So ya say you want to know more about me ( Eyeball John ) well prepare to be bored out of your skull here goes; Born in Brooklyn, New York back in ’59, I was bitten by the car bug at an early age. I can remember ( I was around 6 years old ) riding in my father’s big fifty-six Buick Special, with my three older sisters racing down Cross bay Blvd. going to Rockaway beach on the week ends and sitting on the front stoop looking at all the kool cars going in and out of the Sinclair gas station across the street from where I lived (with the big green dinosaur), I knew at an early age that cars would play a big roll in my life.
I spent a lot of time as a kid with a pad and pencil drawing cars, monsters, robots, etc., what ever my Krazy little mind could think of, watching all my favorite shows like Batman and the Munsters, checking out all those wild looking cars thinking one day I could build one of those, When I was old enough to use glue I started building car models; I liked the wild looking models that Tom Daniels had designed—like the Paddy Wagon and the Red Baron. Hours were spent building and customizing and playing with these cars, along with my Hot Wheels cars which the Beatnik Bandit happened to be my favorite.
Big Ed and me at the LA Roadster show 92
When I was about seven years old, I was shopping in an A & P with my Mom, when I got a nickel for being good (I guess not annoying my mother while shopping was worth five cents back then). I went straight to the gumball machine, placed the nickel in, gave it a twist and out came the round plastic container. Opened it up and inside was a little red figure with RF on its chest. At the time, I didn’t know what it was, but it was the coolest thing I ever saw. And that is where it all began---my obsession with Rat Fink.
Later in high school, I took auto shop class and had my first hands-on experience working on cars. I realized I like doing body and paint over mechanical. I bought my first air brush and taught my self how to paint. I practiced on "everything". There were flames everywhere you looked.
Over the years I taught my self custom painting, metal fabrication and restorations, and later fiberglass fabrication. I started making my own parts out of molds that I made. At first the molds were crude—made of cardboard, tape, bondo and whatever else was laying around (I am firm believer of using what you got). Later I learned the art of making a plug (original part) and then making a mold from it. Around this time I started carving little things out of, what else, bondo.
George Barris and me at his shop in 92 next to the Munster Koach
Batmobile and the Monkeemobile at Barris's shop 92
All through the years, I was reading in hot rod magazines, about the custom car hero’s—Roth and Barris. These men have influenced me throughout my life. In 1992 while in California at the L.A. Roadster Show, I had the chance to meet and speak with them, I was like a kid in candy store, here were these men that I had read about all threw my childhood, Larger then life hangin out with me talking about cars and joking around, meeting Big Daddy Ed Roth, taking pictures and gettin autographs, could it get any KOOLER than that? , well it did the next day my wife and I drove by George Barris's shop in North Hollywood and stopped in, he was very nice to us and let me take a lot of pictures, and there before were the cars I grew up watching on TV, the Monkeemobile, The Munster Koach, and best of all the Batmobile, I was in Heaven, could it get any better then this?, well yes it did read on.
Three years later Big Daddy was at a car show on Long Island, New York where I had another chance to talk to him and show him some of my work. At that time he asked me about a project he had in mind and would I like to work on it with him (like he had to ask). I ran out and got some clay and spent the day working on the sculpture with him, which turned out to be the "flying eyeball clock". Big Daddy said take it home and finish it make a mold and send me one, a couple of weeks later the resin casting was on its way to Big Daddy, He was impressed with the sculpture, so he told me to create a shifter knob. That's when Big Daddy knighted me ( sort of ) he gave me the name "Eyeball John" and things have never been the same.
Since then I have been making my custom fiberglass parts, restoring and building Kustom cars, trucks and bikes creating my little shifter knobs out of clay and bondo (hey, if it works, use it) and making molds for resin casting. I am always trying to come with new and innovative products with a Kustom Kulture feel.
I also would like to Thank Ed Roth and Moldy Marvin for having me as one of their featured artist on their web site VERY KOOL.
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth past away on Wednesday April 4 2001, Please check out my tribute to him.
Rat Fink™ name and device and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and "Moldy Marvin" are trademarks of Ed Roth © 1999/2000 Rat Fink device © Ed Roth 1986 (Ed "Big Daddy" Roth,Rat Fink,Beatnik Bandit,Road Agent,Outlaw, Mysterion,Tweedy Pie,Stealth 2000, Surfite, Wild Child,Angel Fink, Robin Hood Fink, Mothers Worry, & Dragnut are all trademarks of Ed Roth (C) '99/2000.)