A wise man once told me, I should pass on what I've learned,or It will die with me. He was also the same man that taught me much of what I know about this art form called, Pinstriping. He was passing his knowledge on so it would live on beyond him. This past weekend I attended the L.A.National Roadster Show.I spent some time striping next to one of our business' icons, Tom Kelly. The man has a multitude of talents beyond mere pinstriping.. He turned to me at one point and asked "How long did it take you to learn to stripe"? Well I've never really considered myself as a master of that little brush, but as that wise man also said "I may not be the best striper, but I can hold my own with most of them. Without a lot of thought ,I answered Tom,"I'm still learning". He looked at me, smiled, and said "That's the right answer" . I've met Mr. Kelly at several events that I've been to, but never really knew him more than to just say ,Hi. After a couple days I recalled the whole event and wondered what made him ask me that question. Just like my wise man It was his way of testing me. To find out how serious I was about my art form.. Both men were cut from the same cloth.Tom Kelly's grandfather was the Barron, Partner of my wise man way back in his early days. I could just see the Barron saying that same thing to him. With Tom, I felt like I had had another episode with the wise man. I learned a lot from him. Not just about how to load a brush, or do a script stroke, but also about the business, people, and life in general. The real kicker is that I didn't know that I was learning all that, till years later when the wise man was gone. After thinking about it, I've learned many things from watching Mr. Kelly. The times I've been around him, he's been very open ,working and sharing his skills with those who want to pay attention. The value of what has been passed to me makes me realize I have an obligation to use it to the best of my ability. I've been involved in the custom paint thing for more than 30 years. I've met a lot of artists in that time. Good ones, and not so good ones. Some with a lot of talent and others that try very hard. The ones that have my deepest respect are the ones that are serious about being better artists .There are those that just want to crank out the money. Don't get me wrong, I'm a diehard capitalist but, the best pinstripers are the ones with a passion for their art, not money. If your a good one the money will come. Not that you are going to get rich doing this but, you can make a respectable living and to me the perks of selfemployment out weigh the negatives. I love what I do, and I thank the wise man for helping me be able to do that. I can't pay back, but, by passing it on , I can do what another man I respect, said to do..Pay forward..
Here we are at the recent Rat Fink Reunion, having a striping seminar..