The automotive artisan and “NASCAR's Celebrity Artist” talks cars and custom-paint.

Mark Brodie

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Spotlight Issue: November 2015
Group Free

Automotive Artisan

When Mark Brodie hits the road to custom paint motorcycles at Harley Davidson dealers across the country, the Scottsdale artist travels by RV with his Maltese Pomeranian sidekick, Boomer. Brodie’s been interested in painting art on autos since he was 14, when he watched a man pinstripe high-performance cars at his father’s lot in Colorado Springs. He bought a set of brushes the next day and began carrying a sketchpad with him wherever he went. He’s since evolved into a motorsport Matisse, earning the moniker “NASCAR’s Celebrity Artist” for devising the paint scheme for the organization’s logo change when Nextel took over NASCAR sponsorship from R.J. Reynolds. But NASCAR and motorcycle art are just two aspects of Brodie’s artistic expression. He also designs and builds custom motorcycles and creates fine art canvas paintings.

How did you get involved with NASCAR?
My first contact was Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing [in 1996], who owned the cars that Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove. On my first trip to Charlotte (Motor Speedway), I was touching up Dale Earnhardt’s car in the pits. Then I pinstriped a bike for Gary Nelson, the technical director of NASCAR. He introduced me to Mike Helton, the president of NASCAR, and I designed a paint job for a motor coach he had.

What does it mean to be NASCAR’s “Celebrity Artist”?
NASCAR used all my designs on their trucks and trailers from 2004-2009. I also designed paint jobs for the drivers on their motor coaches – Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi. When Nextel was bought out by Sprint [in 2005] I didn’t get that gig, but I still do work for the drivers.  

Tell me about the most interesting item someone has asked you to paint.
I was painting at a Goodguys hot rod show in Phoenix and a guy asked me if I would stripe his prosthetic leg. I was a little squeamish about it, but honored that he wanted me to do it. Then, this past year, I was asked to stripe the coffins of the two people who died in the motorcycle accident during Arizona Bike Week. It was hard, but knowing that I had a part of them for the rest of my life and I’ll go with them to eternity made me feel really good.

How does your on-the-road custom design business work?
I custom-paint Harley Davidson motorcycles to make them look different than how they come off the showroom floor. My work takes about three to four hours per bike. I’ve got a brand new 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide that I carry with me in my RV that shows all my custom paintwork.

What do you like most about creating art?
I enjoy the fact that people want to pay me to put my art on the walls of their homes, the sides of their cars and motorcycles and on their company corporate logos. To see a design go from concept to real life is amazing. To build a bike that started off as a drawing and winds up on the cover of a magazine is very fulfilling.