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MICHAEL ECKERSON February 19, 2023 All Feature Vehicles

A celebration of art, music and cars

It has been said, cars are rolling art. The muse for our imaginations. The inspiration for expression. Some artists find the automobile a thing of beauty that must be captured, even for a moment. That moment is translated into art and the Fireball Gallery showcases those moments for all to see.

The Murphy Automotive Museum and its Fireball Gallery under the direction of FIreball Tim Lawrence has a regularly rotating selection of automotive and traditional art.  At this event, the Fireball Gallery 3, eight new artists were selected to participate. The wide variety of styles from these talented artists makes for a rich viewing experience. On display for a limited time are works from sculptors Ken Vela and Tony Dow, painter Tom Fritz, photography by Dave Parker and Tom Gomez, illustration by Geoff Ombao, and graphic design works by Tommy Scalera and myself. We’ve included brief artist’s bios at the end of this feature so you can seek them out. Each piece on display at the Museum is offered for sale.

Also at this event were dozens of cars parked outside that added to the coolness. On display were a grouping of VWs, a Delorean, a Ford Deluxe Woody Wagon, and La Catrina which was featured in the September issue of Drive! These, and many others lined the parking area. We got some quick shots before heading inside.

Fireball was on the mic doing thank yous and announcements to the crowd, introducing David Neel, Executive Director, and talking about the great work being done at the Museum. He then introduced each of the artists and spoke of their accomplishments.

After the introductions the band went to work entertaining attendees with lively sets of rock-n-roll favorites. The Wham Bam Band ripped it up all night. I’ll use their words since they say it best… “Providing you with burnin’ soul sounds from the 1960’s & 70’s- high energy horns, smoldering vocals, and rockin’ rhythms for your dancing pleasure!”
They certainly did that!

The crowd was eager to mingle and take in the static collection of vehicles that are on display inside the Museum, as well as seeing the art and speaking with each of the artists. Having the chance to get to know the artists and hear first-hand about their inspiration and techniques was definitely a unique experience.

The Murphy Fireball Gallery 3 will be on display for only a short period of time so make some time to get to Oxnard and check it out before it changes to the next set of talented artists and another grand premier event just like this one.


Address: 1930 Eastman Ave., Oxnard, California 93030

Check out Fireball and all the goodness he exudes.

Find the Wham Bam Band LB on social media platforms

Meet the artists on display at The Murphy


Dow creates abstract bronze sculptures. Tony describes his work saying “The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them”. I find the wood in the hills of Topanga Canyon and each piece evolves from my subconscious. I produce limited editions of nine bronzes using the lost wax process from molds of the original burl sculpture.” One of his bronze pieces was on display in the backyard garden of Barbara Billingsley, who played his mother on Leave It to Beaver. He was chosen as one of three sculptors to show at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition, in the Carrousel du Louvre, in Paris, France, in December 2008.


Michael produces works in many styles. His pieces on display at The Murphy include original pinups, commercial automotive art, and a whimsical homage to the ‘70s Odd Rods trading cards.

Since 2017, Michael has been Editor In Chief for Drive! Magazine, a monthly publication that has the distinction of being one of the nation’s longest-running automobile magazines. Michael works with photographers, editors, and contributors to spotlight events, tech, installations, product reviews, and lend support to the automotive aftermarket.,


Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Tom received his formal education from California State University Northridge. As a successful commercial illustrator for a Fortune 500 defense firm, Fritz turned to fine art in his spare time. Among numerous awards, Tom is a seven-time recipient of the Peter Helck Award (Best in Show) at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, A member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society, Tom is licensed by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and is the creator of the popular U.S. Postal Service’s Muscle Car Forever stamp series. His work has been internationally published and is currently found in many private, public, and corporate collections worldwide


Scalera started creating cards as a young child, and his love for graphic design naturally grew into his profession. He worked his way up to Creative Director in New York ad agencies before striking out on his own in 1997 to create Generator Automotive Media. “I really enjoy the challenges inherent in my professional design work, but I love the complete creative freedom that the cards allow me”, says Scalera, “It’s like a creative joy ride without concern for demographics, marketing, or drawing within the lines. And whether it has wood structures, uses multi-megabyte digital files or glows in the dark, it’s still just a card; a simple expression of love”.


Tom’s background is pure automotive. He started as a contributing editor for Lowrider Magazine and credits it as the driving force that allowed him to be and accomplished editor and professional photographer.

Using his background in racing, Tom worked at NASCAR running the Coleman Company marketing campaign at multiple race tracks all over the country. He also managed the Jim Dunn/K&N funny car with driver Frank Pendregon.

He brings fresh perspective from old school hot rods to modern muscle cars, capturing the lifestyle that surrounds them.


Ken’s inspiration comes from nature, architecture, automotive, industrial and everyday life. A self-taught visionary in many aspects of design from Concept to Creation.  He enjoys the challenge of pushing the “limits” with a primary focus on “Free Hand” to create, preserve, restore and repurpose.

“Metalflame Illusion” started life as an original stock 1969 Chevrolet Camaro factory steel hood with original Paint “butternut yellow”. Ken’s vision was to create a one-of-a-kind design that would blend the originality while creating a 3D lighted effect.


Dave Parker has been a photographer for more than 40 years. He first started off small, taking photos while he was at car shows or family vacations as a hobbyist. When he was in the Army, he spent $500 on a Nikon camera then toured Europe, practicing shots within 10 countries and 35 major cities. He spent a lot of time delving into the understanding of making the best use of lighting in any environment, particularly with night time shoots. He continued to build his skill set over the next ten years in various types of shoots, ranging from weddings to scenic shots.


Geoff is an award-winning creative who has worked with The Walt Disney Company, Time-Warner, Pioneer Electronics, and others to launch groundbreaking products, including: the world’s first interactive television system, the first high-speed cable internet service, early digital video recording systems, and more. Geoff has garnered numerous US patents for his work.

Currently, Geoff creates automotive fine art (using digital methods) for print, and digital media (NFT’s). He has been featured in publications such as Speedster Magazine, Driven World, Panorama Magazine, Petrolicious, Worth Magazine, and others.


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