Featured Project: Chapter 9 Bloodsport Charter Fishing Boat
The Boodsport Fishing Charter boat project was an awesome culmination of an idea that seems to have found its time and place to make an impression. As the rise of vehicle wraps has taken most of the custom work that used to belong to airbrush artists and sign artists I started to try to push the idea of creating original airbrush art that could be used for a wrap. It allows for the art to be produced on panels at a smaller scale and a much lower price than what it would cost to paint on the vehicle. Most wraps are produced with clip art or cut and paste imagery. The customer I needed was one who really wanted something unique that wouldn’t be found through any other means than creating something original. The project was perfect for this new process. Mike Davis owner of Bloodsport Charters of Orange Beach Alabama called me about a year and a half ago and said he had seen an image I had painted of flaming Mahi Mahis and that he wanted an original image for his boat that could be make into a wrap. He loved the insane detail of the fish and wanted something with that sort of detail and instead of having skulls in the background he wanted something like the alien from the movie Aliens. The other thing that was going to make this project really nuts was he wanted blood, lots of blood. He said that sport fishing was a bloody sport and that he wanted to portray it the way it is. The background was inspired by the alien concept and was based on the feel of Geiger’s art that created the creature for the movie Aliens. Instead of using his forms I utilized gaffs and fishing reels to create an eerie sort of marine space that the fish were swimming through. This project was crazy complicated and Mike wanted most of the fish in the ocean exploding out of the side of the boat and trying to eat one another. The feeling I was shooting for was controlled chaos and the dynamic feel of a marvel comic novel cover. The true nightmare of this project was creating the blood splatters in a way that really felt like blood splattering. I spent several days splattering red paint on white panels to create shapes to make a stencil from and finally realized that the only way to do it was to mask off all the fish and splatter the paint directly on the panels. This was a ridiculously risky thing to do and I only had one chance to make it work and if it hadn’t about two hundred hours of work would have been destroyed. Fortunately the days of practicing paid off and the bloody effect came off better than I had even hoped for. The panels had to be coated with several coats of intercoat clear and hand sanded down with a paint stick and 600 wet sand paper. The surface had to be flattened out so that the photos wouldn’t pick up reflections from the raised edges. The tricky part of this whole process was that it had to be able to be photographed flawlessly from a surface that is typically very difficult to photograph. For that I depend on the expert skills of Matthew Winghart from Gallery 725 in Atlantic Beach who is a photographic wizard at photographing these panels with such clarity that at times they seem to have more depth and clarity than the originals. The panels were finished, the photos taken, the wrap produced by Fast Signs on Baymeadows, and applied on location by Dave from T&C. It was months before I actually got to see the boat completed because it was about six hours away in Orange Beach Alabama. I submitted images of the panels and a few poor photos of the boat to Marlin Magazine’s gallery edition contest and got a very positive response. In order to get the photos I would need to show how the art really looked on the boat I had to drive to Orange Beach and shoot the photos myself. Mike was very accommodating and although we had to wait several weeks to get the right light to shoot we set out early in the morning, shot for a few hours, and the photos came out brilliantly. I submitted the best of the photos to the magazine and within hours of them being posts the voting for the contest swung dramatically in favor of the Bloodsport boat wrap. It was the first time a boat wrap had been accepted in the contest and during the ten days that the image was up for the contest I received one hundred thousand views on my Airbrush Jax facebook page. It was an amazing culmination of a project that set out to put my work in front of the sport fishing industry. The publication of Marlin Magazine featured the art with a two page presentation that presented the work exceptionally well.
A Little About Me…
My name is David Webster and I am an airbrush artist with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in oil painting and 33 years of Customizing experience with the airbrush. I currently teach at the Art Institute of Jacksonville as a Fine Arts foundations instructor. I first started custom painting on T-shirts in 1978 at a resort poolside in Daytona Beach, Florida while I was attending art school. Most of my custom work has been award winning designs that have won contest from coast to coast. The most recent project to win notoriety was the Scion Battle of the Builds winner custom Scion that was featured at SEMA is Las Vegas. The car featured a giant squid wrapped around the Scion that was painted with over a thousand rivets to create the feel of the nautilus submarine on a Scion. Images of the car can be seen on my Facebook site airbrush jax.
The foundation for my airbrush art is a compelling design, vivid color, and realistic detail. I have developed an airbrush style that is a balance between freehand methods and what I call loose stencils to create very fluid natural looking images. It allows me to keep the fluidity in my work and achieve the crisp quality of masking without having to apply frisket style masks throughout most of the process. To the untrained eye it might not make a big difference but to anyone with an eye for quality the difference is the sense of realism verses a contrived looking image. One of the things that separate my work from other airbrush artists is my ability to create my own imagery and not be tied to copying photographic images. I will use reference to enhance a sense of realism without losing the ability to manipulate the forms abstractly to achieve the emotive impact I am working towards.
The Bull Mahi is a finished drawing that is a study for a more complex composition I am working on. In this piece I tried to perfect the sense of realism in a form that was a compilation of several different images. I wanted to get a clear feel for the tones with this piece and found a renewed appreciation for the way graphite rendering helps to resolve those issue was perfect clarity.