When he's not at work at General Motors as an automotive sculptor, he spends his spare time drawing, making paintings on commission, designing tattoos, and customizing a 1978 Corvette Stingray. He also customizes superfast motorbikes -- a YouTube video shows him pulling a (don't try this at home) freeway wheelie on a retooled Suzuki streetfighter with an estimated top speed north of 180 mph. His motorcycle designs have been featured in Hot Bike and Sport Bike magazines.
Shortly after being hired at GM he rushed to sign up for classes in digital modeling. "I wanted to be a candidate to do whatever the company needed. Now I move back and forth between digital and clay. There's benefits to both media. Although, obviously, I was a ceramics major, so I like working with my hands, getting dirty, and seeing something come to life in three dimensions."
The seeds of Mantkus's success were sown at CCA. "I've always been into cars, and in the Ceramics Program, I made a motorcycle. In 2007 my professors Nathan Lynch and Arthur Gonzalez came to me with the application for a summer internship at General Motors. They saw this as a good path for me even before I realized it. I knew cars were sculpted out of clay, but I had no idea what was really involved. Thousands of art students from across the country, mostly industrial and automotive design students, applied for 18 internships, and I got in. It was an amazing opportunity to work, to learn, and also to make contacts. One of the guys I met there had an automotive design degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, another was a digital designer from Howard University. It was one of these contacts I made back in 2007 who tipped me off about GM hiring in 2010. I got this job because of that internship."Read the rest