Photobucket a14Alot of people want to get into airbrushing but seem to get somewhat set back when they find out that airbrushing is not an accredited vocational skill amungst almost all of the national academic institutions. In Australia airbrush is making strides with a program called the Venturi program, which is a pioneered system reaching out through many venues and has integrated itself through a state sponsored backing, thus helping it gain leverage for the skill as it continues to evolve. This blog is to help the incoming novice understand how to approach the steps in entering this skill. First of all, if your going to do custom airbrush in the automotive graphics field, you will need to start a 6 month hybernation period inside of a body shop, via it be a “backyard boogie” or an established functional production shop. This is utterly important hence the basic knowledge of basecoats, clearcoats, and all of the fancy paints will give you the confidence and accelerate the comfort level when it comes to that intimidating moment when you get your first carhood order or tailgate. Next allow yourself another 6 months of unsolicited, unincumbered, escapism and build a body of work that is uncompromisable. An example of this is : if your going to do welding helmets do 15 of them well and execute them with precision ( Do not compromise the integrity because your work is your sales force simultaneously). 98% of the 3,000 students I have taught know what the cheap, fuzzy, rushed looking airbrush stuff looks like, and know inherently that it continues to set airbrushing back 20 years everytime someone produces low quality work within the field. The standard for airbrush is being raised and there is a global trail of etiquette that is now being followed for incoming novices and artisans alike. It is very difficult for someone to build a body of work when they perhaps do not know specifically what they are good at. An osmosis will sometimes occur immediately and sometimes it will not but the main point is that if you can corner what your good at in the inception of learning, then time, chance and money will be on your side. It is of utter importance to not limit yourself to any particular surfaces, for example, if you learn woodgrain, you could be a faux painter and apply it to home decor. If you learn True Fire, you could put it on vintage refridgerators and not just vehicles. If you learn animation, you could put it on tire covers which are floating around the city (which thousands of people will see at stoplights every year ). The point is that if this skill is in your blood then you will eventually make money, and the people who succeed in this field are not just the innately talented artists, this is actually quite the opposite. Alot of talented artists are co-existing because their introverted personalitys keep them in submission for 10-20 years, then they finally get fed up and build a body of work. I always teach my students the importance of planting “seeds” when you start hitting the trail to make money. Dance clubs are one of the best places to start because dance clubs will usually offer the ability to do t-shirts or custom mural work at your own leisure. Whichever you choose, the way you approach this environment (via a concept of bartering space for work or perhaps an outright 25% comission on everything you sell via garments, body art or whatever ) the bottom line is that you need foot traffic to sell anything, and when you have 800 or more people who are intoxicated with music thumping in the background you have major leverage in the “point of sale” department. Back to “planting seeds”… If you are inside of a dance club doing murals and selling random imagery, or just hussling body art and t-shirts, you should never be dependent on just that one environment. Dance club revenue is usually more prosperous on the weekends but if the beginning of the week is dry, start hitting the furniture stores and airbush angels on coffee tables or dressers, or drop a couple of welding helmets off in the paint stores or body shops or drop a few t-shirts off at the record stores etc etc. This is just a small part of the information I have on how to get started in the field. -David Morton


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