Click here to return to the Pinstriping Home page
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
Pinstriping Brush
 
Find Us On Facebook

            Clearly the finishing touch for any carefully thought out and constructed vehicular project is the subtle painted filigrees and thin stripes that command the eye as the beholder begins to really look. Have you ever wondered where those fanciful designs came from? Vehicular décor began with the chariots of the affluent, thousands of years ago with Gold leaf scrolls and thin accent stripes that implied quality and would persuade appreciation from the viewer. The circus in the 1800’s had extensive hand carved and gilded scrolls on their wagons, again to impress the viewer and establish the investment made in the caliber of the show.

Pinstriping           This decorative art genre accompanied mankind and developed through the ages as quality carriage decoration and wagon striping became the benchmarks of carefully engineered and accurately constructed vehicles. Precise stripes could only flow over wooden joints that were tight and carefully crafted wrought iron components were complimented with accent designs. Great pride was attached to the decoration that was part of the process of these proud craftsmen. In a recently unearthed letter to a customer, responding to an attempt to order an undecorated Studebaker wagon, the refusal comes from the manufacturer. “If you want wagons with out stripes you don’t want a Studebaker”. 

           Fire engines have perhaps the most famous reputation for elaborate decorations.  Originally “fire companies” were independent, private affairs in competition with one another. The premise was simple.  Elaborate decorations associated with a particular fire company implied that their fire fighting equipment was superior.  Artisans with a background of floral specialties, dimensional and intricate geometric scrollwork, elaborate letter styles and Celtic designs flourished during this era.  The heyday of gold leaf scrollwork and finessful pinstripes peaked prior to the fire companies becoming municipal affairs. 

Pinstriping           The carriage stripers followed the manufacturing evolution into the horseless era and their accent stripes were included as a finishing touch on many early automobiles that competed for a share of the market. When car design exploded after World War II, so did the personal expression that boomers found in building from a plethora of car parts and decorating in the emerging style, what became known as hot rods.  Iconic artists created ratfink monsters; hid faces in fanciful pinline designs and the flame became the preferred artistic statement to suggest power, speed, testosterone and thrills. 

           Throughout the eighties and nineties the genre waned as the computer assisted, yet distracted artist, found a new device with which to produce signs and images.  The hand produced lettering and pinline images seemed to fall from grace and the mainstream. A few dedicated artists kept their hand in the delicate world of creating designs with brush and paint.  The motorcycle culture, the Hot Rod and classic automobile aficionado kept these elite and finessful brush men busy. 

Pinstriping with Letterfly            Now in a new millennia, custom paint enjoys the limelight with the emergence of the TV reality shows. With roller derby and flying eyeballs making a comeback, the centuries old art form of pinstriping enjoys a resurgence as, once again, the delicate lines add not only a finessful  accent but clearly define the prestige of the owner of the vehicle. The artist that can transform a personal idea into a one of a kind expression continues to provide the means with which the consumer can get the message of quality, pride and entertainment across to the viewer. Although pinstriping is the name for a specific manner of achieving a particularly thin effect with a specific brush, it has grown in understanding to include many other enlightening techniques that find their way on the exteriors of today’s automobiles, motor homes and especially motorcycles. 

            For something new to make your ride distinct, look to the timeless form of the art of pinstriping that continues to entertain and elevate with a one of a kind expression of pride, envy and fun.

 Dave "Letterfly" Knoderer