Unlike most children in kindergarten, Marcos Gaitan wasn’t throwing paint on boards and drawing on whatever household furniture was exposed, instead he was immersed in drawing cars and choppers. At first, his family may have been deemed his work as a passing hobby, but the love never faded and the pictures only got bigger and better. During that time, Marcos was also exposed to the car show scene on varying levels. He was there to observe his father’s obsession with custom cars and he tells LRM, “My family was never really into traditional sports. In our family, car shows like the Autorama were our sport, and we shared that passion as a family.” As part of their weekend ritual, Marcos may have been too small to be seen but he still remembers hitting up the legendary cruises to King and Story — a ’70s cruise spot in East San Jose, which remains legendary till today.

As years passed he went from pencil drawings to paintings, from 11×17-inch sheets of paper to full-blown wall canvases. Yet throughout all his experiences his passion for drawing vehicles was one he couldn’t shake. He’d attend car shows and cruises to gather inspiration, and till today most of his canvases seem to be skewed toward automobiles and cultural subject matter. Marcos adds, “My culture means a lot to me, and I have a personal connection to each piece I create.”

But ask him about his 1965 Impala that landed a cover on LOWRIDER and he’ll treat it no different. “When I built my car, I wasn’t building a project car, I was working on just a bigger canvas,” Marcos says; and as a member of Hightone Car Club, Marcos doesn’t differentiate between car and canvas. For him, the world and everything in it is merely a canvas by which he can add his personal touch and share his vision. Now a mural painter by trade, cars and paint run through his blood. His works can be found all throughout Northern California and his work has even appeared in government buildings as well as restaurants, stores, and high traffic areas.

He’s an artist who tells visual stories, and whereas others are jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Gaitan is a king at his craft. He’s dedicated his life to the arts, and with each piece he creates he’s pushing boundaries and sharing his love for his culture, community, and cars.