The art of airbrushing: 3 artists

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” — Andy Warhol

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” — Vincent Van Gogh

First ARTIST — Norman Hathaway, airbrushing

. . . . . . . The luscious look of the candy comes through in a way that only airbrushing can present. It is viscous, alive, and gelatinous. The chocolate stands out around the open wound of the candy like solid walls. The chick’s nails are reflective with pure light. This artwork diligently contrasts flesh with substance, as if making a statement about reality itself. The combination of femininity with sweetness is of course sexual in its imagery. The dripping goo is an anthropomorphic rendering of the male ejaculate. She holds it confidently, with openness in her gestures. This airbrushing is a masterwork of the senses, and titillates successfully. It is not surprising that the vertical caption reads “Riding High with the Kings of California Airbrush Art.” Only in California could such a tasty delicacy come to fruition on the static 2-D page, bursting with 3-D life and flavor. Only in California.

Second ARTIST — Philip Castle, airbrushing

. . . . . . . The colors are quite remarkable in this piece. From deep purple to vigorous flesh tones, from dusky white to steel gray, the hues and shades come alive in really unexpected ways. As always with airbrushing, there is a 3-D effect in much of the artwork. The lower left corner demonstrates this with the woman’s cherry-red lips and the sun in the upper center is being eclipsed in a distance-shrinking shot. The eyes are alive. Every angle shows the eyes coming to life in emotional softness or coyness (top woman, then lower woman). This is an even better picture than the Hathaway example, and brings dreams to hard reality.

Third and Final ARTIST — Karel Kopic

. . . . . . . For our last painting, my lovelies, we have the largest screenshot. Look at the metal coloring from the bar just above the PRIVATE label on down. It is ultra-realistic in its capturing of light and shadow. The subject matter — penguins in the driver’s seat — is surreal, but the realism of the airbrushing makes it appear almost ordinary. The airbrushing makes you believe. This largely monochrome painting does not have a wide variety of colors. It’s basically all sepia-toned with little splashes of red on the blushing birds’ faces. The delicacy of the reds interposes itself almost magically in the brownish world of the tour bus. This is one rockin’ band of birds, and they’re on their way to success in a magical mystery bus of Kopic’s creation. As a final note, notice the telephone pole in the upper left. It’s a simple part of the artwork, yet with the crispness of the airbrush, it appears really there. Each “really there” touch redounds to making the penguins the focus of this work. Good job, Mr. Kopic. Good job.


. . . . . . . We can see how the airbrush is used to masterfully camouflage or enhance reality in all its forms. Paradoxically, while at the same time the paintings luxuriate in their 3-D otherworldly effects, they are actually deeply GROUNDED in reality. It is this duality which drives the 3 images I have presented in today’s entry and the takeaway is that a long apprenticeship in airbrushing pays great dividends both for the artist and his viewers.

7 thoughts on “The art of airbrushing: 3 artists

    1. *bowing* You requested art, and I have delivered. This is dedicated to you, John. May your days be filled with sunshine-lined paths and may the rain taste like champagne.

        1. Please, call me CATXMAN. And I’m glad to hear that freedom lies just around the corner for you. It’s a shame how the last year has progressed; often, it seemed as if the gods were laughing cruelly at us poor humans : how else to explain the way dire news seemed to pop back in over and over just when things seemed to brighten up a bit?

          If you have any opinions about this pro blog of mine, please let me know. I’m always looking to improve. Some of my entries (posts) are drier than others; others are born of the need to explore new things. If I learn something new, as I recently did on ecosystems, I’ll write up an entry on it.

          I have to run now. My time here is coming to an end. I’ll be back tomorrow …

  1. I too like that Warhol quote. I’ve always subscribed to letting people judge my work instead of prematurely doing so myself. Thanks for the quick intro to airbrushes!

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