© 2020 dragboatfever.com - steve@dragboatfever.com
THE WORLD OF DICK VALE (August 1993 - Hot Hoat Magazine) The World of Dick Vale is saturated with shimmering colors, Liquid-like swirls that dance through the artist's head. They flow through his consciousness as he showers and shaves. Shapes and shades of colors jump off the packages as he walks the aisles of the supermarket by his shop. Dick Vale – just Vale to the owners of the estimated 600 flatbottoms, Hydros, IOGP racing tunnels, offshore racers and other assorted fiberglass floaters he’s sprayed since hanging first shop shingle in 1975- holds a place in the top echelon of custom boat painters. His forte is the interleaving of brilliant color combinations and doing it in such a way that each boat is a unique reflection it’s owner’s tastes and personality. His work has graced the glass canvases of some of the world’s fastest quarter-mile drag hulls, and it’s covered the 11’ x 24’ frame af a Gran Prix Hydro. It’s dressed a fleet of closed-course circle boats, dating back to the mid-70’s. But most of the customers that flock to Vale’s cluttered office, like Muslims to Mecca, are lake-boaters in search of a contradiction. They want Dick Vale’s unmistakable candy-and-pearl signature paint job, only different than each of the 30-some-odd boats he’ll paint before the year is over with the same color scheme. Vale paints a little of everything, including show cars, truck graphics, off-road racers, and Harleys.  He recently painted a helicopter for a popular Los Angeles radio station and, in a moment of creative delirium, even sprayed what is now unofficially the world’s wildest toilet seat.  “I avoid specializing in any one thing, but my love for boats keeps me doing more and more of them,” says Vale.  “Our shop’s only real specialization is to provide the best quality and design we possibly can and to surprise – not shock, but surprise – every customer.” Vale grew up during the formative years of the Southern California moto-sport customizing craze.  As a teenager, Vale watched in awe as wildly painted street rods, metal-flaked lowriders and radically dressed Harleys cruised his neighborhood on weekend nights.  The machine scene also included long weekends strolling the pits at Lyons, Irwindale and other local drag strips. Vale’s world began to take its present form when, as a teenager, he lied about his age to get a job so he could save enough to buy a motorcycle.  Some months after the custom bike hit the streets, a piece fell off, requiring a trip to the painter for some touch-up work.  As fate would have it, the painter’s helper had quit that very afternoon, and Vale leaped at the chance. But apprenticing in this less-than-businesslike environment taught Vale a long-lasting lesson.  He learned that drugs and alcohol have no place in the paint booth – contrary to popular belief. “There’s a perception that all painters are drunks and drug addicts,” says Vale.  “This business, and your lifestyle has a lot to do with success in any business.  I don’t do drugs – I probably have three margaritas a year.  I love to have a good time, but it really bothers me that some people think you have to be artificially stimulated to create consistently.  It just isn’t so.” Vale is addicted to shades and fades of magenta.  “I really get going when I know I’m going to use it.  It’s a masculine and feminine color I’ve fallen in love with through the years.” The affair might never have flourished had it not been for the gas shortage that gripped the country in 1973.  At the time, Vale’s creative urges were vented beneath his daily routine of installing coil springs in the fronts of Thunderbirds and Torino station wagons for Ford Motor Company.  People stopped buying big American cars, and Vale found himself suddenly unemployed.  Simultaneously, Vale’s dad had reached the end of his patience: The painting equipment and jobs in  progress had to vacate his backyard.  Vale took the two events as signs from a higher source and rented a small shop in Whittier, next to a custom lettering shop. Vale was rough, but he showed flashes of brilliance, and he wasn’t afraid to try things.  His daring and style attracted the attention of Al Lavey, founder of Lavey Craft Boats and the shot-caller behind one of the country’s most successful factory boat-racing programs.  Vale began spraying Lavey’s circle race boats, and the climb up the learning curve began in earnest.  Other builders, including Jim Cole, discovered and used Vale’s talents to help market their plainly gelcoated boats.  Wild became fashionable, and Vale had just begun to hit his colorful, creative stride.  The name “Vale” became an industry icon, synonymous with flashy paint schemes.  The artist’s biggest challenge has since become keeping pace with his busy schedule.  The process of getting a Vale paint job usually begins with a telephone call; Vale generally answers the shop phone himself, painting in the early mornings or late afternoons.  “A lot of people tell me they’re surprised at the amount of personal attention we give them, but that’s so important in their satisfaction with the job,” he explains.  “I’ll try to pick them apart, find out what colors they like, and start interjecting ideas here and there.  I also spend a lot of time talking to both the husband and wife, if it’s a couple.  Who knows the husband’s taste better than the wife, and vice versa?” Ideas lead to rough sketches, discussion of specific color, likes and dislikes and design ideas.  “Then I send ‘em home and have them stop by in a week or two to see where we’re at.” Vale doesn’t mind a customer’s watching him at work, but prefers that they watch him paint someone else’s boat.  “They’re too emotional to really see the technical side of what I’m doing,” Vale explains.  “It doesn’t bother me, but they’re usually a wreck by the time it’s through.” Before the gun is even loaded, anywhere from 50 to 150 hours of prep work is completed on each boat.  Exterior hardware is stripped off, and the boat is stripped down to the gelcoat, eliminating all traces of old paint.  The boat is prepped to the extent necessary to prepare a perfect, smooth canvas – which begins with a pearl white coat. From there, each line is individually applied in the form of painter’s masking tape.  After each color is painted, it’s clear-coated and rubbed out, and the process is repeated for the next color.  The use of 12 colors is not uncommon. Vale’s work is enhanced by a talented support group, which includes his brother Steve.  “He’s the backbone.  Dick Vale is the name on the sign and the reputation, but the program is actually the Boat Brothers,” says Vale. If imitation is, as the saying goes, the most sincere form of flattery, Vale is quite possibly the most flattered of the boat painters.  “I’ve taken a lot of influences from other people and tried to give my own interpretations.  Sure, some people aren’t so subtle about it, and I wish these guys would shoot in a little different direction.  But you can’t let that bother you.” Apparently, there isn’t much that does bother the easy-going Vale, who seems genuinely humble about the degree of his talent.  “It’s the greatest thing  - looking at a boat and realizing that I designed its looks, did the concept and made it happen for the owner.  The owners really design their own boats.  All I do is just take a pencil and move some color around.  My ego gets pumped up with the results, but I don’t have to have an emotional tie to the finished product.” Indeed, Vale has no such concerns – he doesn’t own a boat. “I’ve had a lot of custom stuff through the years, but I think it’ll be a while before I get another boat.  Maybe when my kids get older.  It’ll be what I call a dock-slammer – probably an open-bow, walk- through.  It’ll probably be a reasonably inexpensive, underpowered boat that I use to teach the kids how to drive.  I won’t have to panic if it gouges the dock.” Vale’s favorite paint job tends to be his most recent one.  “Which one’s the best I’ve ever done? I haven’t done it,” he laughs.  “My best one will be the last one I do before I quit.” Hey, it’s his call.  After all, it’s Dick Vale’s world.
Vale’s Kustom Kolors 8362 Monroe Avenue Stanton, Ca 90680 714-952-9005
Vale, Richard L. Feb. 21, 1953 – Sept. 26, 2008 Richard L. Vale, a resident of Huntington Beach, CA., entered into eternal rest after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer. Born in Whittier, CA, "Dick" grew up in Pico Rivera, Yorba Linda, and finally Huntington Beach. He was well known through the boat and auto industries for his wild graphic paint designs. He is survived by his wife, Becky; his 2 children, Jared and Ashly; brother, sister, and mother. Services will be held Thursday, October 2, 2008, 4 p.m. at Memory Garden, Brea. Memory Garden Memorial Park 
© 2020 dragboatfever.com - steve@dragboatfever.com
THE WORLD OF DICK VALE (August 1993 - Hot Hoat Magazine) The World of Dick Vale is saturated with shimmering colors, Liquid-like swirls that dance through the artist's head. They flow through his consciousness as he showers and shaves. Shapes and shades of colors jump off the packages as he walks the aisles of the supermarket by his shop. Dick Vale – just Vale to the owners of the estimated 600 flatbottoms, Hydros, IOGP racing tunnels, offshore racers and other assorted fiberglass floaters he’s sprayed since hanging first shop shingle in 1975- holds a place in the top echelon of custom boat painters. His forte is the interleaving of brilliant color combinations and doing it in such a way that each boat is a unique reflection it’s owner’s tastes and personality. His work has graced the glass canvases of some of the world’s fastest quarter-mile drag hulls, and it’s covered the 11’ x 24’ frame af a Gran Prix Hydro. It’s dressed a fleet of closed-course circle boats, dating back to the mid-70’s. But most of the customers that flock to Vale’s cluttered office, like Muslims to Mecca, are lake-boaters in search of a contradiction. They want Dick Vale’s unmistakable candy-and-pearl signature paint job, only different than each of the 30-some-odd boats he’ll paint before the year is over with the same color scheme. Vale paints a little of everything, including show cars, truck graphics, off-road racers, and Harleys.  He recently painted a helicopter for a popular Los Angeles radio station and, in a moment of creative delirium, even sprayed what is now unofficially the world’s wildest toilet seat.  “I avoid specializing in any one thing, but my love for boats keeps me doing more and more of them,” says Vale.  “Our shop’s only real specialization is to provide the best quality and design we possibly can and to surprise – not shock, but surprise – every customer.” Vale grew up during the formative years of the Southern California moto-sport customizing craze.  As a teenager, Vale watched in awe as wildly painted street rods, metal-flaked lowriders and radically dressed Harleys cruised his neighborhood on weekend nights.  The machine scene also included long weekends strolling the pits at Lyons, Irwindale and other local drag strips. Vale’s world began to take its present form when, as a teenager, he lied about his age to get a job so he could save enough to buy a motorcycle.  Some months after the custom bike hit the streets, a piece fell off, requiring a trip to the painter for some touch-up work.  As fate would have it, the painter’s helper had quit that very afternoon, and Vale leaped at the chance. But apprenticing in this less-than-businesslike environment taught Vale a long-lasting lesson.  He learned that drugs and alcohol have no place in the paint booth – contrary to popular belief. “There’s a perception that all painters are drunks and drug addicts,” says Vale.  “This business, and your lifestyle has a lot to do with success in any business.  I don’t do drugs – I probably have three margaritas a year.  I love to have a good time, but it really bothers me that some people think you have to be artificially stimulated to create consistently.  It just isn’t so.” Vale is addicted to shades and fades of magenta.  “I really get going when I know I’m going to use it.  It’s a masculine and feminine color I’ve fallen in love with through the years.” The affair might never have flourished had it not been for the gas shortage that gripped the country in 1973.  At the time, Vale’s creative urges were vented beneath his daily routine of installing coil springs in the fronts of Thunderbirds and Torino station wagons for Ford Motor Company.  People stopped buying big American cars, and Vale found himself suddenly unemployed.  Simultaneously, Vale’s dad had reached the end of his patience: The painting equipment and jobs in  progress had to vacate his backyard.  Vale took the two events as signs from a higher source and rented a small shop in Whittier, next to a custom lettering shop. Vale was rough, but he showed flashes of brilliance, and he wasn’t afraid to try things.  His daring and style attracted the attention of Al Lavey, founder of Lavey Craft Boats and the shot-caller behind one of the country’s most successful factory boat-racing programs.  Vale began spraying Lavey’s circle race boats, and the climb up the learning curve began in earnest.  Other builders, including Jim Cole, discovered and used Vale’s talents to help market their plainly gelcoated boats.  Wild became fashionable, and Vale had just begun to hit his colorful, creative stride.  The name “Vale” became an industry icon, synonymous with flashy paint schemes.  The artist’s biggest challenge has since become keeping pace with his busy schedule.  The process of getting a Vale paint job usually begins with a telephone call; Vale generally answers the shop phone himself, painting in the early mornings or late afternoons.  “A lot of people tell me they’re surprised at the amount of personal attention we give them, but that’s so important in their satisfaction with the job,” he explains.  “I’ll try to pick them apart, find out what colors they like, and start interjecting ideas here and there.  I also spend a lot of time talking to both the husband and wife, if it’s a couple.  Who knows the husband’s taste better than the wife, and vice versa?” Ideas lead to rough sketches, discussion of specific color, likes and dislikes and design ideas.  “Then I send ‘em home and have them stop by in a week or two to see where we’re at.” Vale doesn’t mind a customer’s watching him at work, but prefers that they watch him paint someone else’s boat.  “They’re too emotional to really see the technical side of what I’m doing,” Vale explains.  “It doesn’t bother me, but they’re usually a wreck by the time it’s through.” Before the gun is even loaded, anywhere from 50 to 150 hours of prep work is completed on each boat.  Exterior hardware is stripped off, and the boat is stripped down to the gelcoat, eliminating all traces of old paint.  The boat is prepped to the extent necessary to prepare a perfect, smooth canvas – which begins with a pearl white coat. From there, each line is individually applied in the form of painter’s masking tape.  After each color is painted, it’s clear-coated and rubbed out, and the process is repeated for the next color.  The use of 12 colors is not uncommon. Vale’s work is enhanced by a talented support group, which includes his brother Steve.  “He’s the backbone.  Dick Vale is the name on the sign and the reputation, but the program is actually the Boat Brothers,” says Vale. If imitation is, as the saying goes, the most sincere form of flattery, Vale is quite possibly the most flattered of the boat painters.  “I’ve taken a lot of influences from other people and tried to give my own interpretations.  Sure, some people aren’t so subtle about it, and I wish these guys would shoot in a little different direction.  But you can’t let that bother you.” Apparently, there isn’t much that does bother the easy-going Vale, who seems genuinely humble about the degree of his talent.  “It’s the greatest thing  - looking at a boat and realizing that I designed its looks, did the concept and made it happen for the owner.  The owners really design their own boats.  All I do is just take a pencil and move some color around.  My ego gets pumped up with the results, but I don’t have to have an emotional tie to the finished product.” Indeed, Vale has no such concerns – he doesn’t own a boat. “I’ve had a lot of custom stuff through the years, but I think it’ll be a while before I get another boat.  Maybe when my kids get older.  It’ll be what I call a dock-slammer – probably an open-bow, walk- through.  It’ll probably be a reasonably inexpensive, underpowered boat that I use to teach the kids how to drive.  I won’t have to panic if it gouges the dock.” Vale’s favorite paint job tends to be his most recent one.  “Which one’s the best I’ve ever done? I haven’t done it,” he laughs.  “My best one will be the last one I do before I quit.” Hey, it’s his call.  After all, it’s Dick Vale’s world.
Vale, Richard L. Feb. 21, 1953 – Sept. 26, 2008 Richard L. Vale, a resident of Huntington Beach, CA., entered into eternal rest after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer. Born in Whittier, CA, "Dick" grew up in Pico Rivera, Yorba Linda, and finally Huntington Beach. He was well known through the boat and auto industries for his wild graphic paint designs. He is survived by his wife, Becky; his 2 children, Jared and Ashly; brother, sister, and mother. Services will be held Thursday, October 2, 2008, 4 p.m. at Memory Garden, Brea. Memory Garden Memorial Park 
Vale’s Kustom Kolors 8362 Monroe Avenue Stanton, Ca 90680 714-952-9005