I reluctantly attended the SEMA Show last week in Las Vegas. Reluctant because I had covered it for so many years that it started to become a drab experience for me. Alot of the custom painted vehicles started to look the same year after year, and frankly, in this economy, I strongly predicted SEMA’s worst year for attendance and far fewer eye candy to photograph. Also, this would be the first time in five years that HOK, Anest Iwata, Artool, Coast Airbrush, Iwata, and Airbrush Action magazine did not sponsor the usually hotly anticipated Airbrush Confidential party. The grudge, however, quickly evaporated. I was most pleasantly surprised to experience an oddly fresh show with a much higer than expected attendance, and some really cool cars, trucks, and bikes to shoot for Airbrush Action and this blog. For the second year in a row, House of Kolor’s booth was, in my opinion, the best-of-show with an amazing display of over-the-top art on skateboard decks, cars (Jon Kosmoski’s was extraordinary), canvas, a refigerator, the ever popular carbon fiber (or is it fiberglass?) bombs, and more. Featured artists included Mike Lavalee (his new series of fine art, skelebrities, was worth the price of admission alone), Craig Fraser, Eddie Davis, Steve Vandemon, Javier, Soto, Armando Serrano, Steve Driscoll, and other greats I just can’t think of at the moment. Major kudos to HOK’s Nick Dahl for staging such an immense and impressive effort–once again–and to Fraser for recruiting a knock-out team of great talent–once again. Other standout booths belonged to Anest-Iwata/Iwata, and Badger Air Brush for their displays of art and artists. I discovered some new talent this year, caught up with “old” industry friends, and on the overall had a highly productive show and learned that, from now on, I should never even consider missing it. Look for extensive coverage in the January-February issue of Airbrush Action.
I’ve known Mark Rush, renowned T-shirt artist, for nearly 30 years, and I was shocked to hear that he was shot in the head recently at his home in Panama City Beach, Florida. T-shirt airbrushing gained a super boost in popularity from Rush’s cover feature in the now defunct Airbrush Digest in 1982. The following is an excerpt from an online report:
August 2, 2010
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Seconds after a trespasser put a gun between his eyes, 57-year-old Mark Rush shoved the gun up and it went off, slicing through his skull. “It felt like a branding iron going through the top of my head,” Rush said Monday from his hospital bed. “I immediately put my hand up there to see if my brains were hanging out.”
But the struggle between Rush, a Panama City Beach resident, and an as-yet-unidentified suspect, did not end with the first shot. As Rush was down from the gunshot wound, the suspect, who had entered Rush’s yard uninvited, was now in his house and going through his things. “He was twitchy as hell the whole time,” Rush said. “He kept yelling like he was on something.”
For Rush, who was bleeding heavily, the situation looked dire. “I thought, ‘No shit, this is it.” And the trespasser was not done. “He said, ‘I shot you once; I’ll shoot you again,’ ” Rush recalled. “Then he shot another round. He missed me.”
Despite his injury, Rush managed to tackle the trespasser. “I figured, if I can get ahold of his gun again, I can turn it on him. It’s my only chance,” he said. After a subsequent struggle, Rush, who has a concealed carry permit and owns several guns and other weapons, the assailant fled. “I didn’t follow him out ’cause I figured he could shoot at me again,” he added. At that point, Rush called 911. His harrowing Sunday afternoon that began with a strange visitor in his yard ended with a trip to the hospital.
“The neurosurgeons today said I was really, really lucky,” Rush said. He has 50 stitches in his head and blood on his brain, he added.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. They say the suspect is a white male in his mid to late 20s, about 6 feet tall, weighing 150 to 175 pounds, and has big ears, bad teeth and a thin face. He has medium-length dark hair, a tattoo on his left arm of a sword or a cross, and possibly a tattoo on his right leg. Authorities said a reward likely will be offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
We at Airbrush Action wish the best for Mark’s recovery and future.