Metallica in metallics: Tribute charity artwork – by Claude Lia

The low lighting of this photo really illustrates the powerful combination of silver metallic’s with blue kandy. It is a perfect metaphor for a tribute artwork of the band Metallica.

Q: Hi Claude. Give us some background about the artwork.

Hi there everyone. I am a passionate semi professional airbrush artist / custom painter.

Every year, I do a charity piece. This year I created an artwork to donate to the Brighter Days Festival in Bright.

The festival has a lot of live music over the long weekend, so it was only fitting for the bonnet theme to involve music.

The artwork is entirely created with silver and black. There is no white on the artwork.

I chose to do a tribute piece of the band Metallica because they are a world renowned band, with broad appeal to young and old, with a passionate following. This would then hopefully attract the best possible price; thus generating much needed funds for the wonderful causes they are raising money for (EB and SUDC).

I love how metallic artworks appear to move as you view it from different angles.

Tell us about your design process?

I begin by searching for band images on the internet, that I like. Then I load them into Photoshop, and spend many hours moving and rejigging them to work with the natural shapes and lines of the bonnet.

Working with the shape of the steel is always important to me. It was easy in this case, but many of the motorcycles I work on, require very careful design concepts to ensure they look just as good from the side as from above.

I masked off James Hetfield and began the artwork with the back lettering. I projected up the image, to make sure that it was super accurate – and save time.

Q: Can you give us some information about your artwork process

When people ask me what the bonnet is off, I tell them l think it’s off a Toyota or something like that; nothing special. The materials that I used are a real mixed bag; PPG Deltron, DeBeers, DNA. I like to try out all sorts of paints, primers and clears. I’m not one of those people that sticks to just one brand.

After sanding, cleaning, priming and applying a black basecoat I laid down one coat of 2k to seal it. This seals the base of the artwork. Then I wet rub it and it is ready to project the design onto it and tick out.

I created a vinyl stencil for the Metallica logo, using Illustrator and then cut with my vinyl plotter. I used the positive shape to mask off the lettering and airbrush the surrounding metallics and candies to create the lettering glow, and the lightning.

I love creating portraits in metallics. The result has a great feel.

Next I started chipping away at the portraits in silver and finished with shading to really push-and-pull to bring the characters to life!

The guitars were created by laying down fine line tape and app. tape in multiple layers and airbrushing in between which was the most tedious and time consuming. Last of all, was adding the back drop lighting with smoky haze followed by the quote.

I try and minimise how much time I waste on masking. So I tend to mask the outside shape and then loose stencil as much inside this border stencil.

I have used this process lots of time on the motorcycle’s, helmets and other custom paint projects. The basic process is always the same but the varying factors are what the design and canvas is! As you gain more experience and develop your techniques, it tends to evolve slightly each time, which in turn always improves the end result.

I am very pleased with the artwork and considering that it approximately took 40 hours to produce, I am proud of the results. But as usual, there is always room for improvement!

Listening to their music while I created artworks of them, very cool.

Q: Tell us about the auction of the artwork

I really enjoy doing projects to support charities. It’s a win for everyone. The proceeds from the artwork always go to a good cause.

The feedback has been phenomenal, to say the least . . .  from family and friends . . . from the event organizers and from the crowd attending the Festival.

There was a lot of interest in the artwork. The eventual price it sold for was $2600. I am super pleased with this outcome. It makes me proud to create artworks like this.

The artwork raised $2,600 at auction!

I partially attribute the success of the auction to the fact that I had not airbrushed since my mother passed away in May 2017. So when I finally picked up the airbrush again over the Christmas break, I think I channeled some of her creativity, and really poured my heart and soul into this piece.

This photo shows the auction being televised on the big screen.

(Tony’s two cents: Many of the students of Airbrush Venturi support charity events by donating artworks. It is a great thing to do. It can also be a great way of gauging how much your artworks are worth. Students are always unsure of how much to charge for their work. The auction price is an accurate gauge of the public’s opinion of their value. Often when trying to negotiate a price, people will bargain the artist down, but at auction they tend to pay the real price because it is for a worthy cause.)

You can see more of Claude’s artworks at:

Written by Tony Vowles