Underground Graphics and Greg Lilly!

 One step inside of Underground Graphics instantly transports you into a world of automotive candy.  That one step won’t even get you close to the actual door.  As you drive up to Greg’s shop you are greeted by a very large garage door at the end of a small, gated parking lot.  Most of the time this view is blocked by numerous vehicles sporting the Underground Graphics logo in some form or fashion.  Many of these cars are well deserving of their own spotlights on here and quite a few have national magazine/show/blog coverage.  The eye candy of choice on this particular day was a gorgeous Pearl Yellow Widebody Toyota Supra, but I digress.  As you get further into the garage you will usually see a customer’s car sitting in the bay getting some work done.  Every once in a while you will see something that Greg himself has built sitting in the corner under a car cover.  When you open the door you are greeted by a long waist height table that looks like it was attacked by a pack of velociraptors.  Up on the walls begins what can only be described as a blitzkrieg of sticker choices, pricing structures, personal touches, and car parts galore!  As you move closer to the customer window you will see a wall (yes, an entire wall) of nothing but trophies from past car shows stacked from floor to ceiling.  A quick peek around the corner will show you the printers used along with all the vinyl that Greg goes through on a regular basis.  On the opposite wall is, plain and simple, a boys dream.  There is a massive collection of Hot Wheels, die-cast model cars, toys, etc…all automotive related.  Words can do no justice to this wall of wonder.  I was quickly shut down when I asked if I could have his Hot Wheels which left the little kid inside me super sad (lol).

 Greg started his graphic design work at a small insurance paper called The Texas Insurance Journal.  He worked there for about a year doing mailers, yes, snail mail!  After he left there and was making his way around town he saw a place called Sign-A-Rama that was currently hiring.  Recollection of this was very memorable as this was the same time that the Houston Rockets brought home their first championship.  He applied for the position and got the job.  Being a true car enthusiast at heart Greg quickly realized that there was a niche market just waiting for someone to pick up.  So in 2001 he started Underground Graphics out of the back room of his house.  He worked at Sign-A-Rama during the day and ran Underground in the evenings.  Ultimately Sign-A-Rama had to let Greg go and thus he began a full-time job with his own graphics company. 

 It is very easy to tell that Greg prides himself in every aspect of his work.  He builds personal relationships with all of his customers and is proud to see his own logo on many cars across Houston and the state of Texas.  These are logos that you have to go into his shop to buy in person.  These are not logos available online so there is no detachment from his customer base.  Staying on top of current sticker trends and even predicting a few of them is a major challenge that he must face.  A challenge that, with one look around the shop, you know he tackles on a regular basis.  He describes his work as “Feeling blessed to come to a job that he enjoys doing everyday.”  Greg owns his own business in an industry that he got to choose.  These are feelings and accomplishments that so very few people get to realize throughout their lifetimes.  His business has also allowed him to build many award-winning and nationally covered show cars.  It was ultimately decided that his favorite build was a silver 2002 Subaru WRX.  This decision was not made lightly and we had to have opinions from those in the room at the time.  He came to this conclusion because the WRX was really his first full build.  It taught him the very necessary lessons for his future builds.  “Never put a part on you car that you don’t like” is what he said about modding cars.  He has also built an Integra GSR, an S2000, 2 STis, an IS350, and has an up and coming Mercedes-Benz project.  These cars have graced the pages of many, many magazines and blogs from across the country.  Something most of us only dream about.  Looking into the future Greg would like to see Underground Graphics become more commercialized.  He would like to have a few employees and build up his e-commerce business more than where it is today.  

 

 At the end of the day Greg has to put all this down and go home.  So when he isn’t working, or building a project car, or getting to car shows all across our great state you can find him at home with his family.  Something he wants all automotive enthusiasts to take away from this is that there is life outside of your car.  One can only speculate that his wife is the most awesome and understanding person in the world because we all know what it’s like being car nerds.  We all know how it tends to consume us from time to time.

 I’d like to wish Greg and his family all the best and the best of luck for future dreams and endeavors.  Since Greg takes my money on the regular I know we will be seeing much more of him in the future.

 Come see Greg at Underground Graphics, 8616 Daffodil, ste B, Houston, TX 77063  713-783-GRFX.

-AM

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