Acrylic and Urethane on Wood
This was one of the highlights of my Custom Airbrushing career. In the late 2000’s I was commissioned to travel to Nashville to paint this one-of-a-kind Commemorative Lucille guitar for Gibson Guitars. The guitar was a special build for the legendary BB King Museum and was finished out in mother of pearl and 24 karat gold. The guitar had only been painted black by Gibson 2 days prior to my arrival and was still gassing off fumes as I worked on the portrait. It took me longer to drive to Nashville and back than it did to paint the guitar. I had been forwarded the reference the week prior and once I arrived at the paint shop I had one day to complete the artwork before final finish and assembly. For the painting I had brought 1 copy of an incredibly intricate vinyl stencil I had designed and had cut. It was so intricate it took the vinyl plotter 45 minutes to make one pass across the sheet. When I was removing the stencil after the initial white base was sprayed on, the glue from the stencil had bonded to the black lacquer Gibson had applied. The panic I felt was perhaps some of the worst I have felt during a custom paint disaster. After I calmed down, I was able to delicately use a fast evaporating solvent, masking tape and cotton swabs to remove the glue and luckily not disturb the black lacquer or the white urethane base I had applied. It took me over 4 and a half hours to remove all traces of the glue before continuing on with the painting. This picture was quickly snapped a few minutes after I had finished the portrait and before the guitar was locked back into it’s purple velvet lined case and handed back to Gibson. The last I heard, the guitar was in the archives room at the BB King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi. In 2012 I attended a BB King performance and was invited by BB’s staff to meet him after the show. Speaking to him afterwards I learned he hadn’t seen or played the guitar yet. Armed with pictures I had given him, he was going to make sure that he did when he returned home. Meeting BB and shaking his hand was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had.