Gallery>> The Art Of Pinstriping

As many of you already know, the art of pinstriping is very much connected to hot rod culture. Back in the day, before it was commonplace to use die cut vinyl plotters for making stickers for cars, people used to take their cars to have their favorite designs pinstriped – hand painted onto the cars! This being said, pinstriping became popular for putting numbers, sponsor names, racing stripes, and other designs onto cars… and even made it to the helmets of the drivers.

Up above, I was able to get a photo of celebrity pinstripe artist "Wildman" from Mooneyes Japan hard at work. Mooneyes flew Wildman in to the show to do custom pinstriping and artwork for people who dropped off items at the Mooneyes booth. I saw him working all weekend long, creating custom painted artwork on "Moon Disc" hubcaps, which were used as trophies for the winners of the car show and drag events.

Based in Yokohama Japan, Wildman is a famous artist, known in the Japanese custom car scene for his lettering and pinstriping work for Mooneyes and Japan's Daytona Magazine.

Walking around the vendor area, I also saw pinstriping being used on non-automotive applications, like this woman's handbag being painted by Jimmy C! Pretty cool looking if you ask me! When I asked some of the artists what type of things people normally ask them to pinstripe… many of them scratched their heads, listing off lots of random things, from bowling balls to helmets to toolboxes to cameras to cellphones, and even toilet seats!

I thought this guy right here had some pretty cool pinstriping style, based on some of the work he did on helmets and motorcycle fuel tanks, and I even got his contact info for future reference, but for some reason I can't find it right now! Damn, where did I put the card?! I don't even remember his name.

Here's some artwork Wildman created for Mooneyes Sweden this year! I didn't even know they had a branch out there… apparently they have an annual Rat Fink Reunion over there!

Speaking of which, you can't really talk about vintage lettering and pinstriping without mentioning Ed Roth… his famous Rat Fink character and cartoony artwork is very much a part of the nostalgic hot rod scene. Not my style though, it's a bit too busy for my taste.

Hell yea, these old school open face helmets are dope! I think they were at a booth called Vintage Klass or something.

More vintage pinstriped helmets! Anyone of my real-life friends can tell you I'm not fond of the color "light blue," but just look at the awesome light blue satin finish + bone-colored pinstriping combo on the right!!! Sooo cool! And what's up with the old school Bell helmet on the left, with the old school arrows and courteous message on the front! I think my homie Kenta from Tokyo Drive Productions definitely needs a helmet like that when he's driving his super slammed S13 on the streets of Japan! The helmet in the middle, I'm thinking Chris Forsberg needs one of those…

Check out the artwork being applied to the back of this lowrider truck… (in case you were wondering, no, the artist isn't airbrushing a picture of the same burgundy truck on a hill, with a lake and a bunch of hot hynas walking around it…) well, actually, he was putting images of girls on the back of the truck, but at least he didn't paint a picture of the truck on the truck's rear gate!

Our friend Travis Hodges managed to snap a photo of some webbed pinstriping being carefully applied to the trunk of this car…

Notice how the pinstriper uses the entire flat edge of the brush to create his perfectly symmetrical lines… not "just the tip!"

With all this stuff happening around me, and with me being a person who appreciates fine automotive artwork, I decided to ask Wildman if I could get him to do some pinstriping and lettering on my plain-jane looking black helmet. I explained that this was a new, SA-rated Impact Racing helmet, but I wanted it to have a bit of that "vintage style" that I like so much. He asked me what colors I like, and I told him that the helmet had a yellow kevlar flame retardant strip around the eye port, and on the chinstrap, so maybe something gold and white would look cool. I also explained that I really liked some of the old hot rod helmets that had big graphic designs on the side; I wasn't too keen on having pinstriped spider webs on my helmet. That may be cool for some people, but it just isn't my style.

Wildman just laughed, and said, "okay, okay" and asked me to come back later in the day to pick up the finished helmet.

So I walked off with my camera gear, shooting the rest of the cool stylish cars and people at the show… but luckily for me, Travis kept coming back to the Mooneyes booth to take photos of Wildman's progress as he worked on my helmet!

Here's the work-in-progress just as he was painting the side of my helmet, and applying some gold foil-type stuff within the area he painted. I didn't expect that; I just expected him to use gold paint, so it was a cool surprise! You gotta see my helmet in person, the treatment he gave it looks COOL! I think it looks way better than it did at the beginning of the day (see the first photo, where the helmet was just normal and gloss black.)

Here's Wildman's brush in action, as he was putting the finishing touches on the side graphic of the helmet. There's white paint outlining the gold foil material on the side, and then speeding Japanese katakana characters on the back, painted on with bone-colored (cream) paint. Can anyone read what it says? =)

Here's the left side of the helmet, with the completed gold foil and bone colored pinstriping and lettering. I think it looks super cool! Big thanks to Wildman for doing the graphics on my helmet. I love it!

-Antonio Alvendia

MORE Speedhunters coverage from the Mooneyes 2008 events!



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

pinstriping is awsome. Love the helmet, makes me think of the dragster helmets in the 50's and 60's. Come to think of it........i think an AE86 would look sick with some subtle stripes


aww, you got your name, that's cute :p


It says ANTONIO. By the way he did a good job on your helmet.


Damn you for making me think.....I first read the katakana "asotonio" then I realized im an idiot.


it says "Antonio" on the back! sick!


btw awesome article! it's great to see the artform is still alive and well in the day of ready-made CNC vinyls


nive art work !!!


Sweet helmet dude.

The katakana spells your name, A-N-TO-NI-O.


Cool Work, I`m like this!!!!

Ol Skool forever!!!


Cover Rat Fink reunion please!


I've always wanted to learn how to pinstripe. Amazing works of art. BTW, Sweden and a lot of other European countries seem to have a big interest in old skool cars and motorcycles. Just pick up nearly any chopper magazine and see how many Swedish bikes are in it.


Sizzle: when's the rat fink reunion? Lemme know, I'm down! I think we need to see Speedhunters at Billetproof too! Rod told me I should have gone this year, but I didnt get a chance to... next year, I don't wanna miss it!

Thanks guys! Wow I guess alot of people can read katakana! Damn, thats cool!

Bobberz: Ya know... I found out Mooneyes sells a book by Wildman, and it's translated into English. It's a pinstriping "How To" book! You should check it out man! I'm seriously thinking of buying one too. I just love pinstriping and stencil work and stuff like that!


Maybe Jeroen can cover Sweden's Rat Fink Reunion next year? That would be cool!


Anyway on the 10th pic the scheme is really not symetric. As I cant see the whole design maybe its on purpose but on this close shot it looks a bit "wrong".


Definitely an amazing art. One I hope is never lost!


I don't usually like pinstriping, but hell yes, their work is awesome, and I also like what Wildman did to your helmet!


That helmet came out awesome, I want one!

Great coverage too, really some neat stuff.


Nice fool! I've been striping for a year, come on by and i'll stripe some shit for you!


damnnn tight! im gonna hit you up after New Year's Taiki! I live closer to you now too!


Antonio! I'm glad you decided to go for the helmet instead of your toilet seat! ha ha ha. The results are amazing. I love the gold leaf treatment. I am good friends with one of the most famous and respected pinstripers in the industry, Dennis Ricklefs. Let me know when you wanna get that AE86 striped or gold leafed.


nice. i love how that helmet turned out. great coverage as well. wish i have one of his works. heh.

somehow.. somehow, that very first picture of wildman reminds me of yasuyuki kazama. XD


yeahh!! that's what I was saying too! Wildman DOES look like Kazama!!!


I thought this guy right here had some pretty cool pinstriping style, based on some of the work he did on helmets and motorcycle fuel tanks, and I even got his contact info for future reference, but for some reason I can't find it right now! Damn, where did I put the card?! I don't even remember his name.

The guy with holding the red helmet, did you ever remenber his name or found his card.

Love the work too!!!


FYI, the guy you're trying to figure out the name is Sonny. Here's his info: