The designs come from his cousin Juan Carlos in Milan and this is the information we work from on all of EJs’ helmets. We try to keep to the original concept as closely as possible, but we have the final say on colors, effects, etc. as designs often evolve along the painting process. As a helmet progresses we often think of additional touches and paint techniques that will enhance Juan Carlos’s designs.
The first step is to prep & primer-coat the helmet surface, so that the paint will key to the shell and stand up to the battering the helmets take during a race. Each section of the design is masked off and the colors are then airbrushed in one at a time.
A helmet design can have anything from 2 color changes to 30 or 40.
Complex sections are cut-out by hand and one section can sometimes take hours to do. The color is applied and then that time-consuming mask is taken straight back off again!
This design was quite complex with a lot of color changes and shading detail necessary to give the helmet the mad scarecrow look that EJ was looking for.
The airbrush painting side of the business has been creating a lot of interest lately and I’ve included a picture of an IndyCar Series night race which I recently painted. It’s taken from a 2006 race with Dan Wheldon leading the way – although it’s difficult to tell with the cars being so small!