Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Diane Huff Pitts wants to know:What’s in your hands?

Caught! I could feel the teacher’s eyes scrutinizing my paper even though she sat behind her desk and not behind my shoulder. The breeze and smell of spring through open windows had beckoned. My hands responded by writing poetry. But now my stomach knotted in fear of my teacher's displeasure. One set of eyes locked with mine in understanding. Pheaton drew racing cars and a thousand other things, and sometimes the teachers stopped his hands from creating, too.
Years have passed since that day in first grade, and our hands still work—mine to heal or write, his to design.
Pheaton Guinn and I grew up in Selma, Alabama. We went to the same schools, same church, same grocery store. Pheaton continued to dream about fast cars and space ships. His hands continued to work. One day his design talents were recognized in the NASCAR world. That’s the epitome of car racing, for those who don’t know. Pheaton can tell you about it.

“Being a dad is the best job I ever had, but the second best was with Dale Earnhardt, the NASCAR legend. I spent a few years with Dale as the NASCAR program manager for his sponsor, Wrangler Jeans. I tell people I was duct-taped to his elbow during that time. I was lucky enough to witness first hand one of the best professional drivers to strap into a race car but was even luckier to spend a lot of one-on-one time with a quality human being. He was just a good old country boy who could flat drive the wheels off a race car.”

So doodling race cars and space ships morphed into a design career and now Pheaton Guinn Creative Services carries on the tradition.

What are those hands doing now in the design world? This is how Pheaton describes it.
“My specialty is logo and corporate identity. Some of this is probably the son of a sign painter coming out, but as a graphics guy, I love the art that comes from letter forms, using size and color and shadowing for emphasis and emotion. I’m drawn to verses in the Bible that aren’t necessarily in the "Top 10.” I like the ones showing interactions, which we may never see or hear again that carry weight for everyday guys like me. Maybe I can bring that verse to someone that needs it.”

Pheaton shares these graphics freely. Here is one:

“I felt compelled to give my own graphic treatment to the Bible verses that mean the most to me. An anonymous dad needed help for his son from Jesus. This is probably my favorite verse—it sums up my faith.”

Our lives are given early inklings of what we will be, whether story writers or graphic designers. That spring day, my first grade teacher encouraged me to pay attention during math but read my poetry to the class. Pheaton found some teachers along the way to recognize the gifts of his hands.

What’s in your hands?

Launch out today. Leave a comment, and tell us about it.


  1. I was lucky enough to meet Pheaton at Daytona in 1984 which led to wonderful experiences, phone conversations and great times with him and Dale at Bristol and Talladega. I feel blessed to have recently reconnected with Pheaton on social media. I can really relate to this blog because I used to get in trouble in elementary school for drawing race cars and now I'm the Executive Director for BlackTop Nationals which is a hugh car event with a great racing section!

  2. Cars, vehicles and the automobile have always been a circle of learning, growth and acceptance to "always read the instructions". Why, because One my Mother was/is gifted at writing and two my father careered in the mechanical engineering industry. So the County Fairs, Race Events and Junk Yards became resonate in my, as I would later learn, "creative process". Focusing me on the task at hand and to not be to eager if at all to point fingures, four always had great presence pointing right back at me. So hearing the way you viscerally experienced things to then write about later on were resonate, Thank You. Truly -E.R., Kansas.