Interview: Adam Paul of Time Warp Custom Paint

| March 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

Time Warp StorefrontI’ve heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, but if the storefront of Time Warp Custom Paint is any indication of what to expect here, I’d definitely say you could, and should.

The first time I’d stopped to peek in the window I’d noticed some antique look, or feel, or something to the place, but I didn’t take the time to investigate.  It was late in the evening, and I was just passing by anyway.  When I showed up to do this interview, there was enough light to make me pause.  And pause, and pause some more.

The level of detail I was witnessing was absolutely stunning!  Total sensory overload.  To absorb any one part I had to look at it, then look away, and then back again.  The same spaces kept revealing something new.

It’s not often you get to chat with someone who is truly on the path to mastery.  I hope you enjoy my interview with Adam Paul.

Utah Café Racer: Okay man, give me some background info.
Adam Paul: I came from the automotive industry, so restoring old cars and did some painting there. But from the very beginning I was going to be a paramedic, I was an EMT/Firefighter at one point.
UCR: Wow, really?
AP: I actually gave that all up for airbrushing when I found out that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So, I went to school and got an Associates degree in automotive refinishing at Salt Lake Community College.
UCR: Are you orginally from SLC?
AP: I’m from around the Ogden, Clearfield area.
UCR: Cool, okay.
AP: I took one class down at Salt Lake Community College for airbrushing, it wasn’t part of the automotive collision, and then was just able to combine the two. I started out just doing some normal paint jobs, like flames and things like that, but then I really worked hard at getting my airbrushing skills up and that’s what’s really been paying off.
UCR: Were you one of those kids that could just draw anything, or did you actually have to work at it?
AP: I head to learn.
UCR: So you didn’t have some genius artistic skill already?
AP: Nope, just your average ability. I drew as a kid, but never took it seriously. I wasn’t a kid that couldn’t draw, I just wasn’t interested in it.
UCR: Huh, looking at what you’re doing now I’d thought otherwise.
AP: You know, it’s really about drawing shapes. Drawing is something you can teach yourself to do. When you draw something, you can draw it in a sort of cartoon fashion. But when I draw something, I take it straight from photographs. I can take a picture and then airbrush it on pretty much any canvas; motorcycle, wall, it can be anywhere. For example, I painted Fry Sauce on the side of a bike.
UCR: laughing
AP: You know, on the side of the Utah bike ( see pic ).
Utah Bike Gas Tank with Fry SauceSo, I took a picture of it slowly pouring out, snapped a photo, printed it out, and rendered it by airbrush right then. That’s how I work.
UCR: Cool.
AP: So to give you another example, I’ll have someone send me a picture of a skull and if they’re from out of state I’ll work from that, but otherwise I’ll take a picture of a real skull and then render it into an artwork and then into a graphic.
UCR: Do you do any computer aided stuff?
AP: Yes. Just within the last year I wanted to make it a priority to learn more, so I’ve been studying graphic design using Photoshop and Illustrator. I took some classes here locally at the DATC ( Davis Applied Technology College ) at night. That helped me scratch the surface.Shield
AP: So, this shield here, I took a picture and transferred it into Photoshop and now I’m able to manipulate it and tweak it just how I want, change colors, which is way easier to do on a computer than once you’ve applied some paint to something. Changing from green to blue that way just ain’t gonna happen.
AP: So now I can play with this, and then create color pallets off of that and match colors with what I’m doing on the computer and all of it is layering and texturing, and I’ve got a good understanding of color.
AP: But it’s real experience that is the key. You’ve gotta have that experience with the airbrush, in your hand, experimenting and trying new methods and eventually you’ll begin to develop your own style. I think I’ve yet to really define my own style, so I just keep working at it trying to get my hands in a little bit of everything whenever I have the chance.
UCR: It seems that the majority of what you do is the retro, classics style. Why did you go this route?
AP: Sid ( Dayne ‘Sid’ Stocker see interview ) actually turned me on to it and I just did some experimenting. With the metal flake, I was one of the very first around here doing that and I’m still one of the only ones doing it currently. I found a method that works really well, where I can do intricate design in a lot of different colors because I’ve got experience with transparent candy paint. I’m also really good at running fine line tape. But again, it’s all experience. I do this day in, day out, and just like anyone if you put that kind of effort into something you get good at it. Every day I’m getting better at this.
AP: You’ve got to keep an open mind and be willing to learn something new, especially from someone else. A lot of painters I’ve met will just paint something and then think they’re now a professional painter and that’s all they need. No way man.
UCR: laughing
AP: The really cool thing about the airbrushing world is that we’re all willing to share information. It wasn’t like that 20 years ago, but now if someone really wants to learn, the resources are available.
UCR: Very cool. So, who is your typical customer?
AP: They’re usually from out of state, I’d say about 90% of all the work I do is from out of state. In fact, there is just one job I’ve got currently that is local. Everything else, the other eleven jobs I’ve got right now, are from out of state.
UCR: WOW! No kidding?
AP: I get a lot of customers from Ohio, Missouri, and Florida. But I get quite a bit a work actually from Australia.
UCR: No shit?
AP: Yeah, from any other country it’s Australia I get the most work from. There’s also China and Denmark, but I could go down to Australia right now and I’d totally be set.
UCR: Cool!
UCR: Talk about how you do things on your website.
AP: Okay, on my website I provide instructions on how to do things like how to take your tank off, drain the fuel, and it also has all of my paint schemes. It’s a blog, so it’s really easy for me to maintain. And then I’ve got another blog linked to from my main site where I will post pictures as work is being done. I just take a picture with my phone, post it directly to the blog, it takesfenders me at the most 10 seconds and the customer can right then view the progress on their parts. Plus, they can view progress being made on other people’s parts, and I’ve got everything I’ve done for the last 6 months on there so it’s quite a bit of information.
AP: I get quite a bit of traffic on this site. I could probably do a little more SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ) on my sites, but really if I got any more work than I do now, I have no idea what I’d do.
UCR: You are that busy right now?
AP: Yeah, absolutely.
UCR: Is there anything different, or something you’d rather be doing than this?
AP: Um, yeah. Rockstar.
UCR: laughing
AP: Seriously though, if I wasn’t doing this I’d get into video editing.
UCR: So you’d stay in the art world then?
AP: Yes, definitely. So promotional videos for like YouTube and things like that.
UCR: Okay.
AP: Part of that is because I’ve picked up a camera over the years, so I’m always snapping pictures, especially with my work now. But video, man, there is just something cool about it.
UCR: When I first met you, you’d said you didn’t have a bike at the time, but a hot rod. Do you still have the hot rod now?
AP: Yeah, I tinker with some stuff still. I’ve got a ’54 Ford rat rod, chopped.
AP: I used to ride back when I first met Sid, I had a little 650cc that I’d converted into a bobber, so I did have some background in building bikes, but it was hard to try and do both. I kinda got tied up in doing my truck, and you know I’ve got a wife and two daughters, 11 and 14. They all really like cruising around in it, so it’s something we all get to enjoy.
UCR: Nice!
AP: I do a lot of motorcycle work right now, and that is what definitely pays the bills. I can paint a motorcycle, and I can usually do it in a day. Generally what people want done nowadays I can get it done pretty quick. However, like the Taylor Swift guitar, that took me 25 hours to complete.
Taylor Swift Guitar
UCR: You know man, when you showed me that at AutoRama I was like, “Oh wow, that is incredible!” but I’m far from being a Taylor Swift fan so it was a bit of a leap for me to get over that.
AP: laughing – Yeah, well I’ve got teenage daughters man..
UCR: laughing
AP: .. and dude, I paint skulls every day and stuff that doesn’t matter to teenage girls, but I paint something like that and they’re all about dad now.
UCR: Oh yeah, I can totally understand that.
AP: Yeah, you know; it’s cool, it’s sparkly, and Taylor Swift is ‘in’ right now. If I did Marilyn Monroe, well she’s been done over and over a million times. And too, I like to be able to promote my work to people other than just bikers, you know? It gives me the opportunity to pursue other things, and connect with a larger audience.
UCR: laughing – Makes total sense.
AP: And so, on the north side of this build is that alleyway, and photographers and families are always going down there to take pictures. I’m working on something special right now for over there, so here’s some insider information..
UCR: Oh, you want me not to include this then?
AP: Nah man, this is just something for your readers.
AP: So, there’ll be this huge water faucet that will be gushing out this huge array of color. So, it’ll be on a dark background and just WAM there’ll be all this color coming at you. I’m also going to add some angel wings too.
AP: But I don’t really spend too much time plotting things like this out. I just get an idea, just something simple, paint it, get my hands wet with it, and let it grow from there. I really like getting other peoples’ input on what they could see possible. You don’t have to think of everything yourself, you can just throw an idea out there and watch what happens. Everyone has a different idea, and so this gives me the chance to grow outside of where I’m at and not get stuck or set in any one particular way.
AP: Another example is with the shield. My wife gave a great idea for this upcoming contest..
UCR: Oh, is it a school contest?
AP: … no, it’s with Harley Davidson of Salt Lake City. Every year they put on the South Valley H-D Custom Paint Showdown, and it’ll be happening on May 11th. They invite painters, it’s seven of us this year, and they gives us what to paint on which is the shield here, to create whatever we want on it.  Anyone that shows up will be able to vote for who they think is the best by ballot. Also, from that same card they’ll be entered to win the work they chose at the end of the day, so somebody is gonna go home with a custom painted shield.
UCR: Thanks for your time today man, this was great! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
AP: Well, the only thing I can stress is, it’s one thing to be able to paint well, but it doesn’t matter if your design is crap. See, that’s the thing. There are a lot of airbrush artists that are doing the techniques to get better. It’s just like tattooing, where you’re learning to do the nice blends, and using the right colors because you have an understanding of color theory. The graphics part of it is so important. You’ve got to be able to lay something out and then allow yourself to learn something new from it.
AP: It’s truly the difference between being a good painter and becoming one of the best painters, you have to always keep learning and discovering new techniques. I do the same things over and over; skulls, flames, I’m always doing these things. So I take every job as an opportunity to try something new, and to try to use a different method. There are days when I have nothing but skulls, and I’ll be kinda burnt out on them, so to keep it exciting for me I’ll try and do it first better, then a different way or different method. It might take a little more time to do it like this, and again I’ll bounce it off others, especially my wife because she’ll tell me the truth.

Website: Time Warp Custom Paint

Phone: 801-643-5705

Facebook:  Adam Paul Airbrushing


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