Every year 12 of the best House of Kolor custom paint jobs are picked from hundreds of submissions worldwide. In 2014, Aussie painters took out four of the 12 coveted spots with some awesome work. House of Kolor USA introduced the annual Prestigious Painter Award (PPA) to recognise the amazing and beautiful work that painters from all over the world accomplish with their products. House of Kolor wanted to give credit to painters by sharing these works of art with everyone. To this end, the winning painters are rewarded with a stylish Prestigious Painter Award jacket, a trophy and a picture of the car they painted featuring on a special HOK calendar. House of Kolor Australia nominates a select few to represent our local craftsmen every year. The international judging team then has the massive task of selecting just 12 from the extensive list of custom-painted cars, trucks, planes, bikes and everything in between that are submitted each year. Getting four nominations is a great effort. Here is a little insight into what it takes to become a Prestigious Painter from this year’s Aussie recipients.
Carmine De Maria
Sam Apap’s 1950 Ford Mercury // C.A.D Custom Body & Paint
How did you get into cars and custom painting?
My dad owned a Valiant dealership and was a mad car nut. I used to race motorbikes, and we were both into the bikes and cars, so it was sort of in the blood. He was the one who actually got me an apprenticeship as a painter, so I really didn’t have a choice!
How did you feel when you found out you had won a Prestigious Painter Award?
I was over the moon. I wrote a goals list a couple of years ago and one of them was to become a recognised painter, and when that happened I was like, wow, my hard work is really starting to pay off! My wife and I were so excited. It started off a great year.
Any projects in the works?
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say … let’s just say we have some exciting builds coming up in the next year, so watch this space.
Any advice for an aspiring painter?
Believe in yourself, stay consistent and don’t give up!
Justin Gardner’s 1964 EH Holden // Trevor Davis Auto Refinishers
How did you get into cars and custom painting?
I read an article as a kid in Hot Rod magazine about Larry Watson flaming a ’48 Ford coupe. I thought he was the coolest guy on earth. I started hanging around Miles Johnson’s shop because I liked exciting cars and being with the guys. To quote Miles, “The kid was just hanging around that much I thought I may as well put a block in his hand and get him f**king sanding something!” Miles really taught me attention to detail.
What is your most memorable paint job?
Peter Fitzpatrick’s Trilogy. Pete pretty much mopped the floor at Summernats, then it won Superstars and Car of the Decade at MotorEx. To get a PPA for that car as well was the icing on the cake.
With three PPAs, what’s your secret?
Surround yourself with good people. My right hand man Dave Bahlmann always gives me an impeccable canvas to work on. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t look as good as I do as a painter. You could do the best paint job of your life, but if it is on bad bodywork, you’ve got nothing.
Henry Parry’s 1961 FB Holden // Custom Bodyworks
Where does your love of the industry come from?
As a kid, I would read Street Machine magazine and see people like Owen Webb painting these cool cars. I used to go to car shows and think, “Wow, these cars look mad!” So I said to myself, I want to be a custom painter.
This is your first PPA. How did you feel when you found out you had won?
I was stoked, I couldn’t believe it. There are a lot of painters in Australia and around the world. To win one of these is pretty impressive.
Anything special about the FB’s paint job?
Just working with the whole team. The endless late nights with Laurie from the Chop Shop, and Roni and all the boys here at Custom Bodyworks getting it ready for MotorEx with the normal last-minute rush, was a great experience.
What’s the most memorable paint job in HOK?
Probably Terry Mourched’s 1968 Dodge Charger. It’s an American muscle icon that was something different. It’s a lot of car and was a challenge to paint. Jobs like that are appreciated at this level.
Joe Bauer’s 1954 Divco 200 Van // Oz Rods
How did you get started in custom painting?
I was always interested in airbrushing, even before I did my trade. A bloke down in Mt Gambier, Fred Bishop, who was a top airbrusher in the mid 70s, said, “Do your spray-painting trade first and just keep going from there.”
When you found out that the Divco had won a PPA, how did you feel?
I felt really good because a lot of work went into that car. It was a huge achievement. We also had it unveiled last year at MotorEx; it was good to see that all the hard work from the Oz Rods crew paid off.
Apart from the Divco, any other paint jobs stick out?
The FJ ute that I painted in HOK Kandy Tangerine. That job is still getting around and winning awards; it just picked up a heap of trophies over in WA. I got to know Trevor, the owner, really well and found that to be a fun job.
What’s in the booth at the moment?
I just finished a ’34 that is a play on the same colours as the Divco. It will probably hit the show scene at MotorEx 2015.
story Nathan Jones photos John Churchill, Luke Oxley & Scott Paddy