Taff Stephens began airbrushing after seeing the airbrush artists in Florida painting on T Shirts around the Gulf Coast. He was mesmerized, and he knew that he wanted to learn how to do that somehow. So he went to the local Hobby Shop back in Georgia, and started practicing at home. And at the local mall, there was a woman that hand painted Auto Tags. And she had an airbrush shirt in the glass case at her booth. Taff was 14 yrs old at the time, and he showed her his work. Well, she actually had some other Airbrush Shirts there and she let him take them home with him to use as reference. And that really helped him to get up to speed with the level of quality that it takes to make money with his airbrush equipment. Taff soon began taking orders for Airbrush T Shirts from the mall with a portfolio that he had put together. Well, after being completely obsessed with airbrushing throughout High School, he got to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Pigeon Forge with his best friend's family. It was a "Rod Run" and there were custom cars everywhere. This was a mind blowing experience to say the least. And to say that Taff and his best friend were into automobiles and automotive paint as 16 year olds was a serious understatement. Taff's friend's father had an automotive shop at his home, and we began to learn a bit about automotive painting. And his friend began working at a local paint and body shop after school to save some money. Well, this is were Taff learned from his friend about the different types of Automotive Paints, and the professional clear coating process. So this led to purchasing more equipment and customizing any part on his automobiles that the paint would stick to. And after High School, he began going to the Airbrush events in Atlanta, Georgia and even in Las Vegas. Some money was made and Taff got to see how people reacted to airbrushing. As he has said, its a great craft and trade to learn. But soon after this, the computer showed up on the scene and changed a lot of this field and the Sign Painting world. Some people packed up and gave up with vinyl lettering replacing a lot of the hand painted signs and advertising. Taff knew that computer art was going to be a big industry. So in 1996, he moved to Dallas, Texas and began to study "Computer Animation" for a career choice. As Taff says, it was a great experience that has helped his Airbrush Career. And he worked in the field for quiet a few years. But he began to realize some of the down sides to this market as it exploded onto the Movie Screens. Artists were becoming "Knob Turners" just like when the production line was invented by Henry Ford. The market was flooded with people wanting to be computer artists. This is a field where you have to send out your "Demo Tape" to companies around the country. And sit and constantly update your portfolio while the computer programs seemed to change every six months. It was a lot like being in a band and trying to get signed to a record deal. So Taff made a decision to resign and go back to where it all began. He decided to start his very own airbrush company in Georgia. Well, starting his own business was a very eye opening experience. He said that it has helped him to meet a lot of people and travel to many places around the country. The satisfaction that it brings to see the look on people's faces and their reactions makes everything worth the while.
These days the airbrush industry has continued to change with the addition of technologies. The computer has helped the airbrush artist immensely. But a lot of people seem to have forgotten that Airbrush artists still exist with abilities to create complete thoughts with artwork. I spend a lot of time at "Car Shows" having people ask my clients, "Is that a vinyl wrap".... And they explained to them that it's airbrushed. And they say, "You mean someone painted every one of these flames and art designs"? But believe it or not, there is still room for both fields. There is enough work to go around for everyone. So we stay busy doing what we love and growing our business.
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