Steve Darnell, the bad ass of Rat Rods, master of customized Mad Max style rides; found his way into the auto-art world when the economy tanked. He had fewer customers and more time to enjoy picking through junkyards, farmers’ fields and swap meets, and putting “shit” together; ultimately creating the, as Steve said, “ Picasso” of auto-art fabrications. This, ultimately, landed him in front of car lovers throughout Canadian and later American Discovery Channels, making his Las Vegas shop something we all recognize.
Prior to Steve Darnell’s debut in front of many Discovery channel viewers, he was in the Rodeo Circuit. Many of his viewers are unaware of the car star’s career in the Rodeo Circuit. Steve is a native of Las Vegas, though, he spent much of his youth in the beautiful states of Montana and Utah. Combined, Steve and his crew tend to put a bit of country and western swing into these hell on wheels creations.
A little further into our conversation, Steve let me in on the softer side, the family he loves. Steve’s mother was an interior designer and his father was a steel worker, the two put together and it makes perfect sense as to how he developed into the artsy guy he has, though, he denied his being artistic, at the beginning anyway. He claimed that, though his Dad had a little tougher way of doing it, and “it took a few ass beatings”, he learned his work ethic from him. The way Steve sees it, work ethic is how he got to where he is today.
With his two boys, ages 14 and 15, watching his every move, Steve is aware of what he wants and what he is doing. He is his own man, following no one; he does not want to be known as the normal Rat Rod kinda guy who falls into some stereotypical clone. He, as he stated, wishes to ‘’raise the bar, not be the average within the bar”. And after speaking to him for some time, I must admit, I believe he has done just that.
There is so much more to Steve than meets the eye, though, what does meet the eye is just fine for me! Among his shop successes, movie star status, and being that example his children need, he has also accomplished producing a music video. With an enormous passion for videography, producing and short film he found himself getting an opportunity many only dream of! He was asked, by Five Finger Death Punch, a metal band, to create the set design, costumes, props, and vehicles featured in the Five Finger Death Punch “House of the Rising Sun” music video. He hopes to get the opportunity to pursue his love for cinema by producing movies, starting with horror flicks.
By the end of my interview with Steve I felt as though I had known him for quite some time. I know I would thoroughly enjoy speaking to him again. He is not at all what I had expected. He has taken his determination and hard work ethic from his dad and his incredible humility and impressive humble attitude from his grandfather, his two heroes.
Personally, and on behalf of Torqued Magazine, I look forward to your continued successes Mr. Darnell! I cannot wait to see what the shop has in store for all of us!
Words by: Nikki Carver
Pics by: Culture Photography and Travis Deeter