by Guillaume Lopez
No one in my family was particularly passionate about automobiles, and yet, as far back as I can remember, I have always been interested in automobiles. As a child, I spent hours driving my father's Renault 16, engine off, imagining myself on the road and making the engine noise with my lips while shifting gears, when stationary! It was the beginning of television and very quickly I was fascinated by the images of car races, Formula 1, rally with dust and sliding cars, and of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Then as a teenager I discovered the Michel Vaillant comic strip, it definitely made me want to become a racing driver. As soon as possible, I took the driving lessons at the Winfied school in Magny-Cours on Formula Renault cars. Then the school of Le Mans and my only little moment of glory was a place of finalist at the wheel of Marlboro 1984, a free competition to become a racing driver. Michel Vaillant had also given me a taste for drawing and I went to show my work to its author, my idol Jean Graton. To my surprise, he offered me to work with him to draw the cars, motorcycles and all the mechanical devices in his famous comic book. I didn't go to art school, I'm just self-taught. This is how it all started, at age 21! Step by step, I gave up the idea of becoming a pilot, finding the money to race seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. It was ultimately drawing that allowed me to work in the world of motor racing.
At the same time as my work for Michel Vaillant, I carried out advertising work for the automobile and more and more, I was asked for posters of races or mechanical events. This is where I started to design vintage cars. It’s especially the 70s that fascinate me. The cars were spectacular and all very different. So when a Swiss editor asked me in 2015 to work on the adaptation of Steve McQueen's film "Le Mans", it was a huge job but also an incredible opportunity! The album was printed in 4 languages and sold worldwide! I regularly go to the racetracks to take pictures, it allows me to take the viewing angles that interest me and to accumulate good documentation for drawing. Sometimes people ask me if I never tire of drawing cars. It is an inexhaustible theme in perpetual renewal. I can't get enough of it because in truth my passion for cars is even greater than for drawing.
It is probably not very original, my favorite cars are, Ford GT40, Porsche 917, Ferrari F40, 288 GTO and Dino 246. But I also like the Peugeot 405 and 208 Pikes Peak just like the Audi Quattro S1, the Lancia Stratos and the BB 512 LM, the Lotus 72 F1 or the Ferrari 312B. The list could be long, there are so many! And of course I do not forget all the racing drivers who also fascinate me. I had the chance to meet a lot of them, some of them particularly impressed me. Jacky Ickx for his magnetism and elegance of spirit, Ari Vatanen for his philosophy of life and his availability with others, Jean Ragnotti for his kindness and simplicity. And then Alain Ferté, long record holder of the 24 Hours of Le Mans track, for his eternal enthusiasm, he was also the one who took a little of his time to show me how to go fast on a track!
For a few years now, I have been offering my work to individuals, in the form of prints on paper and on Plexiglas in limited and signed series. It is a real pleasure because it allows me to deal with the subjects that really fascinate me. There are so many things to do and I have more ideas than time to achieve them...
Guillaume Lopez Contact