Jim Brando is a Custom Culture Artist based out of Chicago where he has been in the artist trade for over 40 years. He has traveled throughout the country producing free hand lettering, pin striping and air brushing on a variety of vehicles from cars, motorcycles, boats, and anything else that paint can be applied to.
NDW: It is certainly our pleasure to meet with you today Jim. We have been admirers of your work for many years. Thank you so much for meeting with us today.
BRANDO: The pleasure is all mine. I like the approach that your magazine has in covering Nostalgia Drag Racing. Needless to say, I am a big fan and supporter.
NDW: We understand that your father did a little artwork as well. Is that how you got your start in the business?
BRANDO: My father had a sheet metal shop and did some sign painting on the side. At that time in my life, I was not interested in that type of work. When I was 13 my dad passed away it was after that that I developed an interest. I have vivid memories of my dad lettering trucks in our driveway. When I first started I used my mom’s washer and dryer for a canvass.
NDW: Washer and dryer? That seems odd
BRANDO: Not really, they had a porcelain finish that I could paint wipe off and paint again. It really worked well!
NDW: So since you have been involved with cars your entire life what would you say is your favorite - Hot rods, Muscle cars, Rat rods or Sports cars?
BRANDO: Funny cars were always my favorite. I love doing the headlights, grill striping and lettering on them.
NDW: You know that we are a Nostalgia Drag Racing oriented magazine and we can’t help but notice that in the past few years you have been working on a lot of the Nostalgia Pro Stocks and Nostalgia funny cars. We followed the live pod cast that Car Chix Janette DesJardins did at the Race and Performance Expo 2017 showcasing you hand lettering the new McLeod sponsorship artwork on Mike Ruth’s Bob Glidden tribute car. That was pretty cool!
BRANDO: That was a fun day! I was not sure how it would go as I have never done a “live” show before, but it worked out great!
NDW: So, would you agree that Nostalgia Drag Racing is on the rise?
BRANDO: Absolutely! I have been doing more work in that arena. For me it is kind of like Déjà vu.
NDW: Do you work with specific painters in the area or is it more like “have brush will travel?”
BRANDO: I work with several shops in the area one being Chucks Custom Color in Antioch. I am more known to be a “have brush will travel” kind-of-guy. Recently I have been doing a lot of work at Tony Pedregon’s place as well as several others in Brownsburg, IN.
NDW: We understand that your son Michael is starting to follow in your footsteps. Do you see him taking over the family business some day?
BRANDO: My son Michael lives in California and he has created his own path of art. Even though he may have inherited the talent from me, he has his own set of rules for his type of art and it is very creative.
NDW: Jim you seem to love what you do. Ever think of putting down your brush and doing something else?
BRANDO: If I am no longer doing this profession it is because I am unable to do it. That would be the only reason.
NDW: Well Jim, we have taken enough of your time, so thank you again for talking with us. We wish you the very best and hope to see you soon!
BRANDO: Thanks guys see you soon!