Artist Gerardo Quijada shares with us his vision and how he developed a unique artistic style that separated him from all of the other airbrushing artists.
Be sure to follow Gerardo on social media. The links are located on the bottom of the interview.
Featured Artist Gerardo Quijada
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Dave – Hello Gerardo, thank you for joining me today. I have been fortunate enough to be able to view your artwork in person and I must say that it is nothing less than brilliant. You use airbrushing as a medium, would you tell us more about airbrushing and how you got started?
Gerardo – Hi, Dave its an honor! Thank you!
Well, airbrushing is well recognized now almost by anyone and it has transcended the fine art arena and now is also a very common tool in makeup applications.
But among the airbrush artists airbrushing is a special medium that when is learned to a certain level you can paint on a wide range of surfaces which leads to a wide range of applications from automotive to make up as I said before!
And to a certain degree, this capability of airbrushing on any surface is what I found attractive 8 years ago when I was studying drawing and found the airbrush.
Dave – How long did it take for you to learn the technique of airbrushing and did you study from anyone?
Gerardo – It took me 2 months to be able to paint the first black and white portrait since the first time I used the airbrush but now I’ve been airbrushing about 8 years, for the most part, I was only airbrushing portraits and projects for myself after work only doing big projects once every few years.
But about 4 years ago I went back to airbrush in a more committed fashion and I was feeling good about the growth I could see in my art but I was also feeling limited on the subject matter that I could paint so I decided to take a few workshops with world-renowned airbrush artist Dru Blair.
By studying with Dru Blair I was able to connect many of those knowledge gaps that are inevitable when self-teaching oneself, but I must say that I still consider my self a student and I hope I will always be learning and expanding my airbrushing knowledge.
Dave – I have been fortunate to see your art in person and I have to let you know that your work is truly amazing and inspiring. Just because I never created art with an airbrush is it difficult to work on surfaces that are not flat like helmets of motorcycles?
Gerardo – Yes! yes, round surfaces like helmets are very tricky to airbrush on because many techniques that are used to transfer a drawing, tracing, or projecting the image don’t work on helmets or irregular objects this results into spending a lot of time just getting the outlines drawn.
The irregularity of these items also calls for being able to improvise on the picture so that appropriate adjustments can be made to the final drawing.
Dave – Where do you get your inspiration from?
Gerardo – When I paint for myself I like to paint portraits, but most of my work now is commissioned so the inspiration comes through the customer. It’s a distinct inspiration because you don’t make the rules but it certainly is an exciting feeling to make the customers’ ideas of self-expression a reality, nonetheless.
In a way, it’s very inspiring to tackle paint jobs that sometimes I wouldn’t have painted for myself if someone wouldn’t have asked me to do it.
Tackling ideas that are out of my comfort zone can be motivating and difficult but there is great artistic growth when I do something that I didn’t know I could do, and its all thanks to the push that some customers give you with their ideas.
Dave – I agree 100%, growth comes when boundaries are pushed. What makes your artwork unique and separates you from other artists?
Gerardo – In the automotive airbrushing arena I’m one of the few who does photorealism/realism and in my artwork, when possible, I try to paint scenic images rather than subject based paintings. I also like to paint images that have some action happening rather than still-looking subjects. See my first picture below for an example.
That’s one aspect that identifies with my airbrushing.
Dave – That is one of many characters that separates you from so many artists. What message would you like your viewers to receive when they look at your artwork?
Gerardo – My goal with my paintings is to paint a story in the viewer’s mind when the artwork is scenic, and when my paintings are from a subject I want the viewer to be impressed with the complexity, realism, and emotional aspects of my paintings.
By investing a lot of time in my paintings is the only way I can create an artwork that truly delivers my vision and I love it when people can tell that that artwork took dozens of hours to complete!
Dave – As I have mentioned before, I have seen your work in person and I appreciate all of the hours you devote to each painting. What supplies do you use for your artwork?
My list of Airbrushes and Compressors.
- Iwata airbrushes
- Iwata Custom Micron C-MC +
- Iwata Custom Micron CM-SB
- Iwata Eclipse Side feed and siphon feed.
- Spray guns from Iwata, Sata, and DeVilbiss
- Iwata Super Nova
- Iwata HPL 80
- Sata HVLP 4000
- Iwata Air compressor, California tools Compressor.
- Paints from Createx Colors, BASF Diamont and Onix.
- Clear coats from BASF, Tamco, and Createx
My list of paint removal tools to create textures and details.
- Helix Electric eraser with an aggressive sanded eraser.
- Derwent Electric eraser with a soft eraser.
- Faber Castell Faber-Castell Perfection Eraser Pencil
- Wooden Dowel
- Diamond Bits of different shapes
My list of chemical paint removal materials for textures.
- Laquer thinner
- Createx reducer of different speeds
My list of surfaces that I work on.
- Plastic panels
- Metal panels
- synthetic paper
- Automotive panels with sanded clear coat
- My own recipe for photorealistic painting on automotive parts
- White Createx Colors base coat with SSR Clear Coat
And the stencils I use are from HD Stencils.
Dave – What other mediums do you like to work with?
Gerardo – I started the pursuit of art because I used to love drawing with pencils and until now pencil drawing is one of my favorite mediums, of course, later on, I discover pastel pencils!
I love to paint with pastel pencils I don’t create anything interesting with them but they are so fun to paint with!!!
I also like granite etching, acrylics, and oils.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork and how did you get started?
Gerardo – I had the first experience drawing portrait commission when I was in Senior year at that time I did only 5 portrait commissions, 3 in pencil and 2 in airbrush. These jobs I was hired by friends from school and church because they’d seen my work.
After that, I went back to taking commissions in 2017 only this time it was for the most part commissions on vehicles. Now I promote my work and “service” online as well.
Dave – What platforms do you use to showcase and sell your artwork?
Gerardo – I promote my artwork using my website, facebook page, Instagram and google local business. I know that it is important to promote your work in as many platforms as possible while still being able to keep it in control!
Dave – How do you promote your art online?
Gerardo – I have my website, Facebook fan page, Instagram, and Google business as a presence online but most of my advertisement is done on Facebook.
In my experience, Facebook has been the most successful way to advertise my work by creating a fan base. In my market, I’ve observed that some customers are not ready to hire me right away but when they are ready to hire me they have seen some of the other work I’ve done and that seems to give them the confidence and trust to hire me.
When I started my page from 0 I purposely started boosting posts to get messages. The boosted posts were the most interesting jobs I had done. But the paid posts that were the most successful were 1-minute videos of my entire painting process. (1 min videos are very easy to do)
The reason I did that was to start building an audience of people who were interested in potentially hiring me to do airbrushing on their motorcycles. And when you are just starting out your posts don’t get seen so it’s very important to invest money into getting a fan base.
From the boosted posts I get potential customer messages and from the messages, we start a phone conversation or an appointment where the commission is discussed, scheduled, etc.
Once I have invested some money advertising and I have a small following of target customers it’s much easier to get seen by the followers without having to pay again.
I also advertise on google but rather than sending traffic to my website I fix it for calls or texts.
Dave – What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Gerardo – I believe that the most important thing to learn is to stay organized because when you’re in business there’s a lot of things you have to be in control of not just painting and if you don’t do one task then it seems to have a domino effect on all the things you need to do.
And when you lose control of what has to be done you stop producing the results that you envisioned.
Dave – What tips could you give to new artists who are interested in selling their artwork?
Gerardo – A simple way of selling artwork that has been created already is to sell on an online platform as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. Alternative you can create your own website.
After placing your artwork for sale is time to market your products or time to learn to market your art.
When I say learn to market your artwork I mean watch videos, read, ask and more importantly DO!
You will never learn everything from videos but with basic knowledge and a small budget is time to test doing advertisement on the platforms that you think will work best for your niche. This is the part where you will spend some time learning but will ultimately transform your art career.
More than being an amazing artist you have to learn to market your work, there are a lot of amazing artists that always skip the marketing part; thus, they never sell or build an audience that loves/buys their work.
Dave – That is powerful advice. Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite creations and share the story behind them?
This Harley Davidson fairing was a commission based on old times outlaws.
The idea for these murals was to make the action scenes dynamic.
This photorealistic painting of Hue Jackman is focused on achieving the highest level of details and accuracy on different textures of the portrait.
This locomotive painting was done using the same techniques that I would use on an automotive panel including the 2k Clearcoat.
Dave – What social media sites can people follow you on?
To follow me on facebook www.facebook.com/gerardoairbrush
To follow me on Instagram www.instagram.com/gerardo_custom_airbrush
My website is www.gerardoquijada.com
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Gerardo – Most of the work I do is custom paintings for that reason I don’t sell artworks but I can be hired by contacting me through my website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us and I look forward to seeing all of your new creations.
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