AUSTINTOWN – For some artists, a blank canvas is the basis of their work.
For others, the backdrop for their designs is much less conventional.
This is the case with Guy Shively, whose works of art adorn a myriad of objects, such as signs, boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, helmets or even electric mixers.
âHe actually hand painted all of the graphics on the Mill Creek MetroParks cart,â said his wife, Kary.
Shively, owner of Guy’s Graphics in Austintown, has been beautifying vehicles and other surfaces for decades. His affinity for this unique art form developed when he was in college.
âI saw a sign painter’s booth at the Trumbull County Fair. It looked very interesting and from there my interest in hand painting and lettering was piqued, âhe recalls of his long relationship with pinstriping.
Shively, who attended former Lloyd Elementary and Austintown Fitch High School, went on to earn a BFA in Commercial Art from Youngstown State University, which he attended from 1973 to 1978.
He started Guy’s Graphics in 1975 as a service for the Ohio Van and Truck Supply, then started his own business in 1992 on Silica Road in Austintown.
An old school designer, it is probably his aversion to using anything other than his own hands to create his works of art that makes his services so unique.
âI don’t have a computer and all of my work is done by hand,â he said, noting that he also had no staff except for Kary.
âI guess you could tell she’s my office assistant. It handles everything that requires a computer, âhe said.
The two were married on December 8, 2007 and together have three children from previous marriages. They also have four grandchildren.
Shively is pretty adamant about pinstriping as her sole focus as an artist, but makes exceptions for those close to her.
âI only did portraits of my daughter and my grandchildren. I’m not a portrait painter, but I took pictures of them and my dogs, âhe said.
Perhaps his dedication to his unique work is the reason that examples of his stripes can be found all over the country. Shively has works on display at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed ââin Lincoln, Neb., And previously had art on display at the Sema Show at the Hotrod Heritage art exhibit in Las Vegas.
âI also have a solo show at the National Packard Museum from January 8 through May 22. I will have 20 or more pieces on display,â he said.
And while it’s not currently on display, it also has a piece represented in the permanent collection of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown.
Speaking of the Packard Museum’s motorcycle exhibit, the 66-year-old is responsible for creating his logo, as well as that of the 175th Canfield Fair. And even if he had fun creating the latter, the automobile is now and will always be his main area of ââconcentration. In fact, one of his most prized achievements is none other than a Mercedes Benz.
âI scratched a 1911 Mercedes which is now in Germany. It was a hand-built car that was restored over a period of about five years and is currently housed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, âsaid Shively.
Shively lists âlots of Packards and a 1928 Ahrens-Fox fire truckâ among his other valuable pieces.
And although he’s reached an age where many are looking to quit working, it looks like he’ll be fine in the future.
âI don’t plan to retire anytime soon. I like what I do. After all, I’m a grown boy who plays with cars all day, âhe said.