As "Speed Racer" plays on a large screen television, Camilo Pardo sculpts a penguin from modeling clay inside a Woodward Avenue warehouse called The Bankle. Not only is this the personal studio of an acclaimed Ford designer, it is the base of an artist who breathes new life into everything he does.
"Whether I'm doing my paintings, designing cars, or working on a piece for a fashion show, I want to create something people will remember forever," said Pardo. "I want to contribute something that will be a statement and set a pace or a standard, something that will be enjoyed and admired for many years after. I am determined to be the best at what I do."
Pardo conceived the "pace car for an entire company" with his most celebrated design, the 2005 Ford GT40, an update of the racecar that beat the Ferrari and dominated the Le Mans during the '60s. The vehicle costs approximately $150,000 and was sought after by Jay Leno, Kid Rock, Nicholas Cage, John Travolta, Danny Sullivan, and Dan Gurney when first released. Rolling Stone featured Pardo in an article about the auto industry's hottest young designers and the evolved GT has graced the covers of publications worldwide.
Ford hired Pardo after he graduated from the College for Creative Studies with a BFA in transportation design. He worked in design, advanced design, and as the house artist prior to the GT project. Pardo credits CCS with broadening his interests in art and design.
"When I first went to CCS, cars were it -nothing in the world was better."
"While I was at CCS, I realized I liked design: fashion, furniture, sculpture, architecture. I tell the students, 'first find out what you really like to do, then figure out how to make money from it.'"