Motive Culture (AKA automotive illustrator Darren Curtis) creator of individual automotive prints. Founded in October 2017 and launched at the NEC Classic Motor Show a year later, in November 2018.
Since then Motive Culture has attended numerous shows including the International Historic Motorsport show Race Retro 2019 at Stoneleigh, Coventry; Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble and the first sponsored; show Classics at the Clubhouse, in Kingsclere, Hampshire.
Given that Motive Culture was inspired by the NEC Classic Motor Show – Britain’s largest indoor classic car show – this was an appropriate debut, as founder Darren Curtis, reveals: “I had an epiphany while walking around the NEC Classic in 2017. I’ve had a passion for graphically illustrated posters for years and having attended many car shows – seeing reproductions or other artwork for sale – I thought, I can do this!”
Darren creates off-the-shelf, customised and commissioned artwork for a broad range of enthusiasts and budgets.
“Each piece is created using Adobe Illustrator with a mix of Photoshop too, and takes a good few days to produce a single vehicle. Many of my off-the-shelf prints have yellow headlamps – for no other reason than I think they look cool! Family visits to France in the 1980s must have had an influence. I can produce any vehicle in any colour in the striking ‘head-on view’ composition style for personal commissions,” says Darren.
“I wanted to add something different to my prints, a graphic twist. Using the Motive Culture logo with its stripes and a large roundel, sets the design. The MkI MX5 prints, for instance, have strong backgrounds, giving them a bold identity. Those who order Motive Culture prints are getting exclusive pieces because I don’t produce thousands of each design. Even the off-the-shelf designs are produced in low volumes and of course a print of an individual car is genuinely unique. Ultimately, it’s about capturing an enthusiast’s passion in a print.”
Darren has worked in the fields of graphic design and branding for 23 years alongside a range of companies, from media outlets (such as Autocar, PistonHeads and Classic & Sports Car) and now as an automotive HMI designer for McLaren Automotive. “I’ve tried to work with brands I have a passion for, and have been lucky enough to do so.”
Darren cites a number of automotive artists as inspiration for his work: “Influences are everywhere, but for years I’ve been collecting vintage posters by Géo Ham who really has inspired me. I have a selection of 1970s Monaco Grand Prix prints in my studio and they always remind me to ask: ‘Would I hang this design on my wall?’ If the answer is ‘yes’ the design continues, if I’m not happy with it, it gets binned."
In addition to having a passion for his artwork, Darren is equally enthusiastic about the subject matter. He is the owner of a classic 1994 Rover Mini (owned for 20 years), 1990 Mk1 Mazda MX-5 and a classic Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 Estate which is used to haul poster stock and equipment to shows.
“I’d like to expand Motive Culture to work in partnership with other established brands too – offering bespoke commissions to promote their products. Some watch companies establish these relationships, so it would be great to produce licensed collaborations. We're currently establishing connections with a selection of companies.”
Sharing poster chat with Magnus Walker, renowned Porsche ambassador.