Jessy ValadezImperials Car ClubGarden Grove, CaliforniaSome of the greatest works of art haven't always been famous. Take for instance, Vincent Van Gogh, the now-famed artist who only sold one painting in his lifetime, but a century later, is recognized as one of the great artists in history. And just as Van Gogh became a well-respected pioneer of what we know as expressionism, our Lifetime Contributor Honor winner Jesse Valadez has that same influence and impact, except in the artistic discipline of lowriding.
Jesse's work has become internationally known, and his crowning achievements have pushed lowriding into a culture far beyond what anyone would have expected. And while it took decades to recognize Van Gogh's talents, it only took a few years for Jesse Valdez to be recognized for his.
Jesse's '64 Chevy Impala, "Gypsy Rose" is best known for its unique floral paint job and vibrant flow, and whether you saw it back in the day out on Whittier Blvd. or in the introduction of the '70s television show Chico And The Man, you know why people used to refer to it as "the world's most famous lowrider."
Gypsy Rose remains one of the lowrider world's most respected vehicles, and Jesse remains a true diplomat of lowriding and a respected veterano who always lends a helping hand. He's also an upholsterer, businessman and community activist, but more importantly, he's a lowrider who helped establish our culture as a force to reckon with.
With that said, Lowrider Magazine is pleased to crown Mr. Valadez as the recipient of the 2007 Lifetime Contributor Honor. The award signifies more than just respect and recognition, but also entry into the lowriding chronicles that will forever embody him as one of the icons of our time. Lowriding is a unique form of vehicular expression and Jesse Valadez was there from the beginning.
There's a lot to learn from Jesse, but those in the know recognize him best for giving birth to Gypsy Rose. His vehicle is classic and his efforts well recognized, but things weren't always that smooth in the beginning. Upon the release of Gypsy Rose, his paint scheme felt the opinion of harsh critics. At the time, the paint job was "way out" and some were skeptical about the car's style and tone. Many called it too extreme, but little did any of them know that they'd all end up eating their words and paying respect to one of lowriding's greatest creations.
You see, the problem was that the car's motif was too advanced for its time. It was a way-out idea with perfect execution, but no one realized its true beauty and the creativity behind the Impala until they had a chance to look at it up close. The detail, craftsmanship and vision were there, but the minds of fellow lowriders weren't up to pace.
Jesse's car was so monumental that the '64 was on tour in Texas and invited to the first East L.A. Christmas Parade. Maybe the all-time high was when the vehicle was on display at the world-renowned Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Growth is often times associated with a learning curve and the paint job and vision that Jesse had envisioned was one of the curves that helped fellow riders grow in both creativity and their ability to judge cars. It was first painted by Walt and Dunn back in 1969, and it still hasn't been retouched to this day. Gypsy Rose remains a classic that not only marks a special moment in history, but also a car that belongs to the Imperials, a club that Jesse was president of for 14 years.