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Manu Campa – The Porsche artist

July 29, 2022 / By Richard Lindhorst
Manu Campa – The Porsche artist

For Manu Campa, a car is much more than just a means of transportation. They are his passion and profession. The artist from Madrid paints your Porsche on canvas, in his very own style. Manu Campa is a wonderfully down-to-earth character. He told me how he came to painting in the first place and what fascinates him about Porsche in particular. I was very surprised by the path his career took and what ultimately brought him to the subject of cars….

Hey Manu, thanks a lot for having me! Before we get to why you chose to immortalize Porsche on canvas: How did it all start? Where are you from and how did you get into cars?

Hi Richard, you’re welcome! My family didn’t really have anything to do with cars. But they sort of get it today, that everything I do is always related to cars. It must have been when I was about eight to ten years old. I loved car magazines and books about them. Especially when it was about classic cars.

Manu Campa the Porsche artist paints your Porsche on canvas
Manu Campa creates genuine Porsche works of art in his Madrid studio, also on customer request.

When I was twelve years old, it really started. I took my first photos at car meetings. Shortly thereafter, I made connections with a workshop around the corner. Vehicles were being restored there and I was allowed to drop in every now and then. And from then on, the subject has not let me go.

You then studied art in Madrid. But your first works were not cars, but portraits and animals. Why?

During my studies and my first years as a painter, I tried out a lot of things. That was important for me to find out where my passion lay. This was always based on the motive, that I would like to make a living with my art. So I was already aware of the commercial side of art. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your clients and imagine what they would want and commission.

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But let’s be clear about this: As much as I have to and want to sell things, of course, I wanted to keep the fun in painting. I then started with portraits. Of course, families were very interested, because they are beautiful gifts. After that, I painted animals. That was extremely fun for me. Animals are always honest in their emotions and that made it so wonderful.

Why did you change your focus, then?

As I said, I tried many things. Man-made design fascinates me to this day. After graduation, I became very interested in classic bicycles. These are no natural shapes, but man-made designs. I was really taken with this kind of functional, yet aesthetic design. That’s why I had to experiment with it.

My first car paintings were not exactly satisfactory for me.

Manu Campa about his first cars on canvas

Since I’ve been interested in cars from a very early age, I had to try my hand in this field as well. But the change was not so easy. My first car paintings were not exactly satisfactory for me. But the beauty of painting is that each picture is unique. With every single painting I find things that I can do differently.

The name Manu Campa is now almost inseparably linked with Porsche. What fascinates you about the 911? And how would you describe your style?

The gentle evolution of the Porsche 911 concept over almost 70 years is incredible. Against all design trends, Porsche has always stuck to its philosophy. In doing so, they have created an attractive, timeless product that is now emblematic of sports cars. On a Porsche 911, there is not a single line too many. The simplicity of its design is fascinating. And the simpler a design is, the more timeless it is and the bigger its impact. That’s exactly what I want to convey with my paintings. So the approaches are kind of similar and that’s why it seems fitting to me.

On a Porsche 911, there is not a single line too many. The simplicity of its design is fascinating. And the simpler a design is, the more timeless it is and the bigger its impact.

Manu Campa

The key for me is finding myself within the images. I’m with Porsche on this. If you follow a trend, you’ll have difficulties in a few years. My painting style is relatively simple at first. I hardly ever use more than ten brushes per painting. But at the same time, I don’t want people to see at first glance that it’s a painting from a certain distance. It’s a fine line not to let the picture become too realistic.

If I want a real Manu Campa for my home, how long do I have to wait? What else are you planning for the future?

First of all, there is the question of what the customer wants. In most cases, they are very open-minded about it and give me a lot of leeway. About a week’s work goes into each picture. The waiting time is currently a little over a year. It’s very demanding, to be honest. Because I don’t just want to do commissioned work. For example, I was at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2022, from which I would like to create a series of twelve to fifteen paintings and exhibit them.

This allows me to develop stylistically. While people know an artist for a certain style, it’s comparable to a new album from a band. And ultimately, with all the customer requests, the most important thing for me remains, that I can find myself in the images. After all, each painting is an expression of my emotions while working. With a picture of mine, every customer therefore always receives a piece of myself.

And what does Manu Campa drive privately?

I always had a classic. Not to put away, but to drive! It all started with a 1953 VW Beetle. This car was used as a daily driver. I am always very interested in the culture of the era in which a car was built. That’s why I had a 1931 Ford next. I find the American hot rod scene incredibly cool. But then the Ford had to give way in order to realize my dream of a Porsche.

Today I can call a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 my own. It is slightly widened, has the front skirt of the Carrera 3.0 from the IROC series. After first delivery in the USA it later went to a Japanese collector and then to Europe. I found the car through Elferspot in Andorra. The seller even knew my work. We then agreed on a deal quite quickly and since then I drive Porsche 911.

Can you often be seen in the orange 911 on the streets of Madrid? Do you have any other automotive dreams?

But sure! I’ve never particularly cared about mileage. A Porsche 911 is meant to be driven. And I drive it very often. The front is allowed to get a few flies and stone chips. Patina is not a bad thing for me! I like adventures in cars. For example, I would love to drive from Madrid to Paris in a Bentley Blower. That would be one heck of a cool trip. My absolute dream car to own would be a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8, however. In my eyes, that’s the most beautiful Porsche ever built. Everything just fits. From a purely driving perspective, my biggest dream would be to drive a Porsche 917.

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