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!