Otto Carter’s Custom Mods
Check out Otto’s custom e-cig engravings on his personal website here.
Read below about owner and operator of Trinity Vape Lounge, Brian Bradley, and the meeting with Otto Carter himself.
I remember the first time I heard the name Otto Carter. I was discussing the price of authentic mods with a regular customer. He told me his mod, the Caravella, was worth $2000. I was skeptical of the notion of a device used as a cigarette alternative having the value of a car. At the time I was ignorant when it came to vaping. I looked at mechanical mods as being little more than a fancy battery holder. I would have bet a million dollars he was exaggerating and questioned his claim. After all it was not as if the mod were solid gold. As I said I was ignorant of vaping at the time. He responded to my skepticism by encouraging me to Google the mod if I did not believe him. He also added Otto Carter mods were even more valuable and sought after than his Caravella. I humored him and goggled Caravella mod. I was amazed by what my search revealed. Not only was the mod valued at what he had claimed, but was viewed in the vapor world as a “Unicorn.” Many people talk about them, but they are rarely if ever seen. With my interest peaked I then googled Otto Carter. My search revealed amazing works of art. Otto was able to turn a plain stainless steel tube into a masterpiece with intricate engraving. My unicorn hunt began. Before I continue I would like to give a bit of history of the life of Otto Carter.
A few months after initially hearing about Otto Carter I was talking to a customer about vaping and somehow the conversation led to a tangent about guns. She told me her boyfriend was a gun enthusiast and his occupation was engraving guns, motorcycles, and even vape mods. I asked her his name and to my surprise her boyfriend was the Otto Carter. What a small world we live in. Not only was Otto Carter a famous engraver, but he was a neighbor living in Eula a small community on the outskirts of Abilene. I told her how he was renowned in the vaping community for his work on vaping mods. I asked her if she would bring him to the store on her next visit. She said she would try, but he was very busy with his work. A bit disappointed I returned to the day to day activities of running a vape shop. A few months more passed and I had come to except that I would probably not get to meet Otto Carter. Just as I was giving up on my “Unicorn” hunt I met a fellow vapor at a party. We talked about mods and other aspects of vaping when he mentioned a good friend of his did some engraving on mods. A light came on and I asked the name of his friend. To my amazement his friend was the infamous Otto Carter. He said he would talk to his friend, and he would try to convince him to stop by my shop. What a small world it was indeed. I tried not to get my hopes up while secretly hoping it was more than a coincidence I had met two people close to Otto hoping I would some day get to meet the man. It was probably a month later a customer entered my shop and asked to speak with me. I introduced myself and he replied “Otto Carter, it is good to meet you”. After catching my breath I told him how I admired his work. Before I continue I would like to share a little about Otto Carter and how he became who he is today.
Otto Carter was born and reared in Abilene Texas. He attended Abilene Christian University and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. While in college he apprenticed under Ellison Edwards a notable sign painter. Before the computer age signs were custom painted, and signs were works of art. In the late 80’s the vinyl cutting computer came along and the instead of some letters and designs created with Illustrator and changed the sign business. Signs were no longer custom works of art, but vinyl letters and images created with Illustrator. This change in the sign business lead Otto to seek another artistic endeavor. Otto said as a graphic designer he became aware of scroll designs used in engraving. He bought the book The Art of Engravingby James B. Meeks. Otto said “I was always amazed by the intricate work engravers were able to do.” In 2002 he took an introductory course in engraving and decided to engrave full time. Otto said “ As an artist I have always studied style and have a very eclectic approach to engraving design. Styles from the 1800’s are my favorite, but I also enjoy theme projects and love working with customers ideas.” Otto engraves firearms, motorcycles, watches, jewelry, and luckily for me vape mods. He has done engraving for celebrities such as Rick Perry, Nolan Ryan, Tom Brokaw, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Jesse James, Steven Tyler, Rick Fairless, Marcus Luttrell, Al Unser just to name a few. His art is truly amazing, and must be seen in person as pictures do not give justice to the intricate engraving on his works of art. Some of his work can also be seen in Engravers of the Twenty First Century by Charles Bleile.
After talking with Otto about his art and what a fan I am I gathered the courage to ask if he would engrave a mod for me. Now thanks to Otto and, the customers who opened my eyes to his work, Trinity is now the proud owner of one of very few of his magnificently engraved mods. Check out the pics of the Mod on our site and, next time you are in the Big Country stop by Trinity to admire his work. Thanks again Otto for the amazing mod!