I find myself asking all time "who painted that?". Over the past 5 years I've seen countless bikes and a handful of cars that I never would have guessed were done by my friend Joe Koenigsmark but are. Not because it wasn't good or didn't have style, but because it just fit the bike and/or car so well, it looks as if the paint has always been there. Joe is pretty masterful when it comes to laying down some paint and I've never seen anything bad, not even a minor glitch from him, because he is so diligent and takes his time to make sure it is just right. Getting to know him over the years has been a real honor and when you hear his laugh from across the room the only thing you can do is smile knowing he's in the same place as you. Because he is like family to me and the Cleveland custom culture community, we have asked Joe to share his skills with everyone yet again for a 3rd time at this year's Fuel Cleveland on July 29th. This year most of the artists will be showing off their skills on one side of a Lowbrow Customs WX Split Tanks.
Who or what inspires you and your work?
J: My dad of course, was the biggest influence and inspiration to me. I've also always been inspired by Watson, Jeffries, Carter, Prey, Danny D, Harpoon Winfield, Richie Valles and old magazine's (I have my dad's collection from the 50s-60s-70s) and photos whether it be hot rods, customs, bikes and definitely low-riders to which I think are the best painters out there! Period!
What is the most challenging for you?
J: So when you have a certain style the challenge is to keep it fresh and not repeat the same thing just in a different color. And I guess when I'm in that mode and the fact that I do a ton of cars, some paint jobs can take longer than they should but I would rather have a customer mad cause it took to long then to give them a shitty job. I have to say I have the greatest customers and they understand and will get something cool in the end.
What is your favorite bike or car you have ever owned or still own?
J: I still have my favorite car now, it's a 1950 mercury that I've had since I was 14. It was stock and I completely customized it, why because I grew up with all those magazine's and being around my dad's custom shop. And about 10 years ago I picked up a 1960 Panhead, because I've always wanted one since I sat on my dad's buddy's chopper in the 70's. Some day I'll have the time to finish both!
J: My love of custom cars and choppers has given me so many reasons to travel and hang with some great people, some of my favorite shows have been the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona California for cars, Born Free, the Brooklyn Invitational and Bonneville Speed Week. Still on my must go to place is Yokohama Moon Eyes show. Traveling to New York for the Invitational with my wife Margoe and buddy's Rob and Vance always gets a little out of control and illegal! Hahaha and yes my famous tiki man has been there with us, he has also made trips to Bonneville, California a bunch of times and 3 of the Hawaiian islands. He's taken on a life of his own, pictured in some amazing places and been signed by some great friends. He'll have a book and art gallery show some day.
J: Along with my list of things I love, I collect a lot of shit, and it's more that I never got rid of anything growing up. All my band t-shirts, ticket stubs, posters also all my old skateboards one that is still my favorite to ride, yeah at 50 I still ride! Since 1975, Nothing like my friends but glad to be still pushing wood enjoying the freedom.
Waffles or pancakes?
J: Ahhh a real question... Always pancakes!
Any life motos or words you live by?
J: Be a good person, treat people how you would want to be treated.
Anyone you would like to thank?
J: I would like to thank all my patient customers trusting me to do what I do best, Tyler and Kyle my Lowbrow family, Jesse at The Gasbox, my close friends and most importantly my wife Margoe.
Be sure to say high to Joe roaming around this year's Fuel Cleveland show July 29th, 2017 and don't forget to stop by his tank to see what crazy amazing work he is showing off.