"His most famous creations, such as the Ala Kart and the Hirohata Merc, remain instantly recognizable on the car collector circuit to this day." —The Guardian
"Nobody, not even professional photographers, knows as much about lighting as a sculptor." —Stanislav Szukalski
George Barris is indisputably the "King of the Kustomizers," the most phenomenal kustom car builder ever.
This book collects the incredible photos of early hot rods and custom cars taken by George Barris in the 1950s to early '60s.
As a sculptor of cars, George Barris knew well the angles and lighting that would bring out the beauty of these creations, both his own and those of others.
A treasury of images, the photographs in this volume capture the early parts of the kustom culture movement, when people wanted to stylize their cars and make them look more sleek, different, powerful and personal.
Early Kustom Kulture features hundreds of photos including notable customizers from all over the country, in addition to Barris' own creations. Many of these unique photographs have never been seen before. Barris also photographed the people and personalities of this iconic time, capturing builders and owners, as well as pinups and models.
George captured all the styles of the early era of customs and hot rods, both East Coast and West Coast, reflecting the wide range of trends and scenes. A beautiful collection seen through the lens of master customizer George Barris.
George Barris began making custom cars in the early 1940s with his brother Sam. George bought a German-made twin lens reflex Rolleiflex camera and began photographing cars as a way to promote his business. It then became a way to educate other kustomizers. George recorded and wrote how-to stories offering information and photos on kustomizing techniques, sharing his work as well as that of other builders from all over the country. George captured thousands upon thousands of moments in time when the beauty, style or sheer outrageousness of an automobile was visible only to a gathered crowd.
George Barris’ artful documentation of early car culture serves as an important chronicle of custom car history, capturing the best the best of burgeoning hot rod and kustom kulture.
His first work to appear in print was virtually concurrent with the beginning of auto enthusiast magazines known as “little pages” such as Hot Rod, Car Craft, Custom Cars, Hop up, Rod & Custom, Motor Life, Spotlite and others. Although much of his fame surrounds the incredible kustom cars he built, George’s endeavors as a photographer are an amazing facet of his life and work.
George Barris known to millions of car enthusiasts and collectors around the globe as “The King of the Kustomizers” began making custom cars in the early 1940’s with his brother Sam. Motor Trend magazine proclaimed, “George Barris changed the face of Detroit” with his kustomizing creations. In the 1960s, the biggest stars and musicians in Hollywood lined up at the studio in North Hollywood to have George create and kustomize their cars including John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, Peter Fonda, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
About the Author
Brett Barris is the son of George Barris. He has worked in the entertainment industry for over fifteen years, and as an art photographer for over twenty. He began working for Barris Kustom in 2003 as marketing director until 2015. He developed the Barris Kustom website as well as products such as Barris Kustom bicycles, guitars, clothing, books, and DVDs. Brett contributes to Barris Kustom magazine articles, books, documentaries, and TV shows. Brett continues to keep the Barris legacy alive: restoring Barris Kustom vehicles, presenting awards and managing the Barris Kustom photo archives.
Early Kustom Kulture
Kustom Cars and Hot Rods Photographed by George Barris
By Brett Barris
Hardcover | 200 Pages | $29.95
8.25 x 9.375"
Publication Date: November 1, 2022