Archive for March, 2011

This is tough time for my fellow artists for sure.  I’ve just about seen it all from my humble beginning in my parents’ tiny basement, to owning my own shop and having employees.

I got my start in the sign business painting MDO signs, and lettering trucks. I even did a little pinstriping on the side. After a couple of years, I had a customer tell me “you need to paint motorcycles in Laconia.” The Laconia, NH motorcycle rally is one of the oldest in the country. I knew nothing about working out on the road, but it sounded like fun so i agreed to check it out.  I found out what I needed to work the rally: I needed a license from the state- Check, needed supplies- Check, needed a place to work… uh? Ok… where do the pinstripers work?   Now I needed to do some recon for a good place to set up!  So I headed up to where the rally took place, and drove around, asked questions, and finally found a place to work.  I made a deal with the owner of a motel and was to set up in his parking lot for the rally.

Now at the time, I had never worked outdoors, and didn’t realize that I’d need a tent to work out of… DUH!   So I had to set up with a card table my paint and brush box little banner and photo album… minus a tent. In the sun. In the wind….with no TENT!  AND did I mention I was on a budget, and I had to sleep there in the parking lot in my 72 Nova?  talk about working in the trenches!  But it all worked out!  I made more that weekend than I had the previous month painting signs!  I liked this!   Now I had to buy a tent!  Welcome to road doggin’!  When I was there painting and getting one hell of a sunburn, (because I  HAD NO TENT!) I was invited to attend other rallies around New England.  There are several all over the the country, all summer, but I had to learn to pick and choose which ones where worth going to, and which ones would cost you more to attend than I’d make.

It was hard work, and the traveling sucked till you got there, and then you had to drive all the way back.  But it was fun, you got to see the country and meet all kinds of people, the good the bad and the …strange! Hahaha!  I have met some life long friends out on the road.  It was working on the rally circuit where I learned to work fast!  Time was money out there, and the faster you could get this job done well and get paid for it, the sooner the next customer could come in.  My tent was like a McDonald’s drive thru!

After working on the road for several years, I left the circuit to pursue a career in airbrushing! So I folded up the tent and got a shop. It was nice to not be working out in the heat, rain, wind, and drunks! Lol!

I have to tell you, I love working in my own shop surrounded by some really cool artwork! I have television, food, music, a paint booth, comfortable couches and more.  It really feels like I’m working at home here.  I love what I do so much, that it doesn’t feel like a job, and I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything.  I sometimes miss being a road dog, traveling to tourist locations, and seeing new sights, but I get over it soon enough.

I learned a lot about work, gained speed, and learned a lot about people in general.  It was hard work, good money, and was full of adventure.  And I wouldn’t go back if you asked me to!  But I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

Just a few days ago I was confronted with a question from somebody on my KILLERPAINT Facebook page. Well, it wasn’t really a question it was more like a sideways statement or accusation.  You see here’s the deal-io.  I put up a post to my fans about me doing affordable custom one off pieces of art on aluminum panels to see if they’d be interested in purchasing them.

Well this one guy comes on there and say’s “Mike must be hard up or work must be slow for him to be doing this”  and that kind of pissed me off !    who is this guy to be saying such a thing?  was he another painter? a fan? who?   and why would he say such a thing?  granted it has effected my automotive custom business but it hasn’t touched my fine art business.  One door closes and another one opens my grandmother used to say!

Lets be honest, this nasty economy has taken a giant bite out of everybody who is in this businesses ass!  and the same goes for me here! I’m being honest here. BUT I am not curling up and going away.  NOPE!    I have lots of avenues to explore to fill in the void in the automotive custom trade.  I’ve started my new SKELEBRITIES  brand of fine art, I’ve made partners with toy companies, as well as offering my fans original pieces of artwork that they can own.   I’m also working with somebody in the funeral business to custom paint and personalize final rest items.

you see I’m not JUST a car painter and I’m not JUST a motorcycle artist NO!  I’m an artist that can apply my work to many items as well as license original artwork on many items from T-shirts to die cast cars to figurines and much much more.

people are frustrated that their business is lacking and I totally understand but always remember this,  “Whenever you point your finger at someone there’s ALWAYS three fingers pointing back at you!”

to survive this mess you all have to be sharks, always moving. keep looking for new opportunities , create new things.   When I was busy painting everything that moved I didn’t have the time to develop the ideas  I had. now, I have more time to explore them plain and simple!