Turning protective equipment into a work of art
Marcus Pfeil guides his airbrush gun across the black surface of the welding helmet with the utmost concentration and millimetre-precision. The artist repeatedly layers various colours, from red and orange to yellow, until blazing flames emerge on the dark background. “Sparks certainly fly during welding,” he grins. And this artwork leaves no doubt about that. Marcus Pfeil is no newcomer to the airbrush scene. Car and motorbike enthusiasts, to name just some of his client base, come to his studio in the Austrian town of Ried im Innkreis to have their “pride and joy” decorated with an individual design. Together with his company, he also designs banners and signs and embellishes the façades of buildings and other objects. Even helmets are a familiar sight in his studio: Pfeil’s customers also include international skiing stars who seek to transform their head protection into unmistakable trademarks.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL AND REMARKABLY REALISTIC
Pfeil has been using airbrush technology since 1992. Liquid acrylic paint is atomised with the aid of a compressed-air gun and applied in numerous, thin layers. This enables him to achieve exceptionally fine colour gradients, which are essential for photorealistic painting. Even the flames on the Fronius welding helmet appear to be three-dimensional and remarkably realistic. “This effect results from the interplay of the various layers of colours on top of one another,” explains the artist. A final layer of clear varnish gives the image extra shine and enhances the colours. “In essence, airbrushing and welding are not that different – both require skill, precision and a steady hand,” notes Axel Obermayer, a marketing employee at Fronius Perfect Welding who initiated the collaboration with Marcus Pfeil. The artist is designing a total of five helmets for Fronius, all completely based on his own ideas. The artworks will be on display for the first time at the Schweissen & Schneiden trade fair in Düsseldorf – a real eye-catcher for all visitors!