Friday, March 06, 2009

Shot of the Day #65: The Shell of Success

Shot with iphone. Click to enlarge.

After seeing a WATCHMEN matinee this afternoon (more on that after I see it a few more times, see you then), my brothers and I stopped by the abandoned building that was once my father's small-scale empire. Automotive Trik was to many in our area an institution, and my Dad was it's Citizen Kane, the many creations he made for his customers his own Rosebuds, made fresh daily in steel, oil, plastic and plenty of elbow grease. My Dad was like a fashion designer for cars and trucks in a semi-underground culture only made more surface-level with films like SMOKEY & THE BANDIT 2, TWO LANE BLACKTOP & THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS to poorly name a few. He was a genius with the stuff, and his passion and determination kept the company alive and well for years, well past the age when dealerships selling the cars began selling them "pre-customized" and mail-order, both of which challenged his business. He survived in a fickle industry not only because he did or supervised most of the custom work himself, for better or worse, adding a special custom edge, but also because he was so stern and thick headed, plowing through economical strive and cultural relevance. His work was so popular, that the term 'Trik Edition' was the seal of quality that was worn on the many vehicles he "trik'd out" like a badge of honor. Work so popular, I saw "Trik Editions" wherever I went for years, from South Carolina to even Cali, and the "Trik" term was even attached to his name, hence "Joe Trik". He was proud of his work, and it showed (and spread).

This building was made with his hands (a renevation in 1990 turned a tiny shack into this multi-leveled building you see here, a shell of it's former glory and rented by Pop for a few years) and it was a building I know every nook and cranny since I/we worked there for years. Sure, I mostly read Fangoria magazine, which was deceptively wedged between Mickey Thompson and Borla catalogues, but it was still my first job and I witnessed first-hand how to make something out of nothing (or something out of "standard issue model") and an amazing attention to detail. My family survived off of this building, and we all grew up within it's walls. My dad was truly happy with what he career path, and this company reflected that, his work stood as an example of loving what you do. I might not have grown up to be the gear-head he probably wanted to take over the business, but it did push me to strive to love what I did with my life professionally too.

Thanks again, DOES feel good to do just that.

Seeing the empty building was bittersweet, but it also felt good to see it one more time. Below is one of the signs he used at the many car shows we attended with his arsenal of vehicles, which was on-display at the wake. Not shockingly, many of his customers showed up amongst family and friends, who teared up not over the pictures we put around the room, but this sign. I know why now.



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