ASHVILLE - Nationally known airbrush artist Richard Markham visited the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Hewes Educational Center recently.
During a live demonstration, Markham made it look simple: transforming a car hood into a canvas and applying realistic flames and marble and wood textures to the surface. All day long, students from a variety of Career & Technical Education programs at the Hewes Center crowded into the Automotive Body Repair lab to watch Markham work.
A self-taught artist, Markham is one of the best air brush artists in the country. He spends much of his time traveling the country getting high school students passionate about the field on behalf of Ohio Technical College, which boasts some of the best automobile repair and refinishing programs in the country. He joined the OTC Custom Paint & Graphics Program as a teacher in summer 2009, launching a live airbrush tour with an 80-foot tractor trailer serving as a canvas, a mobile airbrush classroom, and a vehicle transport for some of his greatest undertakings.
Airbrush artist Richard Markham delivers a demonstration at the BOCES Center in Ashville recently.
Markham, who has been airbrushing for 20 years, is a life-long artist who started off with pencil sketchings and cartoons until he discovered airbrushing at age 19. He developed a great deal of systems and techniques that allow him to teach airbrushing and he launched his own chain of mall airbrush stores. His work is routinely featured in magazines and he regularly wins awards at car shows and airbrush competitions.
At the request of Doug Smith, Automotive Body Repair instructor at the Hewes Center, Markham came to the Jamestown area to show local Automotive Body Repair students what they can do if they put they put their minds to it. He brought along several of his most ambitious projects, including his 2000 Toyota Celica "Ice Car," every inch of which has been dramatically transformed both inside and out. During morning and afternoon sessions, Markham designed a decorative car hood that will now adorn a wall of the Automotive Body Repair lab space.
"They really enjoyed the demonstration - not just my own students, but those from many of our other programs here at the Hewes Center. But it was of special value to the Auto Body students because it showed them what they can do with the skills they are developing regardless of whether they pursue a different career path after graduating. It also motivates them and gets them interested and passionate about something, and that's something they can take with them for the rest of their lives," Smith said.