The Flying Eyeball

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A "Von Dutch Originator of Modern Pin Striping" sign. Von Dutch claimed that he started drawing flying eyeballs at the age of 18. His sister Virginia Howard Reyes was there the first time he drew it and she told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that she could confirm that her brother drew it in 1948. The sign sold for $149,500 at The Brucker Auction in 2006. Photo courtesy of The Jalopy Journal.
A photo of Bill Krause's Maserati Type 61 "Birdcage" racecar taken at the 1959 Riverside Grand Prix. In February of 2021 Howard Miereanu told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that he met Billy Krause, as well as Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther and Phill Hill late in 1958, or early in 1959, when he was in his last semester at Art Center College of Design. "They all came to the school and wanted to see the auto designs we were creating. Our project was to design a futuristic race car. Billy liked one of my designs and asked if I would be interested in designing a paint scheme for his Birdcage. He told me that he was having Von Dutch paint the car. Wow…what an honor and I jumped at the chance and submitted a few designs and he selected the one you see on his car." Notice the flying eyeball that Von Dutch added to the nose of the car. Krause was Dutch's brother in law and in addition to the paint, he also lettered the Maserati. Photo from The Howard Miereanu Collection.

Von Dutch claimed that he started drawing flying eyeballs at the age of 18.[1] His sister Virginia Howard Reyes was there the first time he drew it, and can confirm that Von Dutch drew it in 1948.[2] Dean Jeffries on the other hand claimed that he invented the trademarked Flying Eyeball in 1951. According to Dean, Kenny used to paint a third eyeball on his forehead. This gave Jeffries an idea, and in 1951 he designed a logo with an eyeball and wings that he later trademarked. The logo is known as "the Flying Eyeball". Kenny kept using it, and Jeffries never bothered to make a deal out of it. Jeffries still owned the right when he passed away, but somebody else was making big bucks out of the design together with the Von Dutch Brand.[3] According to Virginia Howard Reyes, Ed Roth created another version of the "Flying Eyeball" before Dean Jeffries. Dean Jeffries drew one with a roller skate on it, Jeffries eyeball is his own creation and not the same as Von Dutch's, and no one is fighting over Jeffries eyeball because it never became as popular as Von Dutch[2]



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