Behind the Marker: “Sharpie Camaro” Artist Talks About The Project
Pinstriper Chris Dunlop, from Gaithersburg, Maryland has laid the final licks on the “Sharpie Camaro” we featured a few weeks ago, and sent us a few pics of the final product of his handiwork. Chris was also kind enough to answer a few questions for us about this very unique 5th Gen Camaro project. We know that this car might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those of us here at LSXtv definitely give Chris’s work high marks.
LSXTV: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Chris. So where did you learn how to pin-stripe and do this kind of art work?
Pinstripe Chris: “I started out in body shops about 5 years ago and went from general painting right into airbrushing. From there I tried my hand at pinstriping about 3 years ago, and tried my hand at Sharpie early last year. I’ve never had any formal training- I just learn as I go and I put all my free time into it.”
LSXTV: Where did the initial idea to do the “Sharpie Camaro” come from?
PC: “Actually that idea came about in July of 2010. A local dealership wanted to do some custom painting on a new Camaro, so I threw some ideas out there – the Sharpie idea being one of them. They considered it for a while, but idea is really pretty out there for a commercial dealership, so they didn’t end up going for it. I actually got the job for this Camaro pretty much by coincidence. A year after the dealership gave up on the idea, I got an email from an interested customer. But the concept really is great – do a new style of artwork on a newly re-styled muscle car.”
LSXTV: The detail is incredible. What is the process like for this kind of job? About how many total hours of work do you have wrapped up in the project from start to finish?
PC: “First I remove the old stripes, wash the car, mask out new stripes across the entire car – roof, bumpers and all – and prep it to accept clear coat. Then I Sharpie like crazy. Once I’m done, I mask the rest of the car off, spray the clear coat, buff it, and do a final wash. In total the whole job took about 54 hours from start to finish.”
LSXTV: That also begs the question: About how many Sharpies did you go through on the project?
PC: “On this job I made sure that I kept up with fresh Sharpies so I could create finer lines where I wanted, so I used more than I normally do. I used a grand total of about 10 Sharpies.”
LSXTV: There is no way just plain Sharpie could stand up to the elements. Tell us about how you sealed the artwork on the car. Did you use just standard clear coat?
PC: “Sealing up the artwork is a special process. I do use a very specific urethane clear coat, a very specific prep process, and very specific Sharpies. I’ve done a lot of testing to get down to a method that can be done with no problems.”
LSXTV: So what’s next? Have you had other customers contact you about doing sharpie work on their cars?
PC: “This Camaro is actually the 4th vehicle I’ve done since I started doing Sharpie art. I did a Cadillac in California and a Fiero here last year, then I did a Mustang and Harley Davidson here this year. Each kind of leads to the next. Since the beginning of the Camaro I’ve had a couple serious inquiries. My wife and I plan to move to California at the end of this year, so maybe there will be a whole new market for this kind of customization.
I’d like to thank Beverly Jensen for shooting the photos. I can tell people about my work all day, but her photos really bring it to life.”
Check out Pinstripe Chris’s website for more pics of the Sharpie Camaro, as well as his other projects.