Softball Helmets

I’ve been working with one of the best in Tampa, Pete Marin of Sure Shot Airbrush, and I learned that when it comes to softball helmets, less is more. The layers of paint should built up rather than using thick t-shirt style strokes. Bonding of the paint to the surface is the key to scratch resistance.

Designs

Designs, especially for your display, depend on how you paint.

Obviously if you only stencil your designs must be what you have stencils for, but if you you “free hand” you have to consider what to show.
In my experience working with freehand and stencil artists, and myself being a freehand artist, I find I need only a few eye catching designs for a large display, a large sample book to let them see a range of skill and to give them ideas, and then a smart phone or computer to surf the web for what they want.
We have to face it, we either roll out stock designs, or we do the custom order.

Practice is the universal formula for success, the more you do anything the better you get at it.
Why should airbrush be any different?

Really, there is more to practice than just doing one thing over and over. There is the mind body spirit connection in all things. Doing it right means doing it “whole-ly”.
PRACTICE thinking about airbrush, visualize, like a golfer perfecting his swing.
PRACTICE from new positions, angles, paints 3-dimensional sculptures and models, develop MOTOR skills.
PRACTICE while in different moods, to different music, see the difference in your emotions and learn about yourself as the airbrush puts you on the medium.

Inspiration

Airbrush artists have the luxury of going straight to the manifold and painting. Inspiration can be instantly satisfied in a finished product with little preparation. Think about Photoshop without the pencil or airbrush tools. We are the foundation of realism! Airbrush harnesses pointillism to a plow and makes it grow crops, Airbrush controls the butterflys wings that cause the hurricane. Do you realize that when you are using an airbrush you are orchestrating a pictorial symphony in space and time that you then weave into a tapestry. What is the sound of one hand clapping the zen monk asks, well you can hear it as the airbrushman lays down script, and it has meaning! It can be a name. In the beginning was the word, it was airbrushed, in reality or Photoshop.

To inspire is to take spirit and brush it onto the air that vitalizes us, the yoking or submission of the dancer to the rhythm. In all these things we find “feeling”. Inspiration airbrushes feeling onto lives that have become comfortably numb. Inspiration airbrushes and the airbrushman airbrushes, and people feel things! That why we are entertainers and performers as well as producers. We are at parties to catalyze inspiration. We catalyze the individual scream from the throat of the t-shirt. We catalyze the the life statement on the automobile. We catalyze the vision in the body art on the calendar that guides our days.

I was listening to an evangelist describing how sin has been airbrushed out of our lives, that’s an art god was inspired to to do, to make us feel something, bringing us out of our Photoshop matrix into a world, created with dots, lines, gradients and rat tail-dagger strokes.

What is meditation? It can be described in different ways but in general we could say that it is the use of the intellect in states of consciousness other than “standard waking consciousness”.

Okay, lets begin by defining “standard waking consciousness”. Conscious states are at least measurable as correlates of brain wave patterns as defined by the electroencephalograph or EEG. We have four levels of consciousness: beta(waking or aware of the world), alpha(dreaming or aware of inner vistas as affected by the outer world), theta(deep dreaming or aware of only the inner world), delta(unconscious or unaware).

When we begin airbrushing we use skills developed in the same way that an athlete develops skills, not merely hand to eye coordination in the way a pencil artist draws, but a complex rhythm of full body motion that is more like a slam dunk, free throw, curve ball, home run, serve, bulls eye, or any of the goals or finish lines we use to score in a sport. The particles of paint coming out of that airbrush hit the t-shirt where they do because the airbrush is at a certain angle, a certain distance, and releasing a certain amount of air pressure. How are these three necessities coordinated?

Examine a strip of video camera film showing a football player kicking a field goal and you will find a single still shot or frame where the foot hits the ball and the same three components are there, the certain angle, the certain distance, and the certain pressure. Look at the coordination required to achieve those three requirements, the balance, timing, grace, attitude, and compare that to the total absence of these in the pencil artist or brush painter or even craftsmen like potters and sculptors. The exact opposite of the so called “fine” artist is the airbrush artist whose mastery can be judged as much or more by his posture, speed, grace, and timing, as much as by the finished product. Exactly like an athlete!

It is this quality of airbrushing that makes it meditation, because the master airbrush artist must enter the “zone” the way an athlete or martial artist does, that altered state of consciousness. This is also how “zen” art is different than western art .The zen monks also say, “the martial artists come to us we don’t go to them”. Its the state of mind that is the necessity, and that is also why athletes train in visualization and meditation altering their state of consciousness. To be an airbrush artist requires a discipline that artists in general are not familiar with, and a creativity that is absent from sport. That should be the beginning of your airbrush meditation.

I had a great time with Pete Marin airbrushing tattoos at the “monster jam” pit party on Saturday afternoon. We painted around 200 tattoos, paid for by monster jam, on kids and adults. It was crazy!!! Of course they were free to the public in the pit so we had a line all day long, and by following the standard application process of Sure Shot Airbrush we only had to turn away about five kids at the end of the day when we were told there was no more time to paint. Sorry to any who didn’t get a tattoo, we painted 50 tattoos an hour or about one every one and a half minutes for four hours. Great job, great day, great fans, great trucks! yeah!

So, what is the Sure Shot method that allows us to paint so many more tattoos in give away venues like this? I’ll tell you, we operate always on the K.I.S.S. principle, or “keep it simple stupid”. We keep in mind that customers have a hard time choosing, but statistically speaking, choose the same designs as a whole, so after starting out with 1000 choices we reduced it to the 25 always chosen and eliminated hundreds which are rarely picked. We use basic colors and rely on superior skills as artists in blending and finessing colors to awe our customers.this narrows the field to a nice variety of home-run choices instead of letting customers guess and strike out on combinations they expect to be great but turn out to be terrible when they see it on their arm, back, or where ever else they may have put it.

We always heard “that’s awesome!”, rather than “i wish I had chosen the other one”. When you are doing free tattoos you have to have satisfied customers. A paying customer might want their money back, but if they are getting it free they will just keep asking you to do it again till you get it right, which would not have satisfied the monster jam people who wanted every one to be happy campers sporting nice fresh airbrushed tattoos.

Of course we got pictures and saw Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction, Medusa, and all the other favorites. In fact we and our fans liked it so much monster jam is going to have us doing more in the future. Give us a shout on google+, Facebook, twitter, or even email and phone if want custom airbrush on shirts, hats, or any monster jam items we cant paint at the show. Thanks again to all all our fans!