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Article » Student vs Teacher Airbrush Paint Off
Copyright 2010 Airbrush Technique - Original post located at Airbrush Tecnique News Forum.
by BigDaddy Customs

OK.......here we go.....

Student vs Teacher Airbrush Paint Off

We wanted to do something special at the show to get the crowd going, so about 2 weeks ago, I came up with the idea of a paint off.....student vrs the teacher......between myself and Richard Markham. For those of you who don't know, Rich got me into airbrushing about 3 1/2 yrs ago.

The idea is a "No Holds Barred" Live Paint-Off between the two of us. We painted 2 of the Mini-Hoods that I had left over from this past summer. There was a 30 minute time limit.

Well, Rich has been obsessed that I had something up my sleeve.....since it was my idea.....and was actually a bit worried with what I was going to do......so, he pulled out the "big guns" for this one. He uses his own brand of Airbrush, which happens to be a .3mm. I, on the other hand, use an Iwata Eclipse with a .5mm nozzle. He actually had a buddy of his overnight ship him an Eclipse so he could keep up with me.

The day before the event, he still didn't know what he was going to paint for the paint off.....and was up till 2am searching the internet for ideas. Meanwhile.....I was off in la-la land getting a good night's rest.

Saturday afternoon, I was painting the airbrush tattoos for all the kids up until 30 minutes before the Paint Off start time. When I get done with the tattoos, I noticed that Rich already had his hood on an easel, and had pencil sketched a Bengal Tiger's head on it. He had reference pictures tacked up, and was ready to go. Meanwhile, I still hadn't gotten a thing ready.

"A TIGER! Are you for real!?? A freakin Tiger in 30 minutes! What am I supposed to do against THAT!" Now, Rich was a bit confuddled. I still hadn't got anything ready.....which made him think that I MUST have some sort of devious, master plan, but at the same time, I'm looking a bit doe-eyed, intimidated, and confused. Now, he's starting to wonder.....

5 Minutes before the start time, I get all my stuff together, and bring 2 mini hoods with me....one white, and one black cherry. I start with the white one. He says to me, "I know you got something planned" to which I sheepishly reply, "Um, no....not really...I was just talking shmack.....I don't have a clue what I'm gonna do against that friggin Bengal Tiger of yours".

Our MC got the crowd going.....which completely encircled our 100 foot long display.....the crowd was about 15 feet deep. We had our audience! Being a home town guy from Pittsburgh, I was definately the crowd favorite....plus everyone loves an under-dog story. There were hundreds of people cheering for the poor student, while they actually booed the mean old teacher! LOL....We couldn't have written a script that would have been better.

And we're off!

Rich starts banging out this awesome tiger's head.....and folks, it was impressive to see this thing. I felt jealous, because I wanted to watch him paint the danged thing too! I started on my white hood. Now.....you have to realize something.....I grabbed that hood litterally 5 minutes before the start. I never prepped the thing, and litterally, just peeled the protective plastic from the surface moments before.....so needless to say, there was a MAJOR amount of static on that thing. I started (slowly) painting a giant skull face that took up the entire hood. It looked terrible because of all the static grabbing every particle of overspray.

5 minutes go by. Rich is flying through his hood.....I'm suprised that he didn't use 2 airbrushes at once! I see the concentration on his face as he's struggling to whip this thing out in the time limit. I'm still taking my time doodling on my hood. The crowd is still behind me, and there are people actually heckling Rich! LOL

10 minutes go by. Rich has this wicked looking Bengal Tiger going on. Well, Rich may have WAY more painting experiance than me, BUT! I have WAY more SALESMANSHIP experiance than him! I flip my hood over, and spray on the back of it BENGALS SUCK! Then run over to his area, holding the sign up to the crowd, chanting "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!!!!"

Anyone that follows NFL football knows that Pittsburgh Hates the Cinci Bengals! Whoops! Tactical error on Rich's part not knowing the crowd would hate anything doing with Cincinnati! I've got the crowd eating out of my hand. Rich is painting his heart out, whipping out one of the best 30 minute paint jobs I've ever seen, and I'm yucking it up with the crowd, and have managed to pretty much not paint a thing yet. It was almost too much!

18 minutes to go. I walk over to my easel, hold up my nasty skull hood, look at it, and throw it to ground in "disgust". Now Everyone is wondering what I'm doing! The MC comes running over to see what's going on! Rich is spraying so fast, he removed the back of the AB, and is physically pulling the needle back and forth to make it spray faster!

The MC asks what's going on, and that's when I announced, with all confidence, that "I only need 15 minutes to beat him" The crowd roared to life! Rich is looking at me out of the corner of my eye wondering if I lost my mind, and what I have up my sleeve. The MC announced, "Well, you have 2 minutes to burn then" This is where I got a bit cocky. I pulled out a cigarette, like I was going to take a smoke break! People are chuckling, and now they can't wait to see what I have up my sleeve.

At the 15 minute mark, I started painting on the black cherry hood. But you see, Rich was right. I did have a plan. This is where I have to start loosing the crowd, and loosing the race. I start spraying just a little bit of red/orange/yellow fire up the center of the hood. I put a fire skull in it for good measure. It looked PATHETIC! I looked completely lost, and way out-classed at this point. It took me about 12 minutes to get done spraying my little bit of fire, then, looking defeated, I walked over to Rich's area, grabbed a chair, and took a seat behind him to watch hime finish his hood up.

The MC asked Rich what he thought about me being done already, and watching him finish up. Rich replied "Looks like the student is back in class." (LOLOLOL That was a great line!) I responded sheepishly, "Hey, it's a free airbrush class."

Times up!

We shake hands, and move the hoods right next to one another for the crowd to look at. It was PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that Rich's hood WAY outclassed mine. Even being the "home town favorite" couldn't help me here. By applause, the crowd announced Rich the winner of the paint off. Rich was dumbfounded. All this time, he really thought that I had something planned, some trick up my sleeve, and he actually felt a bit embarrassed for me, because he went all out, and there I was. I had nothing for him.

Or so everyone thought.......

That's when I grabbed the mic from the MC and addressed the crowd. As soon as I grabbed the mic, Rich said "Uh-oh, here we go".

I said something along the lines of "Rich taught me to paint 3 1/2 years ago, and it's been a helluva run. There were many things that Rich taught me, but one thing, inparticular, really stuck with me. Rich always said that when it comes to painting, if you ain't cheating, you ain't tyring! I paid attention to that lesson.......and......well, I cheated a bit." I walked over and grabbed the heat gun that Pat (The Airbrush Guy) had plugged in and hidden for me.

Now Rich grabbed a chair, and sat down in front of my hood and said "Now it's time fo the Teacher to sit in class and learn something!"

You see, I did cheat. I pre-painted the hood with piles of detailed skulls, and painted over them with ALSA Eclipse Heat Reactive Paint, and topcoated all that with Candy Red......the stuff I used on the Pinup Harley. When the temperature is below 70 degrees, the hood just looks like a black cherry finish. When I hit it with the heat gun, and got the temperature above 75 degrees, the paint "activates" and disappears, magically revealing all the skulls in the background! That's why I only wanted to paint a little bit of fire on there.....I didn't want to cover up all the hard work I did the previous weekend. (That was my super-secret-squirell paint project)

The crowd went nuts, and everyone thought that I pulled a good "fast one" on Rich.

Now for the re-count. There were definately more cheers for me this time, but we all know, a cheater just can't win. Rich was still the crowd favorite. So for all my "antics", Rich won round 1.

Or did he........

We donated the hoods to the charity auction, and they were auctioned off. My hood sold for more money at the auction (albiet only by a little), but that was still a victory!

Is it a tie? LOL!

Find out what happens next in the Student vrs Teacher Paint Off series! We will be battling it out in this best of 5 series at the Champion Auto Show Series Events in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland!


All in all, folks, it was a great time, we had alot of fun, raised some money for charity, and I'm working on my next dirty little trick for round 2! Hope to see you there!

Big D