Tales of a Traveling Airbrush

When I write up one of my more memorable masterpieces, or some of my various memories, I will post them here for you to enjoy. Comments are welcome; I'll try to reply.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

American Thunder on the Speed Channel

Commanding the midst of the rumbling chaos was a parade of loud, diverse two wheeled conveyances made of dusty chrome and shiny paint, driven by the participants of a low brow fashion show. This curious sight was being admired by the seemingly parched and sun burnt crowd that comes to Myrtle Beach Bike week every year. Behind silver mirrored lenses that match the color of her hair, a pair of sharp jade eyes surveys this scene and is suddenly piqued at the sight of a camera man, seemingly out of place among the leather clad pedestrians. Susan was on it in a flash.
“Where are you from?” she asked figuring he was covering the event for the local news.
“American Thunder” was his response.
“Where’s Michelle?” Susan inquired, immediately recognizing the opportunity.
“Over there” was the response as he pointed toward the tall television icon wearing a florescent pink cowboy hat.
Susan raced over and said “Michelle, I have an artist I’d like you to meet”
“It’s not up to me,” Michelle responded “Jay calls all the shots” as she pointed in the right direction to facilitate the interception of the director of the show.
When Susan addressed Jay, he said “Great, I’m looking for a story”
I did not know any of this while it was taking place. My world at that time was very small. Not unlike the feeling enjoyed by many at Christmas time, I was consumed with the brand new Mack “series ten” pinstriping brush I had just selected from my stash. Each brush has a unique configuration of long squirrel hair and as a result, each arrangement has its own personality. After the inspection, I carefully trimmed the stray hair tips with a razor blade to make it “my style” and was ready for the next step in my new relationship with this small ungainly brush. To get familiar with how this brush worked, I dipped it up to the hilt in paint, palletted the loaded brush across the square of cardboard held between the top knuckles of my left hand to launch a manageable state and prepared to become familiar with how this new brush worked as I made the thin lines and the graceful u-turns and sharp points that, when complete, made a flame design that these windblown throngs desire.
I knew that Susan was watching point. She enjoyed the bikes and initiating rapport with the curious bikers that wandered over to look at the artwork on display and see the pinstriping taking place on the bikes that were parked in the booth. Hers is an interesting life of being a surgeons assistant with sourjournes to Montana to drive herds of horses and catlle over the mountains and help Letterfly at the big events. I remained in my little world of paint viscosity and hues of color and with the delicate hand of a surgeon, manipulated the unstable, loaded with liquid, unique paint brush, attempting to make pleasing delicate lines and images of all kinds.
After the flame job, I resumed working on the portraits of an Indian chief that had been started earlier on either side of another motorcycle tank. The next thing I knew, the pinstriping booth was swarming with cameras, a stunning television personality and the director of the Speed TV Show called “American Thunder” was suggesting vantage points for his crew to assume. Soon the haven for old school traditional motorcycle art is a studio for an interview to take place along with some interesting footage about this particular facet of the motorcycle culture.
Soon Michelle is sitting on a little stool next to me as I add intricate brush strokes to the beaded bonnet of the Indian warrior. Her questions began and I provided enlightening rapport about the specialty I bring to the biker industry. Each inquiry was a prompt for me to hopefully entertain the audience with an interesting fact about this particular genre of art that I am passionate about. I suppose that having given the seminar “Rolling Art,… Why a Mural?” for motor home folks, motorcycle riders and artists guilds across the country had prepared me for this moment.
When the shooting was over and the fans inundated Michelle with requests for autographs and photos, the crew continued to get interesting candid shots of Susan and myself as we continued with our projects to add interest and background to their story.
I signed the usual release and they invited me to watch in another month for the upcoming episode that will include “Letterfly” on the show. You are invited too.
I have gratitude for the spontaneous hunch and the quick thinking on the part of my side kick and friend, Susan. Now my distinct little creative sanctuary that is part of a bigger, equally interesting world will be shared with viewing multitudes on “American Thunder” scheduled to be on the air July 8th.


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