Interview: Automotive Artist Steve Erwin

steve erwinA regular at classic car shows around Cape Town, Steve Erwin (a.k.a Stencilworx) has combined his passion for cars and art into a near full-time job. We caught up with him in his studio.

Like many petrolheads, Steve's love affair with cars started at a very young age. "My dad was quite enthusiastic about cars," he says, "and consequently he had many friends that were petrolheads, too, so we often ended up attending Piston Ring meets when I was a young boy. Me and my friends always made sure we were close to the V8s," he recalls with a smile.

Steve also combined his love for cars with a passion for art from a very early age.  He excelled at art in school and achieved a B-Tech in Design from the University of Johannesburg in 2005. He relocated to Cape Town in 2008 and set up a studio in his Vredehoek apartment, continuously honing his skills until he felt comfortable that he could offer a product of excellent quality to South Africa's car lovers.

One of the most popular prints that Steve has produced is this 190SL, available on this store.

Using a combination of mediums (airbrushing, watercolour and acrylics) he focused on creating automotive-themed artworks (but he also does motorcycle and aeroplanes). Since actively starting to sell about 4 years ago, he has sold hundreds of pieces of varying sizes to petrolheads all over the world, but says that these days most of his business comes from commissions.

"I'd say about 70% of my business currently are from owners who want their own cars to be the subject of an artwork. And a number of my clients are from Europe," he adds. He describes a Bentley Blower as being his most challenging piece of work thus far. "There was so much detail in that piece, it took around 35 hours to create." A typical A3 watercolour takes between 12 and 15 hours...

alfa 1750 gt

A recent addition to the line-up is this 1750 GTV, his first Alfa Romeo.

According to Steve, the most popular pieces are usually ones featuring Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW or American Muscle cars. He also notes a growing interest in classic cars in general. "There is definitely a fresh spark, from a younger audience," he says. 

He sells prints in a variety of sizes (right down to packs of A6-sized cards). If you want to commission a piece on your own vehicle, prices range from around R1 100 for an A5 watercolour, to R9 500 for a large acrylic on canvas. If you can't make it to one of the Cape Town events, you can order online here, or contact Steve at for commissions etc.

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