Joey's Swampland Panel Jam
Jan. 11,12,13....2002
By Monte & Patsee Jumper


Once again we set out for the swamplands just south of Monroe, Louisiana. Joey Hutson lives so far off the beaten path it makes you wonder how the heck he can make a living, but once you've seen his work, there is no mystery to why bikers and custom auto builders seek him out. You drive and drive and drive until you think you'll never get there, and  then, just as you make the final bend,  there sits Joey's home with the black wooden fence surrounding the property . His shop is just a short walk down from the house and there is already a driveway full of cars.

door.jpg (9723 bytes)We're a day early and anxious to get started.  Joey's wife Kay, and his daughter Jody are in the office doing the registrations as we come in. The shop is in it's usual immaculate condition. There's a new piece on the door entering the shop area, it's a depiction of an Indian Maiden and a wolf, all done with an air brush. It's so well done I actually leaned in to see if it wasn't in fact a digital print. It wasn't.

About 20 people showed up on Thursday. We all spent the evening at a little local join called Hob Nob's, renewing friendships and enjoying the food and drink.

On Friday things really start taking hold as the panels start coming out and the striping began...each to his own style and color. I love watching the Pinheads, and listening to their banter as they harass one another in a way only another striper could tolerate. It isn't long until the panels start taking on their own personalities... some ultra modern ...some southwestern in flavor and some are traditional (whatever that means).

"Lil Toot" with his top hat is from Tulsa and is setting up shop for the weekend as we arrive...Ron Meyers is wiping the sleep from his eyes with the back of the hand holding his doughnut while the other hand balances a full cup of coffee. Fred Self from Oklahoma City has his Project ...a concave glass finished in glue chip and gold leaf ...really gorgeous but not yet finished.

Frank Manning, the One Shot rep, is here this morning. Everyone was itching to ask questions and make suggestions. Throughout the weekend I don't think he missed visiting with a single person. One of the more interesting facts that came out of this give n' take was the fact that One Shot spent about $118,000.00 last year on promo s and paints supplied to the Letterhead and Pin head meets. Pretty good for an unorganized group organization.

gator.jpg (16555 bytes)Later in the day,  a rental car shows up with Mike Lavallee at the wheel. I swear it wasn't 15 minutes until Mike has his airbrush set up and he's painting his first of a dozen or more panels he completed over the weekend. The project panel he presented to Joey is another of Mike,s mind blowers, complete with an alligator head coming right out of panel itself.

In the midst of all the craziness Joeys family puts together a dinner (complete with Gumbo) for all and finally everyone stops long enough to visit while they eat. Everything rocks into the night and some of us more sensible types head for the hotel room some time around 11:00 pm ...rumor had it Joey never got to bed before 4 am and from the looks of the amount of panels setting around the next morning he had some company.

Saturday it seemed has a little more activity as some latecomers show up...R.T. Thomas has some really kewl Acrylic painted panels that have been clear coated and everyone is trying to lay their hands on one. Donny Pavolini did a really nice thumbnail landscape on on of R.T's panels but was having some trouble with a knee injury and actually had to leave early. The only other tragedy was the pinstriping demo on the Lincoln Continental rental car Lavallee drove in. Last I saw, all the striping was removed and no paint stain was noticeable. Door prizes were given away and a brand new "Painters Kit" was presented to Joeys son Josh ( "SLIME" to his Pinhead buddies) and was decorated by several of the "heads". He was beaming the rest of the day and far into the night.

Probably the most surprising thing to happen all weekend was the amount of people that kept coming up to me and Pat and handing us money for "Katies Big Adventure" people have just been terrific about the American and Australian Letterheads bringing 17 year old Katie Wright from Australia for two Letterhead meets in March this year. (Fred's in OKC and John Smiths in Georgia)

Bob Padilla was turning out his terrific "Santa Fe style panels" amazing everyone (as usual) with his choice of colors and subject matter. He and his son "Nick" took time out to make their annual Salsa dish, that everyone cries for (both before and after they eat it).

I guess Pat and I are getting old. We give it up about 11 and headed for the hotel. Rumor has it Joey was up again until 4 am.

Sunday, as with most meets is just a "stand around " day, a good time to visit and exchange business cards and phone numbers. Sometime around 11 we headed out for home. Padilla's follow us home to Norman, Oklahoma on their way to Albuquerque and spend the night so they could have a fresh run at the last 700 miles of their trip. After they leave, I made an end run for my shop...only to find out I was so tired there was little point in me being there, so we extended Joey's meet to cover Monday also. No panels, but plenty of "deep sleep".

As usual, Joey and his family did a great job and we're already looking forward to next years meet...I hope we get asked back and I hope every one try's this meet next year... it will be Joey's 3rd annual event.

Thanks Joey


Monte & Pat Jumper
Norman, Oklahoma

The Photos

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panels1.jpg (16844 bytes)
hutson.jpg (22448 bytes) panels3.jpg (28089 bytes)panels5.jpg (22826 bytes)
  panels7.jpg (17027 bytes) panels8.jpg (21181 bytes) lav1.jpg (13278 bytes) lav2.jpg (12277 bytes) ratfink.jpg (11672 bytes)
 heads1.jpg (14113 bytes) salsa.jpg (23442 bytes) pinpanel1.jpg (22945 bytes) pinpanel2.jpg (22177 bytes) heads2.jpg (10710 bytes) fred2.jpg (14902 bytes) duckasaur.jpg (13366 bytes)

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