For airbrush artist Chad Scales, everything is a canvas: “That’s the good job”
HARVEST, Alabama – Chad Scales sat in detention, scribbling an octopus on a piece of paper.
âI wasn’t academic and had problems drawing all the time,â said Scales, now 31. This was in 2000, when he was a student at Sparkman High School.
He thinks he was probably in drawing detention when he was supposed to participate in class. âI drew on everything.
The detention monitor quickly took Scales’ paper away, leaving it with just a pencil, sitting alone in an empty office room. The monitor left the room.
âI moved on to another wooden desk and started drawing this octopus again and thought it looked awesome,â Scales said. âI had a disposable camera and took a picture of it and said to myself, ‘I have to do this someday. Right after taking the picture, I heard (the monitor) come in and moved to another office.
The next day, school administrators asked students about who had drawn on the top of the desk. Scales refused to come forward and the Monitor did not report him. The case was eventually dropped.
He had forgotten about the incident until last year.
âI was in the attic and saw my old school stuff,â Scales said. âThis photo of the table was stuck in my phone book. “
Inspired again, Scales – now a graphic designer for a local engineering company, a graphic design graduate from Alabama A&M and the University of Alabama at Huntsville – decided to recreate the octopus design as a table for his garage.
He reproduced the design on a huge piece of wood and set it up so that it folds away from the wall of his garage, where he often creates his works and spends time with friends.
âFrom start to finish, it took 30 solid days,â he said. He calls it the Kraken table. Scroll down to see the table take shape in a quick Flipagram video.
Scales creates his airbrush art in several detailed steps. He first draws his idea, then scans it into his computer and cleans it up with a computer program like Photoshop or Illustrator.
He then projects or prints the design onto a larger sheet of paper that he uses as a stencil. He cuts out the stencil, places it on the canvas of his choice – in the case of the table, it was a large piece of wood – and airbrushes the design. Then he covers it with a protective finish if necessary.
Scales first discovered a passion for airbrushing when, as a teenager, he visited a small airbrush shop inside Madison Square Mall.
âTwo old people were working there, Ted and Les,â Scales said. âOne day I walked in and said I wanted a label for my car. I watched them do it and I almost lost it, it was so amazing. I asked them to teach me.
Over the next several months, Ted taught Scales how to use the airbrush at his North Parkway store each week.
âAfter three or four months, I quit class and started airbrushing whatever I could,â Scales said.
By day, Scales is a graphic designer for the Monte Sano Research Corporation and works at Redstone Arsenal.
In his spare time, he creates airbrush art on a variety of media. He made furniture, murals in houses, an 8-foot-high wine rack, a quilt, a trailer for his boy scout troop, and even a cello case that now holds his fencing swords.
Yes, he also fencing in his spare time.
Scales has an eclectic set of hobbies that he – with the help of like-minded friends – highlights on his website, Cs Vintage Co. The site carries the tagline âEclectic Lifestylesâ.
Visitors to the site can read about art, fencing, independent music, food and drink.
âEverything I like, I focus on the website,â Scales said. âMore art, more fencing, more music. I have friends who help me with the rest. Right now I’m working on a website redesign with a black style.
A friend takes care of the drinks section, while Scales’s sister Tiffany writes the food section and his girlfriend is the site editor. Scales sticks to writing about art and fencing, and publishes music created by fellow musicians.
âI try to catch things from friends who do this stuff because that’s what they like,â he said.
On the horizon
Scales will admit that he’s not the type to sit around or do things halfway. As a senior in college, he started losing his hair due to stress while creating 15 great works of art – in just two months – for his senior art exhibition. He fencing with the Huntsville Fencing Club twice a week now and is the club’s graphic designer and videographer.
He also has ideas for a line of screen-printed t-shirts with his original designs.
âIt will be an underground topography style,â Scales said. âVery vintage. The kind of shirt you would put on on a Sunday morning, a shirt that feels comfortable in your own skin.
Although he remains busy, Scales said he continually focuses on a real ‘good job’.
âFinding 10, 20 or 30 minutes of your day to do something that makes you happy is the good job,â he said. “” When you can finish it all the way, finally get it where you want it to be, that’s an accomplishment. “
Cs Vintage Co. is online, on Facebook and on Twitter @CsVintageCo