Art and automobiles fuel Austintown man’s passion

Guy Shively, owner of Guy’s Graphics in Austintown, works on customizing a car’s tire rim recently at his business. Shively, a graduate of Austintown Fitch High School and Youngstown State University, does all of his artwork by hand. Submitted photo

AUSTINTOWN — For some artists, a blank canvas is the foundation of their work.

For others, the backdrop for their creations is far less conventional.

Such is the case for Guy Shively, whose works of art adorn myriad objects, such as signs, boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, helmets and even electric stand-up mixers.

“He actually painted all the graphics on the Mill Creek MetroParks trolley by hand,” said his wife, Kary.

Shively, owner of Guy’s Graphics in Austintown, has been beautifying vehicles and other surfaces for decades. His affinity for the unique art form developed when he was in junior high school.

“I 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,” he recalls of his long relationship with pinstriping.

Shively, who attended the former Lloyd Elementary and Austintown Fitch High School, went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in commercial art from Youngstown State University, which he attended from 1973 through 1978.

He began Guy’s Graphics in 1975 as a service of Ohio Van and Truck Supply then established his own business in 1992 on Silica Road in Austintown.

An old-school designer, it’s likely his aversion to using anything but his own two hands to create his artwork that makes his services so unique.

“I don’t have a computer, and all of my work is done by hand,” he said, noting that he also has no staff, except for Kary.

“I suppose you could say she is my office assistant. She handles anything requiring a computer,” he said.

The two were married Dec. 8, 2007, and have a combined three children from previous marriages. They also have four grandchildren.

Shively is fairly adamant about pinstriping as his sole focus as an artist, but makes exceptions for his loved ones.

“I have done portraits of my daughter and grandchildren only. I’m not a portrait guy but have done pictures of them and my dogs,” he said.

Perhaps his dedication to his unique artwork is the reason examples of his pinstriping can be found peppered throughout the nation. Shively has works on display at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Neb., and formerly had artwork featured at the Hotrod Heritage art exhibit’s Sema Show in Las Vegas.

“I am also having a one-man show at the National Packard Museum beginning Jan. 8 and running through May 22. I will have 20 or more pieces on display,” he said.

And though it isn’t on current display, he also has a piece represented within 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 its logo, as well as that of the 175th Canfield Fair. And even though he enjoyed creating the latter, cars are now and will always be his main area of concentration. In fact, one of his most prized accomplishments is none other than a Mercedes Benz.

“I striped a 1911 Mercedes that is in now in Germany. It was a hand-built car restored over a period of about five years and is currently in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany,” Shively said.

Shively lists “lots of Packards and a 1928 Ahrens-Fox firetruck” among his other treasured pieces.

And though he’s reached an age when many are looking to stop working, it seems he will be pinstriping well into the future.

“I have no plans of retiring any time soon. I enjoy what I do. After all, I am an adult boy who plays with cars all day long,” he said.

TAG LINE: To suggest a Saturday profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at bcole@tribtoday.com or metro editor Marly Reichert at mreichert@tribtoday.com.



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