Etrick Art is focused on putting Form before Function
Michael Etrick, an American Automotive Design Sculptor, is continuing to expand upon his colorful and robust career in the automotive design and art world. Growing up in Southern California, Bob Etrick Walker introduced his teenage son, Michael, into custom cars and race car building. Since the early 1990s, Michael has been professionally styling full-size concept and production cars, along with scale models. Michael is frequently working, directly or indirectly, with design executives and significant car companies including Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Kia, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, and Volkswagen/Audi, as he has throughout his career. Primarily, this is in the OEM’s design studios both in the United States and Europe. Michael’s skill set includes working with metal, composites, and paint. However, he is a favored hire because of his extensive clay sculpting capabilities.
All the internal projects, along with those that stream out of a design studio, are a team effort. Those projects involve concept cars, design proposals, and the final production models. Etrick is still actively involved in the auto industry and has played a role in numerous, notable designs. The Mitsubishi Eclipse (second generation), and the Mitsubishi 3000GT (second generation) and the Ford Forty-Nine (concept) are a few examples that showcase his talent. Michael’s efforts were an important part of the Audi A1, A5, A6, Q2 and Q5 development. One of his more recent projects to hit the road, and catch the eye of enthusiasts everywhere, is the electric Lucid Air.
Being able to tap into decades of craftsmanship and creativity and turning that into fine art is an exceptional process and experience. This is the culmination and high-water mark of an entire career dedicated to design. However, it’s the appreciation of those that love these works just as much as Michael that are his incentive to make these pieces a reality.
THE SCULPTURE PROCESS
The fluid motion and dynamics from a bye-gone time are brought to life with extensive old-world craftsmanship and the latest in technology. Traditional methods found in auto design studios mix with modern right from the start. Renderings by hand coupled with digital software initiate the look and feel of these sculptures. After numerous considerations and revisions, the decision on the final look is arrived at, and the design is then locked in.
A 1:1 scale model prototype of the proposed final artwork is sculpted in industrial clay and foam, which are firm, formable mediums that can accurately retain its size and shape. From the initial armature fabrication to the final model can consume weeks or even months. Subsequently, molds are made, and a hard copy is reproduced out of fiberglass/epoxy. This allows for further refinement to the design, and a product that is safer to transport.
The next step in the development process utilizes the latest scanning and computer-aided design/manufacturing programs available. The digital scan data from the original, composite prototype is sent to an authorized technical partner either in Germany or facilities in the United States. At this facility, a massive, overhead, 5 or 6-axis milling machine carves away at a solid block of TC 6061 aluminum, revealing the mass of metal. This particular aluminum has a shear strength of 30,000 psi. Once this rough piece of art is removed off the milling machine, the entire sculpture undergoes labor intensive work by hand in refining, polishing, assembling, and finishing the artwork. This entire process requires hundreds of man-hours, bringing this vision into a brilliant reality.
Along with these various steps, Etrick Art engages proprietary materials and techniques. These methods were developed and employed over the past decade to achieve the sculptures that are available today. Michael is involved with each and every phase of the endeavor, from start to finish – ensuring flawless results.
Contact Etrick Art
1/16-scale, 99 limited-edition sculptures
quarter-scale, 9 limited-edition sculptures
Unlimited print styles available