Many people have seen my custom painted aero helmet I have been racing with for the past year and it truly is a conversation piece. I am constantly having pictures taken of it and receive more compliments on it than any other gear I own.
It all started a few months before I left for Spain back in June 2014 when I came across a local air brush artist Andrew Manning owner of AirTrix Studios here in London. I guarantee you have seen his works on TV before because he is a world renowned hockey goalie mask artist. Andrew has painted masks for the NHL,OHL,SEL, various European clubs and Bauer Canada. Check out his various works here they are quite spectacular.
His work is phenomenal and with the attention to detail I knew he was the man of the job I had planned for my helmet. I approached Andrew with my project and thoughts and while he was super receptive to the idea he had a crazy busy schedule and wasn’t sure he could fit me in. After juggling some clients and expressing to him how much this would mean to me her agreed to take on the project despite never painting a bike helmet before.
We worked back and forth on design elements and Andrew took my digital renderings and ran with the idea. I gave him my helmet and he used it to mock up his own ideas and designs. Not to mention he had to research the plastic and materials of the Rudy Project helmet to make sure the paint he used would work.
The design on the left is a digital rendering I whipped up quickly to give him and idea of what I wanted. Andrew being a true artist took that concept and produced his own sketch below. Artistic freedom is important and I was more than surprised with what he came up with and how well he kept to the Canadian theme. Keep in mind this was a helmet that I wanted to show case at my first worlds in Pontevedra, Spain so sleeping it Canadian was important to me.
A huge part of the project was Andrew doing research regarding materials and products he uses to make sure to get good adhesion to the existing helmet. His largest concern was with the ear flaps. These pieces that cover my ears are flexible and this meant Andrew had to use a clear coat that would be abel to with stand some bending and flexing. He is used to clear coating very rigid fibreglass and carbon goalie masks designed to take hockey pucks at high speeds. Once he figured out the best products to use he still warned me that it may not hold up due to the flex that can take place there. I am happy to report that this has bene a non issue!
It started life as a RudyProject Wingspan.
After leaving the helmet with Andrew for a few weeks and trying my best to not bug him about how it was going he revealed it to me. I remember it like it was yesterday it was a beautifully sunny afternoon and with the clear coat now on it….wow..just wow…You could see all the sparkle and shine this thing had with ghosted maple leafs and pearl effects in the paint I was speechless for the first time in the whole process ….
This helmet is a piece of art and I am proud to wear it training and racing. Andrew was great to work with and threw the process it turned out that we knew a few people in common and he is someone I can say without a doubt I trust and respect as an artist. If you ever need airbrush artistry done I would say look no further because eh is your guy. A huge thanks to Andrew again for the hard work and great art he gave me I know in the future there will be some larger jobs for him to paint for me who knows perhaps a bike….