boss owns the licensee to Rat Fink and all affiliate Roth artwork. Amazed I expounded upon them my love for "Monster Hot Rod" art and was blessed with the chance to write the storyboard for a series of shorts featuring Rat Fink. I don't know where to start. And the best part, below is my research. And that is what I get to do all day, when I'm not doing sales for them.