Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” 2010s-Era Shoot…

Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” 2010s-Era Shoot…

For the fourth installment of the Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” series, we head into “The High-Tech 2010s”. This one was a difficult one for me because I wasn’t able to tap into my ‘nostalgia’ bag since the 2010s were just a few years ago.

I had to consider what were the big trends of that time, be it pop-culture or automotive, and 3 things immediately stood-out to me; bolt-on widebody kits, digital streaming services, and well, not to toot my own horn but—The Chronicles. I thrived in the 2010s and I don’t think many would argue that my work was very pivotal to the growth of Japanese tuning culture during that time.

The Chronicles Midsommar 2021 Coverage…

The Chronicles Midsommar 2021 Coverage…

Behind the scenes, I’ve been quietly planning to do a meet over at the shop all summer long. The Chronicles & Coffee meets here have always been pretty solid but the main issue was being able to house all the cars and people that want to attend. Our facility isn’t particularly big and realistically, you can’t even fit 50 cars in our front lot without having to block most of the areas going in and out of the complex. I remember specifically there was one that we hosted here where I felt a sense of panic because it got so full that people could barely get passed the entrance gate. I started announcing these meets later and later with the last few going public less than 24-hours before. It alleviated the crowds but I felt like a lot of the older guys who aren’t online much would end up missing the event because they would see the announcement much too late. That and a lot of these enthusiasts have families and jobs now so a 24-hour turnaround isn’t exactly something most could factor into their schedules…

The Transformation Of The IS300 Begins!!… CHRNCLS Vlog 2021 #14

The Transformation Of The IS300 Begins!!… CHRNCLS Vlog 2021 #14

Well, it’s been a long time coming but the IS300 Sportcross is finally back at the shop and we can finally start throwing all the goodies on there. The first thing we had to do right away was to put the Advan wheels back on and fully overhaul the worn-out suspension components. I was pretty excited to see the Exceed big brake go on the car finally as well but was slightly nervous about brake caliper to wheel clearance. Once that was all dialed-in, I started tinkering with other ideas and also swapped-out my interior for rare Modellista Qualitat stuff. Check it out, I can’t believe the car is actually back!!

Extras, Outtakes, and More Details From The Meguiar’s 2000s “Import Tuner” Shoot…

Extras, Outtakes, and More Details From The Meguiar’s 2000s “Import Tuner” Shoot…

I had an unnecessary amount of fun putting this project together. From start to finish I couldn’t have been happier with the results. To be fair, it was quite a bit of work and a lot of planning involved but it’s oh so satisfying when everything comes together the way I envisioned. Once I figured out what photos I wanted, how the cover needed to be laid-out, and all the little details, I had a good feeling it would be well-received. Everybody loves nostalgia, especially car enthusiasts. Just to be able to look back at a time when everything felt new and their were no rules is amazing. The early 2000s represented a very different time in the automotive tuning community. There were no ‘standards’ set and people were really free to express themselves with their cars. Now it seems like more of a popularity contest than anything. Everybody just wants to be ‘someone’ on social media. Everyone wanted to stand-out and be someone back then as well, but there was no social media yet. The only platform for comparison was real life interaction and you didn’t have thousands and thousands of people to compare yourself with everyday. There was less pressure amongst your peers because the sample-size was much smaller. Sure the styles were a bit over the top back then but honestly, it’s not like everyone has it figured out in 2021. We’re all just in a bigger pond now thanks to the internet. I don’t want to go too far off into a tangent about this entire subject so let me get back to the Meguiar’s project…

“Import Tuner” Shoot & I Might Get My Car Back?!… CHRNCLS Vlog 2021 #13

“Import Tuner” Shoot & I Might Get My Car Back?!… CHRNCLS Vlog 2021 #13

Yes, bald Joey is back for this very special, highly in-depth, look at my latest work for the Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” series. The theme for this month is “The Furious 2000s” which obviously, is dedicated to the automotive culture during the 2000s. For me personally, I wanted a seamless transition from my 90s-era shoot to this one, which theoretically would have taken place in 2001-02. This was a very special time in the import scene because Import Tuner magazine and all of the insane cars they featured were all the rage. The Fast and The Furious had just come out so the import tuning community was still very much an underground thing. For the shoot, I wanted to pay homage to this period in time and re-create an Import Tuner magazine cover shoot. Luckily I had some great friends who were willing to help 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll have already seen the results from this shoot. Now you can take a look into my creative process and how we were able to execute this whole entire shoot from the very beginning. It’s a fun one and a rare glimpse into how something like this becomes a reality.

Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” 2000s-Era Shoot…

Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” 2000s-Era Shoot…

One of these is not like the others. For the next installment of the Meguiar’s “Portrait of an Icon” series, we leave the ‘90s and head into “The Furious 2000s”. When I first agreed to be one of the creators on this project and understanding it’s theme, the first decade I thought of was the 2000s.

This was a pivotal time for me and a turning point that lead me into a life of cars and also becoming a freelance journalist for various magazines catered to our community. I eventually would work for Import Tuner magazine but by then, much had changed. My favorite era of the magazine was from 99-2002. The cover spreads during that period are burned into my memory. My favorite being the LJ Garcia/Francine Dee issue.

When I came onto this project, the first concept I came up with was to pay homage to that magazine. What I needed was a studio with an infinity wall, the perfect car and a model outfitted to fit Import Tuner’s style for the time.

You’d think that finding the car would be the hardest, but right here in SoCal I had a gem in Sean Stell’s FEEL’S widebody Civic. He’s had the car since 2001 and he even had a set of Racing Hart C5s to match.

For the model, I called in a favor to an old friend and convinced her to come out of retirement to grace the faux cover. She had been on the cover before but in IT’s later years and always wanted to have a shot similar to the covers from the 2000s. I’m so glad Jenn Q was down to help.

My original concept was for it to be a behind-the-scenes look at an IT shoot with a stand-in photographer, model being prepped and Sean cleaning his wheel. What ended-up happening was me laying out an entire cover spread with a few sample pages inside to match the actual aesthetic of the magazine. I used all my favorite elements of Import Tuner from that era to re-create the cover and those who collected them will instantly recognize all the little details. I even create a calendar spread since those were popular then.

At a glance you wouldn’t even know that it wasn’t actually real. Thanks to all involved who made this possible, it was a ton of fun putting this one together and a dream come true for me to execute my vision.

Quick Pics From The Brew’s Cruise LB July 2021 Meet…

Quick Pics From The Brew’s Cruise LB July 2021 Meet…

I really hate to admit it but I think I’m in the midst of a massive writing block right now. I’m not really sure where it came from because I’ve been going through a lot of stuff this year which has helped me to be very creative, and I was actually writing quite a bit personally, but I think I’ve hit a little bit of a wall. Usually it’ll pass if I read more, which I have been doing, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. I suppose I’m just emotionally-drained and experiencing a hangover from everything that’s happening around me. Sigh. In any case, I’m trying different things to bring my mood up and I’ve been actively going out more to be social…

Final Bout Special Stage West 2021 Coverage… Part 2…

Final Bout Special Stage West 2021 Coverage… Part 2…

After I finally finished going through all the photos a few days ago and watermarking all of them, I came to the realization that I really didn’t shoot as much as I thought I did that weekend. Sure it had a lot to do with the heat but perhaps this two-part series isn’t the best representation of all that happened at Final Bout Special Stage West this year, lol. I’m not saying the photos are bad, they are far from it, and I’m not just tooting my own horn. What I captured is pretty good, it just doesn’t present the most diversity. The reasoning behind this is because I only went out on the track for one or two sessions and both times it was with run groups that featured the same cars. And when I wasn’t on track a different run group went out and the cars that I shot in the pit area are the same ones that came back from the same group that I was out on the track for. I wasn’t trying to do this but it just worked out that way. Mainly because I didn’t want to die. Carrying a big ass camera with a towel wrapped around my head in 100+ degree temps is no fun, no matter how much I want to be out there shooting. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t as resilient as it once was and I’m just more susceptible to my environment. I still feel like I’m more resilient than most but long gone are the days when I can sleep for four hours and be up for two days straight shooting or traveling from city to city. I’ve learned to pace myself now and understand that my body needs rest for me to truly successful in my craft. Most of you understand that as well and if you don’t quite get it because you’re younger, boy are you in for a rude awakening one day, lol.