Lest We Forget: artwork by Dion Rendle.

This artwork is on the back of a truck. It commemorates the truck owners grandfather and great grandfather. I originally tried to hand cut the stencils for the lettering on the aircraft, but they were not good enough to produce a result that could be enlarged for the digital print. So we computer cut the stencils.

This is an article about Dion Rendle and one of his recent artworks, “Lest We Forget”. This article really throws up interesting issues about being a commercial airbrush artist.

Dion went pro about 3 years ago. When I asked him what the difference was between being an amateur and a professional, he said . . .

When I was an “amateur” I airbrushed as much as I could, but life really got in the way of my art. While being a commercial airbrush artist comes with a long list of problems, the biggest change is simply the fact that I am airbrushing full time . . . and I love it. I love it so much that I am willing to put up with all the problems of commercialising my art.

I masked off the plane and his grandfather. I painted the poppies using loose stencils and freehand airbrushing. I started dark and built everything using negative space texturing. The sky and flag was surprisingly straight forward. I built all the layers of the sky with vapour trails, sunset, clouds, etc and than simply added the flag ripples and the pale silhouette of the Union Jack over the top.

The owner of the truck wanted an artwork / digital print on the back of his truck showing his grandfather and great grandfather and their legacy. He originally went to a signwriting firm and asked them to create a collage of photos and then print it big enough for the back of his truck.

The signwriters could not get photos that were high enough resolution to be able to print the image to fit the truck. Not only that but they didn’t know how to create photoshop montage concepts – the whole thing was outside of what they normally did.

The owner came to me with five photos and asked me to come up with an artwork. He initially asked me to airbrush the artwork on the back of his truck. But when I told him that it would have to be off the road for 5 days, he said that he couldn’t afford to do that. So he then had the idea, of getting me to create the artwork and then get the sign firm to create a large digital print of it . . . that they would be able to stick on to the truck in an hour.

Adding the soldier silhouette at the end was a bit stressful because there was no way of correcting any mistakes. It had to be spot on the first time. If I had made a mistake, I would have had to repaint the background and then redo the soldier. I used a dark green (not black) to give the image that aged look.

I was a little bit nervous about this idea. I knew that if the artwork was going to be enlarged on a digital print that it would have to be very carefully done with no little stroke out of place.

The owners of the truck is very happy. He gave the artwork to his father as a gift and also got a digital print of the artwork.

The substrate is mdf with a frame on the back that makes it look like it is a canvas. This is an involved process, because I have to fill the edges between the frame and front panel with bog and sand and prime it. All very industrial and messy. I did the artwork all with automotive basecoats. I used to be a car spraypainter. I stopped because I didn’t want to be an old “car painter”.

For the lettering, we used a vinyl cutter to cut out a stencil for the lettering, using normal sign vinyl. Normal sign vinyl can be very hard to get off it is stays on too long. I put it on gently, sprayed the lettering and got the vinyl off only 5 minutes later.

I don’t know how to use Photoshop either. I simply projected the aircraft onto the board, then the flag and then the soldier. I just built the artwork layer by layer.

At the end I applied a matt 2K clear over it. Being an ex spray painter this is quick and easy for me. This seals it all off well enough to survive a coffee spill. It actually makes the artwork look much better.

I usually don’t like any of the artworks that I do. I usually only see the mistakes. But I like this artwork – a bit. It is not until I see other people’s super positive reactions to my artworks when I start to feel better about them. A fresh pairs of eyes on the artwork can be helpful. After you have been looking at the same artwork for days, you struggle to see how it really looks as a finished artwork.

Thank you to Dion Rendle for taking the time to send me the photos and talk through the long interview. You can see more of his work at his website HERE . . . or his facebook page HERE.

If you are an ambitious person and would seriously like to learn to airbrush commercially, like Dion, we can teach you to do this successfully. Airbrush Venturi has over 20 schools located across Australia and New Zealand.

For more information . . .
Ring us on 1300-247 278 (1300 AIRBRUSH)
Go to our website HERE and the course timetable with locations, teachers names, and costs HERE.

To enrol, got to the enrolment form HERE

Written by Tony Vowles