#010 34 Productions

My interest in art began at a young age, around 8 years old. I saw these rat comic type characters called “Rat Fink” riding on “hot rods” that had been modified and customized with big wheels and oversized drag racing engines. “Big Daddy” Ed Roth was the creator of “Rat Fink” which was published in Hot Rod magazine circa 1964. Fast-forward to a few years later in Daytona Beach, Florida I witnessed Big Daddy airbrush vivid colors on to t-shirts that had these characters imprinted in black on them. I was fascinated with the smooth transitions of one color to another no matter how vibrant or where it lied on the color spectrum you could blend them together. The airbrush was embedded in my head as to my method/technique of preference for producing art. Throughout the next few years I pursued buying an airbrush and learning how to spray and control the tool. I had to experiment with types of paints, viscosities and air pressure to figure out how Big Daddy painted on those t-shirts.

We now move forward to the early 70’s and airbrushing on t-shirts had hit the Gulf Coast by Mark Rush. Mark was building and spraying through his own stencils on t-shirts. He pioneered this technique in this area and commercialized it by producing work at a local clothing boutique, Adam’s Rib and later on in a variety of local downtown Fort Walton Beach tourist stores (The Strip). Shortly thereafter, I also began producing shirts and clothing locally but I chose to “freehand” all of my work taking advantage of my drawing skills and differentiating me from Mark and his stencil style. Months later I received a call from the owner of Adam’s Rib, that Mark had left and they needed another airbrush artist to replace him. I accepted the position and began painting after school and during the summer full time. Once school reengaged I continued airbrushing out of my garage selling to friends and classmates. When Spring Break arrived I got a call to again replace Mark at Tiger Shirt World on the Strip, which I accepted. Mark had moved to a business across the street and 2 doors down another artist “Cherokee” was working. Cherokee was older than Mark as far as I could tell and was doing fantastic freehand work also so both Mark and I had to setup our game. Later that summer a new establishment opened across the bridge called Alvin’s Island. Alvin’s was a regional large chain tourist market store. Several more artists had encroached the “The Strip” so the move to me was a logical one, open a new territory where the customers didn’t have to cross the bridge to get to The Strip and they could stay where all of the hotels and condos where, on the beach. A relative gold mine for me, although it did cause for longer hours just to keep up with the demand (the Strip artist thought I was committing suicide by the move).

During the days of the Strip and Alvin’s I was attending a local community college pursing a degree in Art. After 2 years of pursuit of an Art degree I decided that continuing my education in a traditional college atmosphere was not going to educate me in the areas of my interests, commercial art/illustration. So I applied and was accepted to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. The Art Institutes are designed to teach and develop students in Advertising Art, Illustration and business. The instructors were current professionals teaching part time the current techniques and methods required to get a job in the advertising and related fields. I completed schooling November 1978 and moved back to Fort Walton seeking a job with my newly acquired skills and education seeking a job in advertising. Much to my dismay advertising jobs were not to be found in this area so I accepted a position as a technical illustrator with a local manufacturing company that was doing government contract work where it was required that they provided illustrated documentation of their products they were manufacturing for the government. This was basically a drafting type job but on occasion the opportunity came to where I had to illustrate a product to which they wanted it to be rendered as realistically as possible for the client. Alas, the airbrush comes out again (with the exception of doing personal work trying to keep my skills ups). I had completely quit doing t-shirts and clothing once I returned from the Art Institute because I found that I could make more consistent money freelancing my illustrative work then painting on the Strip and I could work from the comforts of my home. During this time the proprietors of the businesses on the Strip began charging the airbrush artist for the space they were occupying and taking a percentage of their artwork sales, while also having to exclusively sell only the business’s clothing to airbrush on. Take home revenue from the airbrush artist dropped as much as 50% and currently remains at that in most establishments nationwide. Not a place I wanted to be, or have my art and skills minimalized at the profit of someone else.

Fast-Forward again, I spent the next 30 years or so developing my artistic skills on a new avenue of creativity, the graphics computer for the military, commercial and government contractors. I began using high-end proprietary graphics computer workstations to generate everything from 3D models/animations and renderings to presentation slides. This was before the Macintosh was introduced in 1984. I would still on occasion breakout the airbrush because I just couldn’t create the visual the customer was looking for without it looking “too computerize”. I also attended airbrush workshops from notable airbrush artist such as, Mark Fredrickson, Dave Kimble, Dave Malone and Michael Cacy.

I always strove to meld my computer work to emulate my traditional airbrush work whenever and as much as possible, I was merely utilizing another tool and method but as I began more proficient and the computer graphics demand increased I slowly steered away from any traditional art methods and techniques. The computer and its powerful graphics software became my tool of choice until I was laid-off from my corporate position in Business Development in 2015.

During the time being laid-off I broke out the airbrush again but quickly found out that a lot had changed. Paints, surfaces, airbrushes and techniques had changed and improved but were requiring a new learning process to master this change. Thank God for the internet, You Tube and the generosity of some fabulous artists and manufactures that were willing to share their knowledge, techniques and skills with the world. From that point I invested in taking instructional workshops from internationally noted airbrush artists, Dru Blair, Gerald Mendez and Steve Gibson over the course of next 2-3 years. This jump start and amazing instruction and guidance that I received from these artists/friends/colleagues has gotten me to where I’m producing my latest work.

I now combine both the digital and traditional methods to create my art. I will sometimes begin by sketching out ideas on paper then scanning the sketch into the computer or I will skip the scanning process and begin searching for images that are similar to my concept. These images can be from the internet or from my own photography. I always work from photographic references so that I can capture as much information to make my work as realistic as possible. It’s in the details that I find that segregates me from other artists that produce similar themes and subject matter. By utilizing the computer and the software I can manipulate the images so that I get a close representation of my concept to begin painting, in most cases I will utilize both the digital version and a 1 to 1 printed copy as my references.

I’m currently showing my work on my website: www.34pro.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: Pete Sintes or 34 Pro, LLC, Gallery Night Downtown Pensacola, FL (3rd Friday of each month), Artbound, Local Port 48, (Downtown Fort Walton Beach, FL) and the Mattie Kelly Arts Festival, Destin FL in late October

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