A BRIEF HISTORY OF CUSTOM PAINTING
Custom painting can be described in a number of ways. It is most easily defined as a one-of-a-kind painted artwork that is different to everyone else’s paint work where regular solid colours or normal colours are not pleasing enough to the eye. There are many different forms of custom painting that add a totally new dimension to a vehicle’s visual excitement where literally millions of colour combinations can be made.
The explosion of custom painting started way back in 1967 and the custom king was a California based craftsman called George Barris who made a number of unique cars for the Munster TV Series. These crazy concepts like the Gold Pearl in Munster Frag-U-La model plus the Munster coffin car led the way forward to other special builds like the Batmobile along with the Beach Boys Hot Rods. The trend took off for metal flake, Candy Apple paint and other glow pigments.
As usual, the paint companies were playing catch-up with the demand for shimmering pearls flip-flop coatings and Candy Apple coatings now needed by artistic custom painters to complete and ply their craft.
For the next development, Metal Flake Inc, the US paint maker introduced a full line-up of pearl and Candy Apple colours in 1975 which were stable on the vehicle for colours fading in direct sunlight. However, the American twin pack topcoats were notorious for wrinkling up on recoating causing many attempted re-do’s which painters did not like in any shape, manner or form. You have to realise custom painting is often an exercise where you are working backwards all the time against the standard form of refinishing techniques and failures are a common outcome as a project moves forward for even the smartest painter.
The man who solved much of the car paint delamination and intra-coat adhesion problems of inter-coat adhesion was passionate custom painter John Kosmaski who developed House of Colours custom brands Kamelian colour which change colours on the angle of view with prismatic pearl base colours. Eventually John’s brand was absorbed by Valspar and other international paint makers like BASF, Axalta and many more adapted these stand out visual trend colours which are available across the globe today.
As often as not custom painters use a barrage of special low and high-pressure spray guns along with concentrated efforts of a small set of double action air brushes. The delicate delivery of low pigmentation coverage pearl paints, with extended translucent colours coats film builds are often in excess of 400 microns and don’t take too well with constant exterior exposure. Custom painters soon learnt not to rush the process while they were developing a designer respray on any custom work. They also never get tired of using up to six layers of colours topped off with wet look clearcoats.
The custom painter of today is spoilt for choice with up to approximately 60 toners available to carry out air brush designs, and Candy Apple application. Final finishing and specialist polishing ranges are now readily available in today’s diversified coatings market for special effect finishes