Making a career out of airbrushing.

I dont specifically airbrush for a living. I do composite fabrication, scenic art, murals, stage sets, novelty vehicles for movies, props, tiny amount of animatronic stuff, even a fishtank that was a segway piece on "tanked" ….basically whatever kind of stuff you see in amusement parks. Since moving to NC from florida all that has been in flux (not exactly an entertainment capitol here) so Ive been all over the map with what i apply those skills to to make money.

I would probably knock out the helmet, then talk to the people at a local bike club , tell them what youre trying to do,show em what youve done, offer to give them a free paintjob coupon for a poker run or just see if theyll pull a name out of a hat, or go up to the crowd of kids hanging out with their motorcycles at wal-mart or the gas station or whatever and talk to them, tell em what youre trying to do and see if someone has a helmet or fender they wanna do.

Aim for something that has a name or them that is local because it will be obvious it wasnt purchased that way.

When people talk about airbrushing there is always custom one piece order mentality. I would assume it can be quite a challenge to get a customer which is prepared to pay the amount of hours which were put in that masterpiece which artist made. After all, people always talked that artists are poor. Everybody likes art, but who wanna pay for it. Maybe that’s why best airbrushers are making payed tutorials, stencil sets and bunch of other stuff.

Me for example, I am noob at this airbrushing thingy. But the way I see it is it’s just one of a tools to get you to close the deal. Let me explain what I mean by that. I am airbrushing t-shirts. If I would like to do that as my job I would need to friking airbrush those t-shirts each day, the whole day and seeling them cheap. That would be pain in the arse. But on other hand I get a tool which can help me with getting customers for bigger orders.

Lets say my goal would be to get customers which are ordering 100 t-shirts minimum – theoretically. I could do samples by airbrushing them, but the whole production I would outsource it to some screen printer so I don’t need to work and I would just collect the money without putting the amount of time which is needed to make all of those t-shirts. So that would be lets say 100×5 dollars per t-shirt = 500 dollars without any work. Theoretically… So my main goal would become to get lets say few customers which are ordering 100 pieces each on a regular basis.

One more little thingy. I remember one picture from a guy on this forum, he posted spiderman breaking true the wall which he painted for him self I think. Not sure. Very nice job. I like those comic thingies and I loved that photo of his work in a second. I showed that picture to my cousin which in a second sad to me he wanna have the same picture in his kids room when I learn enough to airbrush stuff like that.

So, I will condense my story on how I became a full time professional, and I’ll tell you first it wasn’t luck. I had been interested in art my entire life. I took drafting in high school, one or two drawing classes, but my passion and goal at the time was being a mechanic. I went to all the R.O.P. classes, and got my A.S.E. certification. Upon graduating at 17 I went into the Army to better myself from car mechanic to helicopter mechanic. That’s why my user name is what it is. I was an AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter Crew Chief. After leaving the Army I worked for Lockheed Martin as a F-22 Raptor Fabricator, and after contracts got held up worked for Department of Homeland Security as a Airport Supervisor. It was good money but not something I loved, and due to an injury I sustained in the Army I would later have to have surgery on my neck, and am rated permanently disabled collecting SSD. I had not done anything art wise for awhile besides some tattoo work, when a friend who just started back at college as an art major said that he heard I could draw and gave me a pencil pouch full of some supplies. I used those everyday, and still do everyday, starting out doing what most do with micron pens and colored pencils. Eventually I started inking my own work with a brush, but never colored really. Then I researched how comics were made pre computers, and they were either watercolored or airbrushed. Wanting to get that organic feel with my color I choose airbrushing, as I hate digital’s sterileness. Once I had the confidence to do what my friend did I too went back to school as an art major too. I ended up doing so well as a student that I just finished my B.A. in Art Studio with a minor in Art History. I want to continue on next year for my M.F.A. so that I can be a professor, cause all my professors have said that I should be teaching airbrushing as it’s different then anyone they have seen before. But it is the fact that the universities are the modern day art guilds, and the connections I have made there are worth more than what I paid for school. It is because of earning my way into these circles that I have the opportunity to do what I truly love. You can be the most talented artist out there, but if you don’t get involved in your local galleries and art scene no one will ever know. I still paint daily, no I’m not some uber famous artist that sits and watches their interns do their work for them while they connect a 6 figure commission, but I am pulling in 4 figure sales, and keep moving up the ladder. It however takes work, being involved, and yes it’s true about who you know. Now I’m not saying school is the only way to become a full timer, but you do need to find a way to stay in the minds of people, cause you never know when a connection will pay off.