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.
I’d like your opinion of Down to Business, Kent Lind’s new Airbrush Getaway course (please e-mail email@example.com). Here’s the description:
Down to Business with Kent Lind
Learn how to substantially boost your productivity and bottom line!
Whether you airbrush as a hobby or professionally, this new and groundbreaking course will teach you how to be successful as a full-time artist. According to Lind, “I’ve observed many artists who seemingly spin their wheels year after year, with no real set of goals or road map on how to get where they want to go. I’m ready to share my 20-plus years of experience by pointing students in the right direction, and show them what they want and need to know.”
• How to optimize your displays
• Types of venues
• How negotiate a contract (percentage versus straight rent)
• A basic understanding of equipment and airbrush techniques
• Specific design execution of lettering and cartoons
• Inventory tracking
• When and how to advertise
• Who to contact when scouting for a location
• High profit ancillary items: lanyards, knit hats, trucker hats, can coozies and keychains
• Vendor sources for T-shirts, specialty shirts (beaters and cap sleeves), lanyards, can coozies, license plates, knit hats, trucker hats, equipment, supplies, and more
• How to successfully work bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, and special events (including how to market yourself and the event)
• Extensive understanding of Createx, Wicked, and Auto Air colors.
• Specific outline of types, quantity, and composition of display
• How to negotiate for a location, including insurance.
• How to find and hire artists
• How to scout for a location
• Examples of set-ups at amusement parks, outside venues requiring travel, and store fronts and kiosks.
• And much, much more.
(A prior basic understanding of the airbrush is recommended but not necessary.)
I’d like to thank those who have commented on my blog. It’s easy to run out of things to write about, so by all means let me hear your suggestions (firstname.lastname@example.org, if you wish to e-mail me directly) on various topics. Also, we invested tons of time and effort (major, major kudos and a standing ovation to Erin Bennett, our webmaster and designer) revamping www.airbrushaction.com and would love your critical feedback. I’m pretty thick-skinned, so let me have it, so to speak. I need to hear the good and the bad because we’re more committed than ever to evolving the site, and, ultimately, making it the way you want it. Airbrushaction.com will only work if it caters to your needs and wants; it exists to serve you. Some plans include free and cost-based video streaming, more artist links (you may link back to your bio on airbrushaction.com from your site), much more free editorial content, downloadable books, and more. Whether you know it or not, your opinions have helped shape Airbrush Action magazine, and I know they’ll make all the difference here. Sock it to me, guys.
For me, one of the greatest rewards in producing the Airbrush Getaway is knowing that we impact people in a positive way. I understand that attendees pay good money (especially in these hard times) to attend the program, so it’s very important, critically so, that it works for everyone. Feedback, good and critical, is always solicited and welcome because nothing is perfect and I’ll always view the Getaway as a work in progress that requires constant tweaking, improvement, and growth. And, unlike some forums, I won’t censor your views and opinions. At the recent Las Vegas Airbrush Getaway, the overall response was excellent, and I really appreciated the following e-mail from Chad Buhler. It always means alot to me when someone takes the time to write, especially when I know it’s from the heart.
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Vegas Getaway. This was my first Getaway, and I was in the Intro to Pinstriping and Pinstriping & Lettering Mastery classes. Every instructor there was very open and accessible, and willing to talk to me, even if I wasn’t in the class they were teaching. The staff was great, and made me feel very welcome and made me feel right at home.
Having Brian Lynch there to show all classes how to use spray guns, and give us hands-on demonstrations was great. I was especially grateful to him for helping me with my ‘special’ project of painting and flaking my half mannequin in preparation for pinstriping. I learned a lot working with him and was thrilled to get a chance to work one on one with him.
I would also like to let you know that Jeff Styles and Jen Hallet were awesome instructors. They made the class very informative, but still were able to maintain a relaxed and easy environment to learn and ask questions. They were always available, and did all they could to help me advance my abilities and give me as much knowledge as I could handle about the business. I am so happy with my experience and what I was able to learn from this class that I cannot even express to you in words, even though I am trying now. Jeff Styles has even responded to me personally on some questions I had after the course, which was amazing to me.
So again, thank you for putting on such a tremendous experience. I know I am not the only one who enjoyed the week!
Thanks, Chad, for allowing me to post this. By the way, as an aside, Jeff Styles deserves special acknowledgment as one of the classiest acts in the industry. He’s a true professional in how he conducts himself in business and as a teacher. Post Getaway, Jeff always e-mails his thoughts on the workshops and to thank me when he’s the one who deserves the appeciation for a super job.
Last week’s Airbrush Getaway was by far one of the most rewarding and challenging. I’ll start with the challenges. The setup of the program is quite extensive and complex, and can take up to six hours to complete with a crew of about 20. It’s usually done the day before the one-day seminars. However, due to a scheduling conflict with another event (a lingerie fashion show, of all great things), we were denied access to start until 1am
Monday night (Tuesday morning, technically). Super kudos to the teaching staff for toughing it until 5am, sleeping for only 90 minutes, and teaching that day!! It took me three days to recover.
Ultimately, Jerry Ott’s Power Portraits produced, by far, the best work I’ve ever seen in a portrait class, but it did not start without a hiccup. Because it was Jerry’s inaugural Getaway, I have to admit that things did get off to a slow and awkward start, and some students bailed for other classes even at my insistence that momentum would hit sooner than later. My prediction proved correct, and those who stayed not only loved it, but promised to repeat at a future Getaway. It turned out that Ott’s course is really best suited for advanced, hard-core artists who can reap the benefits of observing a true master at work. I personally believe that watching Jerry paint on an actual project is a rare and golden opportunity, and I also believe that this course will only get better (Jerry, Javier, and I are already making key changes for the March Getaway in Vegas. And, yes, Jerry Ott just committed to another one; he wants a rematch, damn it!) A big, warm thanks to Jerry for sharing his techniques, and a special thanks to Javier Soto and Troy Pierce for their support as assistants.
The program was, in balance, one of the best I’ve seen. Ryno, who was a last-minute replacement for Craig Fraser, was extraordinary, ensuring that the students executed the most demos ever produced in that class. Ryno is truly a charismatic and dynamic instructor, and I can’t thank him enough for being so prepared, energetic, and effective. Fraser was certainly missed by many, but Ryno did an impeccable job filling the void.
Scott and Michael Fresener’s T-Shirt Screenprinting three-day course, as always, hits on all cylinders in delivering what it promises, and I don’t believe there is better hands-on instruction on the subject. Students printed tons of shirts with puff, plastisol, and other specialty inks; really impressive. For more information on screenprinting, please visit www.t-biznetwork.com.
I loved the new projects performed in the Murals on Steel and Dynamic Kustom Painting classes. Cross-Eyed, Jonathan Pantaleon, and Alan Pastrana are always committed to offering new techniques and challenges for their students.
Also, big thanks and congratulations go to the event’s sponsors; SEM (new sponsor), Anest Iwata, Iwata, Createx, Artool (new sponsor), and Coast Airbrush. David Vivian and Dan Chester, SEM’s reps, did a superior job, and were there every minute to answer questions, mix paint, and offer solid product support.
Anest Iwata Spray Guns Shine in New Format
Mark Hebbeler, of Anest Iwata, and Brian Lynch joined forces to initiate a new teaching format to ensure that most students would have the opportunity to handle Anest Iwata’s fine line of spray guns, and learn their intricacies, nuances, and many applications. It was a booming success. At past Getaways, experienced spray gun users (some for 20+ years) have claimed that the one or two tricks revealed by Lynch were well worth the price of admission alone, and I felt strongly that all students should have this important exposure. If most T-shirt artists understood how critical and efficient spray guns are for their application, they’d sprint to buy them! Faux artists, fine artists, illustrators, body artists, spray tanners, and tons more would benefit exponentially from the use of spray guns. Find out more at http://www.anestiwata.com.
Artograph’s LED 200 Projector Received Raves and an Exciting Buzz
John Davis, Artograph’s COO, was present to spread the gospel about their new LED 200 Projector and demonstrate its finer points. The crowd went “wild,” and this product proved to be one of the most exciting ever introduced at the Airbrush Getaway. The LED 200 plays videos, slide shows, and music like other projectors, but those are just the side benefits. This projector is loaded with custom features geared specifically for artists, such as six built-in grids for use in layout and design—they can be superimposed over any image or photo for dead-on image alignment and composition—a brilliant color-correct image that’s completely adjustable, excellent keystoning, and their lamp lasts a whopping 30,000 hours (that’s four hours a day for more than twenty years)! The LED 200 was discounted at the Getaway to $649.95 from $699.95, and all four sold out in less than a day. Three more were sold on backorder. Congratulations to Artograph for a smash hit.
The Getaway is truly an incredible program, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I hope to see you in Las Vegas, at the Rio, February 28 through March 4, 2011.
With great humor, I’m reminded of a representative of a major airbrush manufacturer who forecast our doom after issue 1 and stocked up on the premiere issue, banking on its appreciation as a collector’s item. Although our success has probably been to the chagrin of this soul, he can still cash in on that issue after all for about $50 a pop or more, if that’s any consolation.
We seem to have done the near impossible by surviving twenty-five years. And although I’m proud of this achievement, there’s no room for gloating or smugness, or believing we’ve reached the top. We continually fight and struggle to top ourselves. As a vertical publication, we have to strive for uniqueness and innovation to maintain our readership.
The overall key to our success, if I were forced to choose a single dominant element, has to be perseverance. Perseverance against the great threat of failure. Perseverance in grasping at every thread of hope. Perseverance in the struggle against burnout. Perseverance in developing resources. And even perseverance despite better times and twenty-five years under your belt. Perseverance inspired by the deep hunger to survive—and survive well, if possible.
What artist can’t relate to this? What artist worth his or her salt hasn’t faced and overcome tremendous adversity in the drive to survive and to succeed? What artist is ever completely satisfied with his or her work? We have to keep growing to sustain our passion for what we do, or there’s simply no point in doing it.
We appreciate immensely the devotion of our advertisers and our many readers, and we promise to maintain the steady growth and appeal of Airbrush Action, my most cherished accomplishment and most willing sacrifice. Here’s a toast to all those who believed in Airbrush Action, and even to those who didn’t. And may all the issues be collector’s items!
The following post is from Jerry Ott’s editorial featured in the July-August issue of Airbrush Action. It’ s funny, honest, and from the hip; just great stuff that I wanted to share with those who may not have seen it. Jerry Ott is one of the all-time great photorealists in fine artist, and he was extremely gracious to agree to teach the Power Portraits course at the upcoming Airbrush Getaway in Las Vegas (September 29-October 2). Enjoy!
Who’d have thought, 43 years ago when I first picked up this strange instrument, that I’d still be going into the studio every day, closing the door behind me and attempting to produce paintings that were largely airbrush-generated artworks categorized variously as “Photorealism” or the more recently categorized “Hyperrealism”? Although not thinking of myself as an “airbrush artist,” I have nonetheless used one almost without exception to produce the work I’ve done throughout the past decades.
When first approached about this article I couldn’t even quote what brand and type of airbrush I use without some serious thinking (I guessed wrong), nor could I even hope to tell you what type of compressor I use, but I remember it was small, expensive, runs quietly, and has been rebuilt more than once since I purchased it some 20 odd years ago. In my early career, when the airbrush began a silent mutiny against me and decided to impede my progress, I’d simply take it and smash it against the nearest wall. Now that I recall these distant episodes, I see them as simple indications of my impetuous youth and long lasting adolescence. I still, however, have boxes full of their shiny little carcasses and scattered body parts.
I use only one airbrush, and I’ve never used peripheral gadgetry and multiple connections, etc., and that airbrush is generally to be found in a state of extreme external filth and covered in layers of paint, getting cleaned only when its performance begins to falter. Inevitably and quite often I’ll step on the air hose, instantly pulling the airbrush from my fingers in near supersonic speed and propelling it with a sickening “THUD!!!!!!!” needle first into either the floor or the wall causing great damage and much loud cursing. I then simply go online and my much needed parts arrive the very next morning to begin the process all over again.
When plans were begun for this article, I had just gathered a number of young women models and asked them to apply heavy makeup and then flood their faces with water to get the makeup to run and smear. This would be the basis of a four-painting series to be called Pretty Portraits, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment about a somewhat forgotten and relegated style of painting. These paintings (at 48- by 60-inches) were to be somewhat smaller and also, to a degree, somewhat more straightforward in both their subject and their manner of execution than most of my other work, so they were almost tailor-made for this purpose.
In the late 60′s and early 70′s, being somewhat of a pioneer in this particular usage of an airbrush, I naturally helped to spawn a lot of followers in terms of style (much as I was inspired by the work of German artist Paul Wunderlich), and I quickly realized and often stated after seeing tons of poorly executed paintings, that an airbrush is not a substitute for ability; it is not, in itself, a magic tool; yet in the hands of an accomplished artist, it can, in fact, help produce magic.
As an “airbrush artist,” I use no tricks or “shortcuts,” as such, but merely rely upon drawing skill, observation, and years of experience to provide that seat-of-the-pants approach that has served my needs so long. I use no stencils or templates, and I don’t really have any magic wands to wave. Here you’ll see the process in a step-by-step fashion in the hope that you may find something helpful and of interest. I will admit with a word of caution, however, that if I should mention anything having to do with color, please check it out with your own eyes and remember that I am overwhelmingly color blind (having only identified three items out of a color test of twenty four). I’ve always hoped and thought that this has perhaps helped me to compensate by developing a more acute awareness of value and tone, but that’s all conjecture, and tomorrow you could run into me on the street with one purple sock and one green. . . . . .
Hey guys, I’m considering staging a kustom kulture/automotive/bike show next Spring in New Jersey (@ the shore), and wanted your ideas and feedback. Would you attend? Would you want to exhibit? What or who would you like to see there? Should it be a one- or two-day event? I believe this type of show is needed, and I would seek the support and sponsorship of some of the industry leaders. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please e-mail me: email@example.com.
Hey guys, thought I’d share with you a Q&A from the September-October 2010 issue of Airbrush Action. Javier Soto was kind enough to take the time to help out a reader.
There is some glue left from the stencil on my bike. How should I remove the glue from the bike without damaging the water-based paint that I have yet to lacquer. Thanks, Sean.
The best way that I have found to remove residual adhesives is by using a fresh piece of the same masking material that you used in that job. First, try dabbing it and pulling off the residual adhesive. If dabbing doesn’t do it, try rubbing it across the adhesive (in the same manner you’d use an eraser). If the original masking material doesn’t work well, try using a stronger, or tackier, tape or material. Remember, the key here is to start with a lighter tack first and work up to the tackier tapes. If all tapes have failed, then you can try solvents, but you must be careful and only use non-aggressive solvents. I would start with mineral spirits and test it on an inconspicuous spot first. It would help to know the exact paint and masking/stenciling material used, but I will tell you what has worked on Createx’s Wicked paint: I’ve used Mineral Spirits, DuPont Final Klean 3901s, and PPG DX330 with minimal problems. There is always the possibility that the adhesive may be too stubborn to remove without taking some paint along with it, in which case a touch-up or even a dreaded repaint may be inevitable, but from my experience, that has rarely happened. Also, be sure to use quality brands and newer, fresher material. I like Avery brand masking vinyl and prefer the yellow over the white but I do use both. I also like Automask from www.coastairbrush.com.
Good luck and happy painting.