I have been airbrushing and painting since I was a 14 year old kid, I was heavy into eighties airbrush work that I saw in the big car and bike magazines like Streetmachine, Hotrod, Easy rider and In the Wind.
Somehow I aquired a book published by the paint brand Metalflake. The art of custom painting, it explained all the cool custom painting techniques. Cobwebbing, freak drops, lace painting, gold leaf and so on. I have been hooked ever since. It showed paintwork by legends like Ron Finch or Carl Caiati.
The paint they used was impossible to buy over here but still I copied a lot of that work.
After many years without a decent place to paint I bought a house with a big workshop downstairs about 15 years ago. Needless to say I picked up where I left off an strarted painting again. I started to get heavy into Triumph Motorcycles and next to painting, I started building bikes an still doing psychofreakaliscious paintworks under the name Gecko-Kustoms. I have a heated and filtered paint booth now and a fully kitted out bike workshop.
I am always trying out new things, figuring out stuff and reverse engineering old and new paint techniques. That’s what keeps things interesting for me. Puting out the same flake jobs over and over again is not for me. It is hard, it is a statisfying process but it can also be a pain. Things go wrong. The art of custom painting is more the ability to fix mistakes than anything else. Custom painters use twenty coats of acrylic clearcoat that is supposed be used for two layers max. Working with deadlines calls for minimal drying time and fast work. Accidents waiting to happen. Sanding stuff takes up the most time of the whole process, sand, prep, sand, prime, sand, lay flakes, sand, clear, sand, clear, sand, clear, sand, clear, sand, clear and so on. Most of the time I have no fingerprints…
When I first saw pictures of Paint work by Tom Fugle I was intrigued. How the hell is that done? I have been trying to figure out his Multispectral Iridescent for years.
Chopper god Tom Fugle (the guy in the pic) died in 2016 and I think he took the secret to his grave..
I have tried all kinds of iridescent car wrap films and nothing came close. After talking to a journalist friend of Tom who has seen his work up close I got a lead, it is burried under tons of clear and it looks like tin foil. Not much to go by. After days of searching online for other materials to try out and many experiments I think I finaly cracked it. It’s a crazy process that even involves fire!!
After finishing this tank I took it to the Choppertown Sideshow in Germany. The bike mag journalist that knew Tom looked at it closely an confirmed, “You have cracked it, this is the same stuff”
I was super stoked but now what? I decided to make another one. But would I ever do this much work for a client?
The amount of clearcoat and the many many hours of sanding would make it crazy expensive.
I have no idea how good the paint adhesion is or how durable this stuff is. The end result is impossible to predict, when ‘firing’ in the colors it is impossible to control….. Another milestone for me, super cool to crack the code, but dodgy as fuck. Like most showbike stuff..