… I first met Hector some 30+ years ago on a cross-country flight back to LA from the Daytona 200.
I had been there in Florida doing PR for Honda Racing, and he was there covering the event for Corsa Magazine an Argentine racing publication. I think that we were sitting across the aisle from each other and one of us noticed the other reading a racing magazine or something. Someone said something about racing, and.
We’ve been friends ever since...
To say that I’ve seen his work get better and better each year is something of a misnomer I think. His style has not changed, his work is as clear and to the point as ever, but times have changed in those years and Hector has shown that he understands both the nature and the subtlety of those changes in his work. There’s been a maturing and deepening of a talent that’s a real pleasure for many of us in the automobile business to see.
His sense and strong knowledge of events and history is ever-evident not just in his accurate renderings of high performance automobiles, but in the way that he catches the car and its driver in action. Head tilted, eyes laser-focused on the apex, tires pointed back just a twitch, fighting oversteer. Even in these static images, forever frozen in time, there’s a visceral sense of the speed and the concentration that it takes.
It’s my contention that Hector’s unflinching commitment to detail is what really makes his work so viewable and so valuable. For me, in one way or another, every illustration says: “...this is for the record, this is how it was, this is how it felt.” … A lot to ask from a racing poster, but all of the truly memorable ones have those elements in one way or another, and Hector’s work always lives up to that promise.
And then there’s his playful, comedic side as a brilliant motorsports cartoonist. Using the same (above) combination of talent and an insider’s understanding of the subject, Hector is not only able to make a situation funny, but often damn close to teachable. He gets it and he’s able to share.
His work for national and regional racing series, special events, magazines, books, and even fun things like the corporate holiday cards for Toyota, is all authentic and, as I’ve tried to say, the work of someone who respects the subject matter that he portrays.
(I almost said “loves” there when I said: “portrays” but, once you’ve looked about here, I think that you’ll agree with me that both words work fine.)
Thank you for reading this note,
Stokes is a semi-retired motorsports PR professional with some 40 years of experience in the business. He’s the recipient of the America Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters prestigious Jim Chapman Award for Excellence in PR as well as the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award.