Interview with Henriette Murdoch – 2018 International Airbrush Competition

In the last of our 2018 International Airbrush Competition interviews, we have a doubleheader! Henriette Murdoch was joint 3rd place in the Fine Arts (Fantasy) category with her entry: “Little Mermaid”. Being mostly self-taught, she has managed to make airbrushing her profession, doing both realistic and fantasy works which are amazing! Read about how this entry came about and also be sure to check out more of her work in the links at the end of the interview!

Little Mermaid a

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 was like for you?

Henriette Murdoch (HM): My name is Henriette Murdoch and I’m from South Africa. I obtained my diploma in Graphic Design and started my career as an animator. I moved onto airbrushing in 2000. This was in the days before Youtube, so I had to learn the art of airbrushing by trial and error. I found an old motorbike tank for my first attempt at airbrushing, but used totally wrong paints. It did however give me a foot in the door to finding more work.

 

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?

HM: My entry is based on a photo that I took of my daughter, Robin, at an aquarium. I like to airbrush fantasy work and my daughter loves mermaids, so I thought it would be a perfect combination for an artwork of her as a mermaid.

 

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?

HM: Since 2000, airbrushing has become a huge part of my life. I started an airbrush business, ‘Tankgirl Airbrush Art ‘, in that year. While airbrushing is my bread and butter it remains my passion. For my commercial work the client will provide a reference of the design, and I’ll work with that until he is happy with the presentation. For my personal artwork I like taking a realistic photo and transforming it into a fantasy work.

 

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

HM: I present airbrush classes and my goal is to teach students, especially those who’ve never handled an airbrush before, to create something that they never thought was possible.

 

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

HM: My favorite surface for airbrushing  is chromadeck since it is super fine and easy to fix any mistakes.

 

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

HM: I would describe my style as ‘realistic with a touch of fantasy’.

 

S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?

HM: My advice to a beginner starting airbrushing is to research the materials they are about to use. I’ve found that a lot of beginners have given up because of wrong materials. And of course watch Youtube – there are so many good demonstrations and tips to be found.

 

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

HM: I have posted some of my work on Facebook under ‘Tankgirl Airbrush Art’. https://www.facebook.com/TankGirlAirbrushArt/

Interview with Rene Mattei – 2018 International Airbrush Competition

In the last of our 2018 International Airbrush Competition interviews, we have a doubleheader! Rene Mattei was joint 3rd place in the Fine Arts (Fantasy) category with his entry: “Beast and the Beauty”. An artist by profession, he runs his own studio and has a wealth of experience in the industry as a whole. Drawing on this, Rene gives a candid interview about his inspirations and journey, along with great advice to beginners. Check out more of his works and business with the links at the end of the interview!

Beast & the Beauty

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 was like for you?

Rene Mattei (RM): I have always been connected to art since I was a child and all through my time in school.

Shortly after High School I decided to attend the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver, and after a year soon found that I was intrigued with the designing aspects and classes, but the rest of the education was not stimulating me with the skill sets I knew I wanted to pursue.

My journey with the airbrush began about 15 years ago.  I was good with pen and ink, acrylic and oil paints.  Airbrushing was such a new dynamic tool to learn.  It took about 2 to 3 solid years to learn the essential control of painting, and I began playing with different setups of brushes, compressors, and colors.  After that, I began to dive into the multiple effects you can achieve with an airbrush.  I also really like the soft feel of the painting the airbrush can produce.

At this beginning stage, I was watching a lot of tutorial videos, which there weren’t many at the time, so I was pretty much pulling from any source that provided me with growing as an artist in this medium.

I worked for a tier 1 paint company for one of the more well-known motorcycle companies for 8 years as a graphic supervisor/ lead airbrush artist, providing paint schemes for the motorcycle industry.  From there I got to dig deep into the paint and graphics effects, and progressed into solid production techniques and skills, project deadlines, and working with others to get the finished product bikes out to the industry.

After 8 years I had enough confidence to break away from a very well paid supervisor position to pursue my personal goals as an independent artist.  Together with my wife’s, family, friends, and many others support; I made the decision to open up my own airbrush design and paint studio, located in Broomfield, Colorado.  Rival Airbrush Studios has been my passion for the last 5 years.  I am involved with every stage of the process of the business.  I Provide custom designs,…etc Most importantly it affords me the time and freedom to grow and progress with my personal creative interests; to further my personal development as an artist.

 

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?

RM: The origin of the piece came from the tale of little red riding hood. I wanted to bring forth the beauty and usefulness of the female form, and play with the dynamic of Little Ride Riding hood as an empowered woman. The open wounds on the skin express the energy within, and the vibrant red cloak brings out her sexuality and warmth against the cold, dark blue and black surroundings.  The necklace ties the relationship between the two main portrayed characters.  It’s left to the viewer to decide what type of connection exists.

I chose this piece to play with many different values of designing a more fine art piece.  I had a vision of soft vs hard values, different textures, environmental settings, the straight forward ferocity of the wolf vs. the head turned away softness of the women.  I also knew I wanted it to be a night setting; cold and dark, mysterious, scary, clawing trees… the mysterious moon; the cool blue of the night.. these all served as a perfect background to really bring forward the soft, sensual, exotic nature of the women in vibrant red.

 

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?

RM: Airbrushing means so many different things to me in my life. The most important of them is the joy I get when expressing my creativity, the visual language I put out into the world.  It’s a tool that allows me to express my creativity, to constantly achieve and define my artistic talents.  The Airbrush allows me to achieve certain results I could not get from other mediums.  There are so many elements that I can play with to achieve the finished artwork.  I like the colors, the fluency of the paint and the process of applying it…I like the finished look and feel of the art created with an airbrush.  I have over the years developed a style with this medium that fits my workflow.

I draw from a wide pool of inspiration.  From Magazines, Comicbooks, Digital art, movies, other artists, basically any media that has emotional and visual content.  The artist that have been most influential in my progression as an artist is HR. Giger, Salvador Dali, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vellos…Just to name a very few.

 

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

RM: My goals are to continue progressing in my craft. I will continually strive to create value for my work and to grow Rival; my studio, business and brand.  Airbrushing has opened many paths for me to constantly explore, evolve my techniques, and to continue to evolve my style as an independent artist

 

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

RM: I have airbrushed on a multitude of surfaces and just depends on what a client brings to me. From Cars to Motorcycles, murals, helmets, flat surfaces ranging from wood, steel, aluminum, and cardboard.  My favorite surface is a nice flat, aluminum surface, but I am just as confident working on curved or multi-angled surfaces.

 

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

RM: Many have told me I have my own style. I like to use a lot of deep, rich, sometimes flashy colors schemes.  I do a lot of female forms, I really like horror and darker themes as well.

 

S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?

RM: Advice for artist starting with airbrush, would be to be patient with developing your skills. Work on the fundamentals.  Go online and search for videos, there is now plenty of online tutorials that are great for continual references.  Be patient with what you can achieve.   It’s all about repetition of fundamentals in the beginning.

 

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

RM: At this time I have two Facebook pages that I frequently update. They are Rival Airbrush Studio community, and Rival Airbrush Studio Business.  I have a website that is currently in the works, so to speak, but nothing that has been posted to the net.

https://www.facebook.com/Rivalairbrushstudio/

https://www.facebook.com/Rival-Airbrush-Studio-1401383746746875/

Interview with David Lopez – 2018 International Airbrush Competition

Our next interview is with David Lopez, who placed third in the Hobby / Model category in the 2018 Competition with his awesome Snowboard entry! A versatile artist that likes to continue to challenge himself and learn, he has created art on various surfaces and numerous projects. He also gives some great advice to beginners in our candid interview with him. Also be sure to check out his other works on his website and social media at the end of the interview!

Snowboard BB double sparmax contest

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 was like for you?

David Lopez (DL): I started Airbrushing after seeing some of Dru Blair, Luis Royo & Sajime Sorayama’s beautiful work. It quickly made me realize how unique and challenging Art would be, so I learned by myself and with the help of online videos / tutorials, followed by hours and hours of practice. Even today, I still spend a lot of time learning / applying techniques.

 

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?

DL: The piece I selected was not only a “paint” challenge but also a “repair” challenge, being a bit damaged. The satisfaction one gets, after completing both manipulations is unique. I chose it mainly for being a bigger design and its challenging aspect at that time. It took approximately 10 hours to do (prep + paint)

 

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?

DL: Airbrushing, or simple sketching transports me to a very peaceful “place”, and allows me to actually relax and reflect. It drains out the stress and stimulates the brain ! I find inspiration in composite Photography, digital art, and mythology. I’ve always been fascinated by “warriors”, and mythological characters, gods, symbols. Anything with strong visual impact attracts me, as an Artist.

 

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

DL: My main goal is to grow as an Artist, learn more and more every single time I pick up my Airbrush gun, and to ALWAYS stay humble in the process. Oh ! and to win, or place in the top three in a contest ! (wink)

 

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

DL: I do not prefer any surface, but I’ve been challenged by round surfaces (helmets & tanks), and by skin (Body art) over the years. As far as an actual “material”, I would have to say that a good old flat metal panel is very nice to work on, after proper preparation. But nothing beats a beautiful Bodypainted model ! (hehe)

 

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

DL: I would like for people to see me as a versatile Artist who uses a variety of tools, and who can handle many techniques. I do not want to be categorized by the public, or by other Artists. I wish to be able to paint a huge range of styles, from simple to complex designs. The harder, the more rewarding it is in the end.

 

S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?

DL: Equipment is important to an extent, but Observation and practice are the two main keys ! Observe, study, practice … promote your work yourself, knock on doors, impose your style and don’t take “no” for an answer. Be polite, but let people know that if Airbrushing was “easy”, everybody or anybody would do it. Your hard work and its uniqueness has a value !

 

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

DL: My website is : aztec-arts.com and you can also find me on Facebook (Aztec Arts) and Instagram (aztec_arts) … please don’t hesitate if you have any questions or projects ! I’m in Canada right now, but I would love to travel for concepts and contracts. Thanks and congratulations to other participants, and SPARMAX & sponsors for this beautiful opportunity !