Interview with Josh Mackay – 2018 International Airbrush Competition

This next interview is with Josh Mackay, who placed 2nd in the Fine Art (Fantasy) category of our 2018 competition with his entry: Yoda, done with UV paint! Josh started airbrushing not so long ago and does it as a creative outlet outside of his job. Read about how he continues to set higher goals and targets for himself to learn and also his tips for beginners to get started! Also check out his other works in the links at the end of the interview!

Sparmax (S): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your background? When did you start airbrushing and what was the learning process like for you?

Josh Mackay (JM): I started airbrushing around 4 years ago through a local airbrush course in Melbourne-Australia, I was personally taught by Laurent Machado who is an incredible airbrush artist. The process was structured and intensive, frustrating at times (which you need to push through to see results) but I can say for sure that I would be nowhere near the level I am without the training.


S: Can you tell us a bit more about your winning entry piece? How / why did you choose it? How long did it take, and what inspired you?

JM: I purchased some Wicked UV glow paint and decided something with a lightsaber in it would be appropriate. I decided on Yoda as I had the reference image on my phone as a future piece to paint, so it was the perfect time with the UV glow.  It took less than 10 hours over a week or so (finding time between work and other commitments) which included setting up/packing up and my usual procrastination.


S: What does airbrushing mean to you and what drives your passion for airbrushing and creating art? Also, how do you find the ideas for your other works?

JM: Airbrushing is my creative outlet, I’m an Engineer by day in a corporate environment. If I were to airbrush for my day job, I would want to be doing automotive work, I don’t really have experience in that area yet, but I think that would be my driving force.  The ideas just come from finding cool pictures that I think I would enjoy painting, I never put that much thought into it, I just make sure I enjoy it.


S: What are your goals / targets for airbrushing? What do you want to achieve?

JM: To learn more about airbrushing in colour which is a weakness, I haven’t spent much time on it. To push my detail and realism further.  Then finally work on the speed that I can produce an artwork without procrastinating which is another issue I have.


S: Do you specialize or prefer to work on a specific surface?

JM: Hard surfaces are the best. But I mostly paint on paper and canvas as most customers prefer them.


S: How would you describe your style(s) in airbrushing?

JM: My paintings need to look like my reference, it bugs me when they are too different.


S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?

JM: When you’re frustrated, walk away, take a break then come back, frustration means you’re about to learn something. Go and learn about the relationship between paint reduction/paint thickness and your psi settings, I notice a lot of beginners have issues here.


S: Do you have a website or blog? How can people reach you on social media?

JM: Instagram: @artworkbyjosh and Facebook:


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