I always worry about doing work for finicky customers or high-profile people I haven’t gotten to know yet.  just recently I was asked to “do my thang” on actor Johnny Depp’s” 51 Merc being built by BS Industries in Burbank ,Ca.    what a freaking ordeal this was!  let me  start at the beginning.    I was told by my producer that they were going to be doing a show involving Johnny Depp’s Merc.  I said   “I HAVE to get in on that build! and lo and behold I was in!    SWEET!      now came the hard part, what to do on his car?   I was told he said i could paint anything i wanted on it.  great! now what?  we all put our heads together and did online research  and came up with that he is part native american, I believe Apache, he likes things in 3’s ie: triangles or things in multiples of 3’s etc.  AND, he has a moustache and beard collection ………!

ok, now what do I do with that information??    I decided that the beard and moustache thing was useless to me and trew that out of the mix.  I took everything else and came up with a piece for the trunk.      the car was going to be painted dark DARK green almost black.  the paint had green pearl in the black basecoat and then was given a couple coats of Kandy Organic Green to intensify the color.  in the shade or in low light situations  the car looks black but in the sun the car reflects green on all the high points.   the plan was to put a long narrow band of green fire off the front wheels flowing all the way back over the rear fender skirts. this would go great with the chopped top bad ass look the car already has.    on the trunk I designed an apache skull and headband with three eagle feathers hanging from the side. behind the skull I painted the letters JD in a way that they looked like they were chipped from flint and when the letters were together they made a triangular shape similar to an arrow head.  behind that I did spread eagle wings with green fire flowing off of them up the center of the trunk.

sounds cool huh? it looks sweet!   but thats not the saga I was talking about.    Uh, No!                    so there I was in Burbank Ca. at BS Industries hot rod shop waiting to get my eyes on the project of the day. after a couple of hours Bodie Stroud the owner of the shop pulled up with the rolling chassis of the Merc directly from the paint shop.  the car was pulled into the shop and unloaded from the trailer.  I was eyeballing it to fine tune my design.   Bodie was mic’ed up and they began to film his interviews about the build, Johnny’s expectations of the completed project, he even mentioned what I was going to be doing on the car.  this all takes time to do because they do things multiple times to assure they have enough footage so the editors have enough to work with for the final cut.

so there I was waiting……watching the clock tic away.  I only had today to paint this car because filming ended on this episode today, NO DO_OVERS!  no pressure or anything!   while I was waiting I was contemplating getting my stuff ready so they wouldn’t have to wait on me and we could just paint and film.  so I went over to my suitcase to get my pattern for the trunk piece and my exacto knife and box of blades, all 100 of them.   I looked in there and saw the gallon Ziploc bag that had my stuff in it and opened it to find that TSA at Seattle’s SEATAC airport had taken them out of my bag!!!!!!!!!!!!   NO Knife! sonofa!**! mother f*&#!rs!  now I have to take time I dont have and run and get another knife and blades and get back in time to start.   Off the set to Michael’s art supply to get a replacement knife and blades then mad run back to Bodie’s place.   so now we’re back and I get my sketch out and make the appropriate cuts in it to get it ready.  still not ready for me!  ok, I guess I’ll get my airbrush and paint ready. so I head back to my suitcase to retrieve my airbrush hose and get ready to hook it up to the shops air lines.  I was just about ready to attach my hose when realized I didn’t have the airbrush hooked up to it! DUH! had I hooked up without the airbrush on the hose the air would have just blown out the end whipping the hose around like a crazy cobra on crack!  not to mention it would have messed with the already on going filming.

so I go back to my suitcase again to now ge my Iwata custom Micron airbrush.  I reach into the bag and guess what????   THOSE MOTHERS TOOK BOTH OF MY AIRBRUSHES TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   SONOFA BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NOT THAT!  ok now my heart is racing and I’m starting to sweat like a pig!  what the hell do I do now??!!!!    I’M SO SCREWED!   I have to find somebody to beg borrow or steal an Iwata airbrush to finish this project!     I call on my good friend David Monig who owns COAST AIRBRUSH  (THE ONLY PLACE YOU NEED TO GO TO FIND ANYTHING AIRBRUSH RELATED!) www.coastairbrush.com

I asked him if he knew anybody in the Burbank area that carried Iwata.  he was in the middle of another call and asked me to hold on.  damn!  I had to do something else!  (sorry dave)    we located an art store in the area that carried Iwata ( the only airbrush that fits my hose) and took off!    while I was on my way to the art store my phone rang,    it was Dennis my producer!   “where are you mike?” he asked.  ” I don’t want to tell you I said!”   “what? ” he asked, “whats up man? we’re ready for you”    I told him what happened and to say he was aggravated would be putting it mildly!   I assured him I had the situation under control and I’d be back in 20 minutes or so.   after I dumped $200 on a new airbrush we headed back to the shop again.

now when I started this project today I had 5 hours to paint the car, not bad, i could do that easily. But with all the bullshit I now have 3 hrs to do the same job!  it has to be right, and it has to be perfect! and I have to do it double time!    I love it in the kitchen baby!     when i got there I hit the ground running! and painted like a fiend!   I kept one eye on the car and the other one on the clock on the wall!   after all was said and done I miraculously got the car finished with 10 minutes to spare! ha-ha!   now it was time to split.  after a hurried goodbye and a quick photo session I was off to LAX fo fly home.  we had to leave early because the traffic is just stupid on the way there at that time of day.  we got lucky with the traffic and even got there early enough to catch an earlier flight!

I’ll have more photo’s of the car when it’s finished.  I got word today that Johnny loved the car and said it was bitchin’!  so, now the pressure’s off!    for now!