The Real Winner

The Real Winner is my third 2.5D work. It measures about 33cm (13”) in width. After finishing Gripen, I wanted to create something that would really emphasize the natural beauty of acrylic. The grey pavement strip has a high gloss finish, the blue background is semi-gloss, and the blur effect of the crowds in the background was obtained by scribing textures onto the back of a translucent acrylic strip. The motion trail, or ‘whoosh’ behind the car is translucent matt blue acrylic. Both the blurred crowds and the whoosh create implied movement, a technique discussed in my book Diorama Design

Preserving the natural lustre of the various acrylic strips lends visual vibrancy to the finished piece. As you walk past it, the light plays on the surfaces and gives the impression that everything is in motion.

To create a sense of perspective, the layers in the composition are stacked, so each layer is a different distance from the viewer. The grey pavement strip is at the front, followed by the flag, the car, and the background. 

Racing aficionados will recognize the Ford GT40 driven by Ken Miles in the 1966 Le Mans race. With a name like that, he was destined to be a race car driver! The 2019 James Mangold film of the race, which is called Ford v Ferrari in North America and Le Mans ’66 in Europe, inspired this work. If you’ve seen the film, you probably know why I call this piece The Real Winner. It’s a ‘what if’ depiction of Ken Miles crossing the finish line in a clear first place victory, which is what should have happened at the end of the race. The moment in the film when Miles is cheated out of his win by a combination of corporate machinations and arcane racebook technicalities will strike a chord for anyone who has had a major professional accomplishment unfairly dismissed.

The GT40 sports a striking colour scheme featuring Gulf Oil’s light blue and orange shades. These colours remind me of the art deco pastels of South Beach architecture in Miami, USA. They’re a signature component of the GT40 and its racing legacy.