An Alternative Art of Kenny Youngblood
Introduction by Jeff Burk
Virtually everyone in drag racing knows the art and talent of Kenny
Youngblood. His paintings, posters and graphic designs can be seen
everywhere you look in the sport. I have a few of his prints framed
and hanging in my office.
But there is a side to Kenny Youngblood that most fans never see.
He is also a great sketch artist and, along with Pete Millar, one
of drag racing's great political cartoonists.
The main difference between Millar and Youngblood's cartoons is that
Youngblood doesn't officially publish his. Over the years when Kenny
comes to a race he will often carry a sketch pad and a Sharpie pen
around with him and whip off a drawing of some event or person that
strikes his fancy. He signs it and gives it away and starts another.
Instead of talking with his mouth he lets his art do it for him. For
years as an editor I have tried to get Kenny to go to a race and just
illustrate it for me. He never would and I think that the reason is
that it wouldn't be the same.
While at the Gatornationals, I came upon Kenny holding court at an
open-air bar in Gainesville called the Ale House. It is a place where
many of the racers congregate after a day at the races. He had a stack
of large place mats, a Magic Marker and a glass of the house red wine
at his side. As I sat there racers, journalists and fans would wander
up to the table to share some conversation and a drink. While people
talked, Kenny drew. He must have drawn 15 or 20 cartoons as I sat
there, most of them concerning the topics of conversation. It was
magical. NHRA and Englishtown announcer Lewis Bloom - who, interestingly
enough, was an art student at one time -- told me that in his early
years Picasso would sit in the outdoor cafes in Madrid and Paris and
sketch on napkins. What Youngblood was doing reminded him of that,
and I totally agree.
I thought our readers might like to see some of Kenny's art drawn
He is truly one of the legends of drag racing and one of the kindest,
gentlest, most passionate souls in our sport. Buy his art when you
can. That's an order!
To see more of Kenny Youngblood's work go to youngbloodart.com.