World Famous Airbrush Artist Visits Menno | Community
MENNO – World-renowned airbrush artist from Tennessee Mickey Harris has garnered the attention, admiration and expressions of astonishment from viewers over the past two weeks while working at Menno’s Classic Collision and Frame, Inc., to make a one-of-a-kind project. artwork on the 1967 firebird hood by Olivet resident Thomas Holst, as well as other paint work.
Harris and Holst worked together to develop the design from a basic concept that Holst had developed.
âI saw a Mickey angel painted on a truck,â says Holst. âThis painting is what he got out of it and the ideas we both had for the flames around it. I want to make a show car with this Firebird. I have been working on it for about five years and the airbrush painting makes it very unique. The only parts of the vehicle that are original are the roof and the floor. Everything else was replaced as the restoration work progressed.
It was the owners of the body shop, Brent Haberman and Shannon Herrboldt, who brought Holst and Harris together. They invited Harris to work in their studio after taking one of his painting classes last November.
âWe knew Thomas wanted to airbrush the Firebird,â says Haberman. âWe had a guy from Nebraska lined up to do the job. After taking Mickey’s class, we looked at photos of some of his work on his website. We were impressed with his work and suggested that Thomas get him to do the job.
Harris, who has painted for over 30 years, has produced thousands of metal murals. His professional career began at Fort. Walton Beach, Florida, where he began to master the art of using an airbrush to create art. He has received worldwide acclaim for his art and has appeared in numerous publications. The Travel Channel television featured Harris in “King of the Road,” an episode that featured the world’s most detailed 18-wheeler, with over 2,000 hours of work and over a million airbrush strokes. One of Harris’ show trucks has won over 22 “Best of Show” awards and has received the prestigious “Dupont Top Gun” award four times. His art of motorcycling has also earned him hundreds of accolades.
Although Harris has developed his skills over the years, he also has a natural eye for art that was apparent the first time he picked up an airbrush.
âThe first illustration I did was a copy of a painting by Frank Frazetta, a warrior-like Viking on a chariot that looked like a sleigh pulled by polar bears,â says Harris. âThe man who owned the t-shirt store I worked for let me work for about four days before coming back to see how it was. When he looked at what I had done, he just freaked out. I thought I must have done a terrible job and he was really upset. “No one has ever done that on t-shirts!” ” he told me. After some swearing he said, “We’re taking you to the front window and we’re going to make some money, boy!” I wasn’t used to people watching me paint, but it worked out really well.
After that first success at the age of 19, Harris says he “never looked back. I have been fortunate to be considered an innovator with the use of airbrush technology. Today, I teach nationwide, teaching auto body painters how to take control of the airbrush gun. Which took me two years to figure out that they can now learn in about two weeks.
Holst, who came to Olivet from Norway, has been restoring classic cars and shipping them to Norway for sale for several years. When he found the Firebird in Freeman, he decided to restore it and keep it.
âIt was pretty cool when I bought it,â says Holst. âBut to make it a show car, I had to work more on it. I drove it for about three weeks and then started taking it apart. All of the work was done here in the body shop. Justin Handel has a machine shop here and he did all the engine work.
Originally, Holst planned to use the Firebird during the summer for pleasure trips and occasional use. Now that Harris’ illustration is complete, Holst will be careful with how he uses the vehicle.
âI’m not sure I drive it a lot,â he said. âIt will probably be mostly for the show. I don’t have a particular show in mind at the moment, but the car won’t be finished for a while either. I had hoped to finish it this summer, but it’s not definitive.
Once Harris finishes his painting work in Menno, he will return to his hometown of Cosby, Tennessee. Some of her time will be spent developing an opportunity for a regular TV show featuring her painting classes. He has no intention of straying from the art of airbrushing and will continue to seize the opportunities that his talent has made possible for him.
âI may have reached the peak of my career,â he says. âBut we don’t know what the future might bring. I am not qualified to do anything else, so I will continue to paint.