July '16

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24 THE SHOP JULY 2016 s a young artist not yet old enough to drive but already bitten by the automotive bug, Matt Bernal recalls riding his bike to Steve Stanford's studio. But his aim wasn't to catch a glimpse of the well-known vehicle designer. "I peeked in the window and saw what kind of markers and sweeps he used, and then rode my bike miles to Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster, California to use all the money I had to buy the same supplies," Bernal says. Inspired by the likes of Stanford, Chip Foose and Thom Taylor, Bernal began emulating their work with markers and chalk. "These were my rock stars and they are who I studied," he says. "I remember telling myself, 'I wish I could render paint like Chip, and be as clean and crisp as Stanford,' and through the years my style has become a result of studying different aspects of all my heroes." Talent, hard work and passion con- verged, and these days Bernal is making a name for himself alongside the masters by designing beautiful vehicles that are born as an idea on a page and then brought to life as real-world project vehicles. "Early on, I just loved drawing cars, and made it a personal goal to become great at it. And trust me, my early drawings were far from great," he admits. But now they appear on magazine covers and at events such as the SEMA Show. "What I envision when I'm designing a car is it sitting on a showroom floor and a guy walks past it and doesn't notice any- thing at first, but then does a double-take and notices something that makes him scratch his head and he tries to figure it out," says Bernal. "His eye then darts to the next detail, until he follows those details around the entire car. Everywhere he looks, he's entertained." BRINGING STYLE TO LIFE Established in 2009, Bernal Auto Style offers design services and project vehicle support for companies looking to create or embody an identity through a one-of- a-kind build. "As it pertains to me, an automotive con- cept artist provides a visual representation of what a client may have in his head, but By Jef White Bernal By Jef White A U T O S T Y L E Matt Bernal oper- ates Bernal Auto Style in southern California, creating project car render- ings and offering related artistic services. Automotive artist is in the business of dropping jaws. The wide-body 1969 Mustang "Renegade."

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