Airbrush artist shows off skills
As he demonstrated some of his techniques recently at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center’s Auto Body Program he told students what he has learned throughout his career.
“When I graduated high school I was a gas station attendant,” he said. “It was a horrible job. It paid little and I had to go out in all sorts of weather and pump gas and check oil and I hated it. Then one day I was at Lake George and I watched this guy airbrushing t-shirts. He made more in a half hour than I made in two weeks. I have always been good at drawing and doodling and I thought why can’t I do that.”
He then told teacher Tom Struebing and his students how he slowly built up his clientele and reputation by buying a car and taking it to several shows and at each show he would paint a little bit of it to show his skills.
“Before I knew it people were asking what kind of products I used and I had requests to paint cars, trucks, motorcycles and toilet seats,” he said. “Laughing her says, ‘Some people have very strange senses of humor.’ But if they are willing to pay me, I will paint pretty much anything.”
He said the most important thing you can do to build a career is to market yourself.
“I would rather spend my money on marketing than rent,” said Markham. “The more your name is out there and people can see your work, the more money you will make.“
Markham said he always had people ask if he taught and when Ohio Technical College approached him about teaching a class in their Automotive program he decided to do it.
“I like showing people that anyone can do this. You don’t have to be an artist,” he said. “You just have to learn the techniques and try to be the best. Because that is where the money is at is when you master these techniques.”
Ohio Technical College Eastern Regional Admissions Manager Russell Demme said that companies are willing to do what it takes to get trained graduates to come work for them.
“BMW looks for graduates who have at least a 90 percent average and 98 percent attendance rate and of course a clean driving record,” said Demme. “They will hire those people at top salary and send them for additional training for free. It is not unusual for most places to offer $25 to $30 an hour. So many companies are looking for workers with high work ethic and work level and they will get compensated. ”
At the end of his visit Thomas Lodwick III, a senior in Struebing’s class, was awarded with a $25,000 scholarship to attend Ohio Technical Institute.
“I am really proud of him,” said Struebing. “He is a great student and he has a real passion for this. He will begin classes in July and he is really excited.”
To learn more about the Auto Body program or any other career and technical education program at Orleans/Niagara BOCES go to their website at www.onboces.org.