My Name is Cliff Stieglitz, and I Was an Airbrushaholic

Most of you probably don’t know that I started as a T-shirt airbrusher in the early 1980s, well before I launched Airbrush Action magazine.  Originally, I screenprinted shirts, and then graduated to iron-ons at flea markets and fairs.  Next, I incorporated airbrushing, and the rest is cliche.  I was extremely hard-working.  I’d be ready to spray at 7:30a or 8a and work until I sold that last shirt which, at the New York street feasts, could be 2am! In retrospect, it was a grind, but I had the drive, stamina, and enthusiasm to work endless hours; whatever it took.  I was a bull. The money was fabulous; all cash.  Regarding my intense work ethic, I owe much to my father, and working as a busboy in kosher hotels during many teen summers.  Barring some debilitating disease or coma, very little could prevent my father from getting out of bed every day.  It was amazing, and it definitely helped shape me into the tenacious kid and adult I became.  Another significant influence, albeit a negative memory for me, was the busboy gig.  From ages 14 to 18 or 19 I worked summers at the Lido Beach Hotel, Lido Beach, Long Island.  It was six days a week, serving three meals a day, with very little free time.  It was grueling, and to a great degree unfair to force a young kid to do; yes, Dad forced me.  I stuck it out, and later realized that practically any other job or schedule was easy after this stint.  My Dad always promised he’d set me up with something different the following summer, but it never panned out, so ultimately, I took the bull by the horns, followed my entrepreneurial spirit, and started my T-shirt business.  I used the knowledge I gained to start Airbrush Action magazine, and to this day, at the Airbrush Getaways, I’ll always play with an airbrush to gauge my rustiness, and to enthusiastically work with beginning students.  My polish and certain skills may be gone, but I can still perform any lick of the airbrush and have a student achieve a pretty good dagger stroke in five minutes or less.




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