I Survived the Surgery

Please excuse the brief message but typing with one hand is not easy or very pleasant a this point. The shoulder surgery went well, and I want to thank all those who showed concern and sent well-wishes.  Your responses meant a lot.  I’ll continue the blog as soon as I’m able. Warmest wishes to all of you.  Cliff

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SEMA 2010

I reluctantly attended the SEMA Show last week in Las Vegas.  Reluctant because I had covered it for so many years that it started to become a drab experience for me.  Alot of the custom painted vehicles started to look the same year after year, and frankly, in this economy, I strongly predicted SEMA’s worst year for attendance and far fewer eye candy to photograph.  Also, this would be the first time in five years that HOK, Anest Iwata, Artool, Coast Airbrush, Iwata, and Airbrush Action magazine did not sponsor the usually hotly anticipated Airbrush Confidential party.  The grudge, however, quickly evaporated.  I was most pleasantly surprised to experience an oddly fresh show with a much higer than expected attendance, and some really cool cars, trucks, and bikes to shoot for Airbrush Action and this blog.  For the second year in a row, House of Kolor’s booth was, in my opinion, the best-of-show with an amazing display of over-the-top art on skateboard decks, cars (Jon Kosmoski’s was extraordinary), canvas, a refigerator, the ever popular carbon fiber (or is it fiberglass?) bombs, and more.  Featured artists included Mike Lavalee (his new series of fine art, skelebrities, was worth the price of admission alone), Craig Fraser, Eddie Davis, Steve Vandemon, Javier, Soto, Armando Serrano, Steve Driscoll, and other greats I just can’t think of at the moment.  Major kudos to HOK’s Nick Dahl for staging such an immense and impressive effort–once again–and to Fraser for recruiting a knock-out team of great talent–once again.  Other standout booths belonged to Anest-Iwata/Iwata, and Badger Air Brush for their displays of art and artists.  I discovered some new talent this year, caught up with “old” industry friends, and on the overall had a highly productive show and learned that, from now on, I should never even consider missing it. Look for extensive coverage in  the January-February issue of Airbrush Action.
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Mark Rush, Legendary T-Shirt Artist, Shot in the Head

I’ve known Mark Rush, renowned T-shirt artist, for nearly 30 years, and I was shocked to hear that he was shot in the head recently at his home in Panama City Beach, Florida.  T-shirt airbrushing gained a super boost in popularity from Rush’s cover feature in the now defunct Airbrush Digest in 1982. The following is an excerpt from an online report:

August 2, 2010
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Seconds after a trespasser put a gun between his eyes, 57-year-old Mark Rush shoved the gun up and it went off, slicing through his skull.  “It felt like a branding iron going through the top of my head,” Rush said Monday from his hospital bed. “I immediately put my hand up there to see if my brains were hanging out.”

But the struggle between Rush, a Panama City Beach resident, and an as-yet-unidentified suspect, did not end with the first shot. As Rush was down from the gunshot wound, the suspect, who had entered Rush’s yard uninvited, was now in his house and going through his things.  “He was twitchy as hell the whole time,” Rush said. “He kept yelling like he was on something.”

For Rush, who was bleeding heavily, the situation looked dire. “I thought, ‘No shit, this is it.”  And the trespasser was not done.  “He said, ‘I shot you once; I’ll shoot you again,’ ” Rush recalled. “Then he shot another round. He missed me.”

Despite his injury, Rush managed to tackle the trespasser. “I figured, if I can get ahold of his gun again, I can turn it on him. It’s my only chance,” he said.  After a subsequent struggle, Rush, who has a concealed carry permit and owns several guns and other weapons, the assailant fled. “I didn’t follow him out ’cause I figured he could shoot at me again,” he added. At that point, Rush called 911. His harrowing Sunday afternoon that began with a strange visitor in his yard ended with a trip to the hospital.

“The neurosurgeons today said I was really, really lucky,” Rush said. He has 50 stitches in his head and blood on his brain, he added.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. They say the suspect is a white male in his mid to late 20s, about 6 feet tall, weighing 150 to 175 pounds, and has big ears, bad teeth and a thin face. He has medium-length dark hair, a tattoo on his left arm of a sword or a cross, and possibly a tattoo on his right leg. Authorities said a reward likely will be offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

We at Airbrush Action wish the best for Mark’s recovery and future.

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I’m Going Under the Knife

On Wednesday, November 10 I undergo shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff (a complete tear).  25 years ago I injured the shoulder playing raquetball, but it wasn’t until this year that, through exercise, I damaged it further and the condition became unbearable.  I can’t lift anything laterally, perform any kind of shoulder press, and reaching up for anything makes me wince.  I’m having the surgery done by Dr. Louis Bigliani, of Columbia Hospital, in New York.  If he’s good enough for Kobi Bryant, he’s good enough for me.  If any of you have had shoulder surgery and can offer any advice or share your experience, please write.  Anyway folks, wish me luck.

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Airbrush Action is Broken Into!

It’s such a strange and scary experience to get a knock on your door at 3am, which happened to me this past Saturday.  The tension was somewhat eased once I realized it was the police versus some stranger, but then the rush and flush set in wondering what on Earth could be wrong.  It couldn’t be my kids; they’re 3 and 4 1/2, in bed safe and sound.  The only other thing I could deduce was that one of my horse’s escaped and was out on the road to Dunkin Donuts or some other 24-hour hangout (where else would a horse go, right?!)  I live on a 6-acre farm, and all of my animals have, at one time or another, liberated themselves from their vinyl-fence prisons; this would be nothing new.

The officer quickly informed me, unfortunately, that the warehouse section of Airbrush Action had been broken into.  The adrenaline and fright of the situation was much to bear (typically, I’m a pretty solid crisis manager, but this just struck me the wrong way at the worst hour) and the officer was kind enough to drive me to the crime scene less than a mile away.  If nothing else, this story should serve as an allegory for having an alarm system, which we do, and use religiously at Airbrush Action.

The perpetrator(s), whom I believe are neighborhood kid(s), smashed the wire mesh window of the rear door of the building next to the loading docks.  We believe the idiots split immediately after the motion detector triggered the alarm.  Nothing seemed damaged or stolen, except for the door, of course, which was boarded up until the new one is installed. 

The Wall Township Police were terrific as they arrived at Airbrush Action 30 seconds after being contacted by the alarm monitoring company.  There were five officers on the scene waiting until the detective arrived.  I was told that, leading up to Halloween, these incidents are most likely to happen.  Although the ending was somewhat happy because all was safe, I still find it quite unsettling and creepy that this can happen even in the best neighborhoods.  Please excuse my naiveté, but I’ve lived in Allenwood for nearly 16 years and this was a first.

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Sneak Peak at a New Getaway Course

I’d like your opinion of Down to Business, Kent Lind’s new Airbrush Getaway course (please e-mail ceo@airbrushaction.com).  Here’s the description:

Down to Business with Kent Lind
Learn how to substantially boost your productivity and bottom line!
Whether you airbrush as a hobby or professionally, this new and groundbreaking course will teach you how to be successful as a full-time artist. According to Lind, “I’ve observed many artists who seemingly spin their wheels year after year, with no real set of goals or road map on how to get where they want to go. I’m ready to share my 20-plus years of experience by pointing students in the right direction, and show them what they want and need to know.”
You’ll learn:
• How to optimize your displays
• Types of venues
• How negotiate a contract (percentage versus straight rent)
• A basic understanding of equipment and airbrush techniques
• Specific design execution of lettering and cartoons
• Inventory tracking
• When and how to advertise
• Who to contact when scouting for a location
• High profit ancillary items: lanyards, knit hats, trucker hats, can coozies and keychains
• Vendor sources for T-shirts, specialty shirts (beaters and cap sleeves), lanyards, can coozies, license plates, knit hats, trucker hats, equipment, supplies, and more
• How to successfully work bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, and special events (including how to market yourself and the event)
• Extensive understanding of Createx, Wicked, and Auto Air colors.
• Specific outline of types, quantity, and composition of display
• How to negotiate for a location, including insurance.
• How to find and hire artists
• How to scout for a location
• Examples of set-ups at amusement parks, outside venues requiring travel, and store fronts and kiosks.
• And much, much more.

(A prior basic understanding of the airbrush is recommended but not necessary.)

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The New & Improved AirbrushAction.com

I’d like to thank those who have commented on my blog.  It’s easy to run out of things to write about, so by all means let me hear your suggestions (ceo@airbrushaction.com, if you wish to e-mail me directly) on various topics.  Also, we invested tons of time and effort (major, major kudos and a standing ovation to Erin Bennett, our webmaster and designer) revamping www.airbrushaction.com and would love your critical feedback.  I’m pretty thick-skinned, so let me have it, so to speak.  I need to hear the good and the bad because we’re more committed than ever to evolving the site, and, ultimately, making it the way you want it.  Airbrushaction.com will only work if it caters to your needs and wants; it exists to serve you.  Some plans include free and cost-based video streaming, more artist links (you may link back to your bio on airbrushaction.com from your site), much more free editorial content, downloadable books, and more.  Whether you know it or not, your opinions have helped shape Airbrush Action magazine, and I know they’ll make all the difference here.  Sock it to me, guys.

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