“It starts with a good marker, the rest is in my blood,” says visual artist Jimmy Chiale about the genesis of his work, “I almost do it with my eyes closed.” Rolling Stone caught up with the artist ahead of the Vuse Design Challenge, a competition amongst visual artists both established and aspiring to create a custom paint scheme for the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP racecar that will debut on the race track at the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on August 8, 2021.
Chiale’s signature style is made up of intricate black lines that interconnect to form a kaleidoscope of contrast and depth. He works rapidly, faster than acrylic paint dries, completing large canvases in a matter of hours. Amassing a perpetual body of work, Jimmy Chiale is a tenacious artist. “It’s an infinite script—I’m like a printing machine that never stops.”
Although he is currently working exclusively in black and white on canvas, Chiale got his start by cutting hair and painting everything from street murals to phone cases, shoes and even a nude model—anything to test and increase his aesthetic abilities. Setting his sights on the Vuse Design Challenge, Chiale now looks to paint something as fast as his inspiration: the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP racecar.
Driving artistry and innovation, Vuse has created The Vuse Design Challenge to inspire unbridled creativity and give people a one-of-a-kind opportunity to design a racecar. The winning designer will see their composition burning rubber at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, along with a ten-thousand-dollar prize, VIP experience at the track and the exposure of the live broadcast.
Esteemed judges, including a pair from the McLaren racecar design team, are looking for the perfect balance of art and functionality. In other words, the winning design should look phenomenal standing still or speeding around the track at 200 miles an hour. “Vuse and Arrow McLaren SP have a shared passion for innovation, design and technology and that’s part of what sparked the Vuse Design Challenge,” explains Vuse’ Amy Harp, Vice President Digital Marketing and eCommerce at Reynolds Marketing Services Company.
“Art and racing intersect more than many may realize, and we are a good match to bring that to the forefront and to engage our audiences in this new way.” Proving all you need is inspiration, Vuse has even provided intuitive design tools for submissions– no software or artistic expertise required.
“I didn’t go to school for art,” says Chiale. “The most important thing ever is productivity,” he insists, “comfortability hinders creativity.” Chiale asserts, “Even if you bang out a thousand ugly pieces, there’s going to be ten really good pieces and that’s the result of productivity.” At this stage in his career, Chiale can look back on the process of getting started with clarity.
For Vuse, making the contest accessible to artists at any stage in their craft was important. “Some people may be interested in art and design but may not have the background, training, software, et cetera to create an in-depth design,” says Harp, “So we created a tool that would still allow them explore their imagination and have the unique chance to design a racecar.” The design submission tool includes an option for master designers A.K.A. “Design Gurus” and novices “Design Dabblers” alike.
Speed is a huge factor in Chiale’s craft. “I’ve done some of my best work in half an hour,” he says. There’s a sense of movement and flux in his work that captures his balance of inspiration and productivity. Chiale confidently controls the intense contrast of stark white with sable black on his canvas. He’s also been able to find the balance between art and life. When asked about his greatest artistic achievements, he replied, “Becoming a father and being recognized as an artist.”
When inspiration is mixed with personal experience, a unique artistic expression is produced. For Chiale, his background spans different mediums and various materials. This creative diversity has allowed him to perfect numerous techniques, developing his iconic style.
“It’s important to be diverse at some point in your artist life because you might not like some of what you do, or a course you take, or a specific medium that you use. You might not like it at all, but there might be one technique or a little thing that you can use– it might be 0.0001% of that thing that could make your piece 100% better,” says Chiale, “You’ve always got to stay aware about what you can learn,” he adds.
Inspiration can be fickle. Creativity comes in fits and starts for most and creative blocks are inevitable for artists of all mediums. However, it may all be a part of the process. “Writer’s block happens to people that love what they do and have some type of connection with what they do. It’s spiritual– you know? It’s very personal,” says Chiale, “Every time I would come back from a writer’s block I’d get to another level– when you come out of it, you come out of it stronger.”
Chiale knows that work begets work. His message is simple: make as much art as you can and do it fast. Let your creativity know no bounds. “The bare minimum you need is a collection, a body of work,” Chiale says. When he first started selling his work, Chiale told gallery owners, “I’m not conventional, I don’t know nothing about nothing, I’m just a guy from France but I have mad paintings at home.” Chiale’s massive stack of early work earned him his first gallery opening, thus launching his career as an artist.
From street murals to gallery canvases, the work of Jimmy Chiale embodies the balance of skill and movement that Vuse wants to see in submissions to the Vuse Design Challenge. The signature Chiale-style labyrinthian black and white lines of his racecar concept serve as a sprawling and rapid inspiration to those up to the challenge of entering the design race.
Chiale’s advice to artists of any type who wish to make it: “Act like you’re already successful.”
Head over to Vuse.com to check out Chiale’s submission materials alongside the other entrants and take a word from the wise if you’re thinking about entering.
Jimmy Chiale’s sample design submission is not eligible to win the Vuse Design Challenge due to his partnership with Vuse and Rolling Stone.