article published in hh

Anthony James

Los Angeles


Would you make the ultimate sacrifice and burn your dream car to the ground in the name of making an artistic statement? Probably not. Meet the artist that set his car – and the art industry – ablaze – literally.  


        Long before this visionary man unleashed his inner-Cameron Frye on an unsuspecting Ferrari, he was a struggling artist, searching to define his passions and establish his own merit on the art scene. A car enthusiast for as long as he can remember, Anthony worked his fingers to the bone in the hopes of holding the keys to a coveted Ferrari. While most people would be quick to point out that “Ferrari” and “struggling artist” don’t belong in the same sentence, it should be noted that it was not always his art that was paying the bills – Anthony was working any angles he could find to reach his goal. After many years of saving, Anthony went out and bought himself a Ferrari 355 Spider and reveled in the joy of not only driving a car he was obsessed with but also in the joy of having accomplished something in the realm of his own success. However, Anthony looked down on his key ring and found not only Ferrari keys, but the keys to an apartment as well. Dejected by his own opulence, Anthony decided to follow the Greek method of sacrifice and crash and burn the car to form one of the most unique art pieces we have ever profiled in Heavy Hitters Magazine. The rest is history.


       Now, the British-born James is a successful artist, having graduated with honors at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London in 1998. He has gone on to have his work featured in museums and galleries worldwide and displayed in the General Motors Building and the Seagram Building in New York. The bi-coastal artist splits time between New York and Los Angeles and is currently working on a series of pieces with an “order in chaos” theme. During one of his West Coast stints, we caught up with Anthony to find out why doing something insane can actually replenish your sanity.


How did this monumental piece of automotive art come to be?


When I was seven years old, I was always infatuated with Ferrari cars, and I turned that obsession into a reality by the time I was 30 years old and actually able to afford one.


How were you able to finally afford the Ferrari?

It was quite simple. I saved, saved, saved. I was a struggling artist and made a few good deals, so when I was ready, I went out and bought a Ferrari 355. The Ferrari was my prized possession, and I remember parking it outside my tiny East Village apartment.

So how in turn, did your prized possession crash, burn, and become a piece of art?


I conceptualized this piece back in 2001, and I knew that the car would ultimately become made into a piece of art. Since it was my prized possession, I conceptualized a plan, which revolved around the Ferrari, and for me, it was about making work a sacrifice amongst other concepts and metaphors. Since it would become a sacrifice to make this piece, I decided that I wanted to torch the vehicle, and this is where the birch trees come into play. The ancient Greeks would make their sacrifices in the Birch Forest for Venus, and with that said, it gave me the idea to take my car to Kingston, where I went to douse the vehicle in gas and set it on fire in the dark forest.


So where did the rear end damage come from?

I knew what my intentions were, so I was messing around with the car and ended up taking it sideways into a tree – thus the use of the birch trees in my piece. After hitting the rear quarter panel, I set it on fire, and to be honest; it was a wild experience. The vehicle actually exploded twice, and the flames from the fire were so intense that for a minute, I thought that I might have gone too far and lost everything. I was thinking that I might have burned it too much and didn’t know if it would be used as the centerpiece of my sculpture. 


So, the original intention was to destroy a perfectly good car?


Yeah. It’s like burning cash in some way. I remember wanting the car so bad that it only made sense to use my prized possession as the ultimate sacrifice for this art piece. It actually all worked out well, and I think it’s a powerful piece. 


How long did it take to create this masterpiece from concept to completion?


It took me ages to make this all happen. In all, it took a total of probably 2.5 years to create. As a concept, the idea was around five years in the making, and a lot of it was because I wanted to take my time. I wanted to work out every detail and make sure that the metaphor was right for the piece and translated perfectly. It was technically difficult in places as well and using the Ferrari as a centerpiece didn’t make it easy to move around.


Every time you have to move the piece from gallery to gallery, is it moved as a whole unit, or does it have to be disassembled, transported, and reassembled?


The entire structure comes apart, and it has to be carefully moved piece by piece and then reconstructed. In total, it takes about three days from start to finish, and that’s utilizing a crew of four to five people.


How much does this particular piece sell for?


I don’t know what the price is. You have to ask Patrick Painter, who represents me. When I make this kind of art or any art at all, I don’t think about the prices; I think about the concept and the finalized product. Money and creativity don’t mix. I simply have an idea, and I execute it. 


You told me you waited a long time to show the piece and to get the right representation. You told me the story, but how did you end up with Patrick, and why?


I previewed the piece in New York just in my studio, and MOMA invited some of the committee members and threw a party at my studio. There were about 100 people in attendance at this same time that Art Net Magazine did a story about it. Patrick Painter saw the piece and contacted me.


How did it feel to get a call from one of the most influential art dealers in the world?


I was very excited. When I first received his call, I knew that it was going to be a good match. I like what Patrick stands for, and he is knowledgeable about the market and passionate about the artists he works with and represents…and here we are now. 


Was your career always as outstanding as we now see?


Not at all. In my twenties, even though I had some success in making individual works, the majority of my career was a complete failure. I was always in financial trouble, and it took me a long time to get out of that trouble. Finding the right representation was always a problem, and I always wanted to make sculptures with no compromise, which is easier said than done. There’s a lot that goes into a piece, and I needed a solid and responsible crew, as well as really good materials and the right backing to fund a piece. In short, my early twenties had minimal success, but as I kept on progressing and evolving, I had to become more tenacious and hungry. It wasn’t until years later that everything started happening for me. 




What kept you motivated?


It was just something that was within me. I like making art. It’s what I do, and I don’t know if I can do anything else. I know that I don’t want to do anything else, and I’m not capable of doing anything else, so I guess you can say that I’ve given myself no option but to make it. Art has been my obsession for a very long time now.


Give us a breakdown of the Rolls Royce?


I’m obsessed with cars, and I’ve had a bunch of cars over the years. The latest vehicle I bought was this Rolls Royce.


Why did you opt to buy a classic Rolls Royce?


I bought it because the Rolls Royce reminds me of my relationship with my work. The coach is built 100% by hand. It reminds me of my studio practice. Just like everything I create in the studio is made with my hands, these vehicles exude that same kind of craftsmanship. These vintage models were all built by hand, and just like my art, they’re representative of the blood, sweat, and tears required to handcraft something. We’re making something with no compromise, and I think this Rolls Royce is an example of that kind of quality. Besides, it’s eccentric and not purely functional by any means. To get even more in detail, the particular model was limited to only 250 units, and I like that because it runs in perfect parallel with great art. It’s scarce and always limited in number.


In terms of the future for Anthony James, where do you see yourself headed?


I’m just very excited to be located in LA. I think I’m making my best work to date, and it’s getting better. It makes me more excited, and I know I’m in the right city. I see my future here is making art in Los Angeles to the best of my abilities.


Do you have any advice for any aspiring artist that read your piece?


Stick with it and stay dedicated. Eventually, you will get where you want to be and, most importantly, stay tenacious and stay dedicated to what you believe.




I’ve heard rumors that this is going to become a series?


Yes, you’re correct. I plan on making more of the car pieces. For this concept to be done correctly, there has to be more than one piece, and I’m thinking about doing the next one with a Ferrari or quite possibly a Lamborghini.   


Why not crash the Rolls?


No! There’s no metaphor. I have no problem blowing this one up, but for me, it just wouldn’t carry the right metaphor for the job. 


Did you feel it was stress-relieving to destroy the Ferrari?


To do something so hedonistic was definitely relaxing. Sometimes, God reveals himself in opposites, and I thought he was anti-materialistic by burning the car; it ended up being a hedonist.




The Cost to be The Boss.

Editorial write up that covers the cost of getting duplicate
keys  for vehicles ranging from the Bugatti to a Honda.






Why the Hispanic market is fascinated with trucks and why that legacy will never die.

By JVJ – Featured in Motor Trend Espanol

Automotive brands such as Ferrari and Mercedes have long been status symbols of success but move on over to other parts of the world and what you’ll find are opposites. Take, for instance, Mexico.

Just a hop, skip and jump away from California, low slung lines, and the need for speed comes secondary to full-size utilitarian dreams. Maybe it’s the practicality of having a truck or the fond memories of their forefathers in those same vehicles, but either way, trucks are all the rage – and the ultimate status symbol – in a country that spans some 760,000 sq. Miles.

Now don’t get it wrong. Trucks aren’t the top choice for everyone there, but they win the majority vote. From Chevy to Ford, those two brands of trucks have long been symbols of success and modes of transportation that signify that you’ve made it big. From entrepreneurs to common folk, trucks are at the epicenter of luxury, and where you’ll find mansions and millionaires, you’re sure to find trucks tucked away in their collection – if not standing at the front of them. But that vision isn’t confined just within the borders of Mexico. 

A fascination with classic work trucks can be found throughout the world, and during a recent visit to Gage Auto Center (Bell, CA), the trip shed some light on just how serious it can get. As we pulled up, the front lot looked more like a small car show. There were five late model 70’s Ford PU trucks. All of them flawless. Some were period-correct restorations; others were restomods fitted with big wheels and LS7 motors. Nonetheless, each of them historical gems preserved by its owners with passion and pride.

Now the only reason I was even able to find the place was because of a friend who had recently pumped close to 30K into a truck that would have only fetched a few thousand dollars. I went there curious and left hours later with a deeper understanding of truck culture.

When I asked about the mindset behind the builds, the responses were unlike any I’ve heard before. Having a 20-year background as an automotive lifestyle specialist, I’ve listened to everything from the asinine, “I don’t know. I just built it” to the ever so cocky, “I built it (or bought it) because I could afford to.” But the responses I heard from these proud truck owners brought about an ideology that was enlightening.  

“These aren’t just any old trucks,” said Cavalero Gonzalez, owner of the red and white, period-correct 1971 F150. “These are status symbols that carry a tradition of pride and history.” As our conversation continued, I asked him to elaborate on the topic, and his words echoed an even deeper note as he said, “These trucks are a token of respect that pay homage to our forefathers. These are the same trucks that helped raised large families and support their surrounding community. It’s our way of paying respect to our ancestors and a reminder that we can’t forget where we came from.” 

Then the conversation took an interesting turn. As we walked inside the shop, a Lamborghini Aventador was up on the lift. It had bumper damage, and in the process of repair, as we got closer, Mr. Gonzalez said, “You see this. This is a car with no soul. Sure it’s pretty and fast but it has no substance. No value. This is not wifey material; it is not a keeper.” It turns out that was his as well.  

The rest of the afternoon was spent talking with a few of the other truck owners, and they all echoed the same sentiment. This is a culture built on heritage and pride. Whereas many cars become a part of the collection, these trucks are a part of the family. Trucks may be cheap in short sight, but they’re also the same vehicles that carried more than bails of hay or thousands of dirt pounds. These trucks are symbolic of the time when their forefathers put in hard work with little pay and much pain, but these are the trucks that funded their family’s survival – and that’s an expensive price to pay for something as simple as a truck.




Check out our work

DOOR HANDLES by Undisclosed

Product Feature for Centurion


(Images are for reference only and not the images provided to the actual publication)

Nestled in a quaint Los Angeles neighborhood is a picture-perfect home that’s well-manicured and perfectly appointed. It’s the home of a designer who refers to himself as “Undisclosed,” and it’s a moniker he lives up to. As an inventor and designer, he spent his youth engineering award-winning surgical equipment, and his success has afforded him a life of leisure. Yet, instead of traveling the world or collecting cars, he’s instead become a recluse with an ill temper and an intense passion for creating one-off home goods inside his clandestine machine shop that occupies his three-car garage.   

Undisclosed refers to his creations as “conversation pieces” and have become the prized possessions of his whisper-list clientele. He prides himself in never making duplicates and insists that function supersedes form and fashion. “I never make two of anything. I hate mass production,” says Undisclosed. He adds, “Each of my pieces is dual function. One function is apparent and the other only known to its owner.”  Take for example the Canon doorknob. It first functions as a doorknob but doubles as a lens holder. Meanwhile, the Cosinon Reflex Zoom knob doubles as an active surveillance lens tied into his Crestron home automation system. With Undisclosed, his creations are limited to your budget and his most expensive doorknob to date utilized a Nikkor 6mm which alone cost its owner well over six figures. 

With no website, no publicly listed contact info, Undisclosed is for those in the know, so if you want one of his pieces, a referral by an existing client is a must, and from there, “Membership has its privileges.” 

Check out our work


Product Feature for BBI


These home accessories from Buster + Punch have become the ultimate statement of excess. Visually stimulating and exotic to the touch, their light switches make turning on your lights an experience and have become the hallmark of their brand. Available in brass, stainless, and several color options, these light switches feature old school rotary knobs sporting the B+P signature diamond-cut, cross knurl pattern. Visually, the craftsmanship is spot-on, and their manufacturing standards rival those found on only the best luxury products. More than just light switches, Buster + Punch makes delightful home accessories, and while they do cost a pretty penny, it should come as no surprise that it costs to be the boss.  





Editorial BY JVJ for BBI Mag

Having “the finer things” in life is an opulent dream; one that encompasses fancy cars, jewelry, and big houses. It is a dream that draws a bold line between the haves and have-nots, and draws the ire of the less fortunate. Throughout our pages, we have brought products and imagery relating to this concept through a variety of individuals, each afforded the toys and treats that come along with a lifetime of hard work. That said, we decided to bring you a different look into high-end acquisitions; one that varies from the typical social conventions of Big Willie-ism while also saying something about it. Only the social elite and historic institutions dare tread these rarified waters, and the current is brought to you by artist Kris Kuksi. A Master of Fine Arts who has studied the world over, Kuksi’s Baroque influences and fine arts disciplines lead him to the creation of his signature works; gigantic assemblages cut from the pieces of old objects, toys, mechanical parts, tools, and anything else he can put together in the name of visually describing the darkside of mankind’s hypocritical nature. His work is almost indescribable via the written word; imagine opening a Pandora’s box and hanging it on your wall. Kris’ attention to detail in the pieces is staggering, and the time he spends in creating each piece can only be eclipsed by the time taken by onlookers in appreciating them. His work holds up a mirror to show us the duality within ourselves and the perils of being one’s own worst enemy. All at once jarring, emotional, and reflective, Kuksi’s commentary has not been lost on the art collecting community as his pieces remain some of the most sought after in the world. Being featured in more than 100 worldwide exhibitions and art instillations including the Cologne Art Fair in Germany and the Smithsonian only furthered the demand of his one-of-a-kind creations. Sotheby’s auction has even sold some of his pieces, and collectors of his enigmatic works include the likes of Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams, Nike CEO Mark Parker, film director Guillermo del Toro and a chosen few, willing to pony up the price it takes to hang these societal mirrors on their walls. Simply put, Kris Kuksi’s art sits atop of our Heavy Hitters bucket list. It should be on yours, too. 

How does inspiration come to you? Do you build your pieces based on items you find that would make for great compositions or do you start with a theme and concept in mind?

I’d have to say both can play a role. I can be inspired by the materials on hand or even by a creative whim. Random flashes of inspiration work well, but either way, in the end, it all just flows. My inspirations vary from the methodical, transient, or the accidental.

Obviously they vary by size but there is so much detail in your works, how long on average does it take you to make a piece?

I always get asked that and it’s really hard to answer; there are so many factors. For instance, if there is something I started collecting a couple years ago; how can you measure the true length of time it took to build? Now, I suppose if I had everything in front of me and didn’t have to collect anything additional, the process would be much quicker. I’m very finicky about what comes up and I never rush anything. I always have to be very respectful in regards to the whole process. Creating each piece is kind of like a spiritual experience and you can’t really nail it or explain it. I think art in general is like that, or at least it should be. 

Do you have a methodology to finding the materials that comprise your works?

Oftentimes, I’ll go to hobby stores, toy stores; just about anywhere, actually. I’ll look at home improvement stores, specialized online stores, home decor and furnishing stores; materials can come from a number of places and usually it takes years to collect all the right pieces.

What’s the most expensive piece you’ve sold?

 Mark Parker’s piece was the most expensive piece. There was an article featured in the September issue of Fast Company; and you can actually see the piece hanging in his office.

Who are some of the well-known and most notable collectors of your work?

 Mark Parker has been the biggest individual collector of my work so far, Robin Williams, Fred Durst, and Guillermo Del Toro also have some of my pieces.

When it comes to your most intricate piece, how many pieces did it take and how much labor was involved?

 How many pieces?! Oh gosh, tens of thousands for one piece in particular, all fused together! The process was a year from the time he asked me to do it; start to finish.

What does you largest piece weigh?

 I’m really not good with weight. I’m kind of bad at guessing. [laughs.] This one I built actually sported some handles on it so you could carry it. The weight was so heavy that even two people carrying it were barely enough. To help transport it better, I built a wall with wheels on the bottom so you could fasten the piece to the wall and roll it around. We actually affixed it to the wall, got it off a cargo truck, and rolled it off a ramp. It was quite the engineering process.




Editorial letter for HH. Photos & Editorial by JVJ.


Reverse psychology can sound manipulative, but it is sometimes a necessary evil when looking at oneself in the mirror. I’ll explain it. When things fall into place, and everything seems to be working out great, this is the time you need NOT get comfortable. Sure, you’ll want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but you should never stop planning and making moves because this is where many begin to lose the discipline that helped produce the results in the first place. 

It’s akin to going to the gym. Constant maintenance fueled by discipline and routine is the only way to keep yourself where you want to be, and this is echoed even further through the avenues of finance and business. Sure, the trophies, accolades, and material rewards can be necessary to stoking your competitive fire. Still, you should be careful not to fall into a state of complacency to the point where you can become blindsided by your achievements’ glitz and glory. You see, success – no matter how you define it – creates high levels of euphoria and comfort, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, you do have to remember that this is the time to push the boundaries and think about breaking the next set of barriers.

If you want to stay one step ahead of your competition, the one thing you have to realize is that success not only breeds envy and fear but even worse; it breeds copy cats and “goalies” – a term we use to define those who want to block achieving your goals. These two adversaries can be toxic and dangerous to your vision, but they can become reinforcement tools. Regardless of whether you see them as a serious threat or not, goalies should still keep you on your toes and just another reason why you should never become complacent and keep your foot on the gas. 

Of course, the funniest thing about all this is the fact that no one bothers you on the way up, but once you’ve officially put yourself on the map, nobody wants you to win. It may sound not very optimistic, but the fact of the matter is that this is just human nature and a sign of the times in the culture we live in today. Everyone wants to see a good fight, but society has also become obsessed with the victors’ downfall, solely to see them work their way back up. While I agree that redemption is sweet, staying on top is even more compelling, just don’t get caught with your head in the clouds. The late film icon Dame Elizabeth Taylor once remarked, “Success is a great deodorant.” It’s true; just don’t get caught up in smelling the roses, too.







You’re sound asleep when suddenly you hear noises coming from your living room. What do you do? As you gather your senses, instinctively, you reach for your firearm and head down the hallway. As the sounds get louder, you approach the blind corner to your living room, and that’s when anxiety strikes, and you’re faced with a decision.

Do you peak around the corner to see what’s going on? Wait for them to leave? Or wait for them to hit the corner so you can engage?

This is a situation many of us have play out in our heads, and regardless of how well prepared you are to circumvent the problem, it’s still a loaded question and one that could be addressed by this slick design.

Known in the Hollywood special effects arena, the maker of this whimsical creation received an interesting phone call and, along with it, a request that a custom weapon be made for a movie set. It turns out the producer wanted a gun that could shoot around a corner, but he also made it very clear that he was well aware of the Israeli-made Cornershot. He said, “I’m well aware of the Cornershot, but I need something shorter, something with more pizzazz, something awe-inspiring and something that will turn heads, function on set and look as if it were the brainchild of an inventive machinist.”

With that in mind, this inventor and fabricator (his name withheld upon his request) went to work and created a Cornershot inspired gun. After sketching out a few ideas, he went to work, and the end result was this beautiful beast. “The producer wanted something that looked like it was machined in a garage by a madman, and it had to be a functional unit.” says the maker. “He didn’t want it refined, and that’s why I left it raw with machine marks and some minor surface imperfections. I think it came out pretty good” says its maker.

With a total length of 24-inches fully extended, it makes this unit shorter than the Cornershot by 8-inches. When collapsed, the same unit then measures in at just 20 ¾ inches, and it utilizes a .40 caliber Glock 23, which is cradled to the secondary handgun pivot. The primary grip is responsible for holding the trigger assembly and the internal pivot lock assembly, Contour camera, cellphone mount, and collapsible rear stock.

Constructed using a combination of 6061 and 7075 aluminum, the unit’s overall weight is 7.4 pounds fully loaded. The Contour bullet cam transmits a feed via Bluetooth to an iPhone, and articulation of the weapon (from left to right) is achieved by pushing a switch found on the left side of the cradle.

The creator says the gun was tested at lengths of 20 feet with accuracy but did mention it takes a bit of time to get acclimated to viewing the target on a screen. Since the view found on the iPhone does not have crosshairs or guides, target acquisition is manageable – and becomes an acquired skill that was limited to 9-inch groupings at best. Not perfect, but definitely manageable and still deadly if aiming for body shots.

As for recoil, the developer said that firing straight was manageable and smooth compared to a stand-alone Glock 23, but when articulated to either right or left positions, it offers much more rise, which has to be compensated for. He also mentions its rise and horizontal rolls make it more challenging to stay on target, but it’s easily balanced with much practice.

Unfortunately, we weren’t available to test the unit during the time allotted to us, and it has since been shipped off to the producer. And while we do have another opportunity to take the weapon out for testing at a future date, we’ll wait patiently and do a follow-up review on its performance values.

With no intentions of producing it for sale, it’s definitely sad news, but we’re happy to have been able to spend a day photographing it. This design exercise also shows the strength of our imaginations and further reinforces the fact that inspiration is all around us. And while the dreamy weapon was a short-lived reality for both creator and our staff, it’s definitely a weapon system to admire – and one that you’ll see making its debut on the silver screen sometime soon.





(Full article was found in the print version of the magazine)

Racking your shotgun becomes much less of a concern when intruders – or zombies – can’t make their way into your house. That said, we recently took a look at what might be the world’s ultimate home defense system. It’s an architectural masterpiece that’ll leave potential intruders and zombies in awe.

Nowadays, the business of personal security is booming, and the money being spent on panic rooms, weapons, surveillance systems, and personal protection is at an all-time high. From high-powered diplomats to paranoid business moguls, safety has become an issue that’s taken deadly seriously (no pun intended). The “Safehouse” is the ultimate man cave that addresses every issue from personal safety and comfort to minimalistic design and functional architecture.

Located in a small village at the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, this minimalistic compound designed by Robert Konieczny and constructed by KWK Promes sits amid a legion of “Polish Cubes” in the 1960s and a sprinkling of old wooden barns. Surrounded by plenty of barren land and sprawling acres, the house resides on a backdrop that looks almost computer-generated but doesn’t let its minimalistic demeanor fool you.

The owner, who opted to remain anonymous (understandably), wanted a retreat that would double as a fortress, and that is exactly what architect Konieczny delivered from conception to execution. Of course, a safe house wouldn’t be secure if its builder gave away all of the specs, so understand if we’re slightly vague in detail.