ADMIN NOTE: With Canadian races looming on the INDYCAR schedule, we thought we’d check in some of our favorite helmet designers, Art Rotondo, and how they spent their time at the recent Formula One race in Montreal (I hope they stayed dry). Check it out.
For the first time ever in Grand-Prix history, there was an artistic partner associated with an event. The event was the 2011 edition of the Canadian GP in Montreal, Quebec Canada. ArtRotondo.com was in charge of creating unique hand drawn portraits of each of the 24 drivers on this year’s grid. Each of these portraits were placed on top of each driver’s garage, a unique and innovative concept we brought to life.
There was also official ArtRotondo.com stands located throughout the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve where fans had the chance to meet Art in person, visualize some of his original works and shop his limited edition print line. This was a tremendous weekend for the ArtRotondo.com group, along with this event were many media appearances on different TV stations which also propelled this truly fantastic moment in motorsport artwork history.
The following pictures depict a few of these works throughout the weekend.
Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel
You can view more posts from ArtRotondo and the creative work they do for our INDYCAR drivers, HERE.
What do you think of bringing more art into the racing experience?
After a few races into the exhilarating 2011 IndyCar season, the helmets keep on coming out of the ArtRotondo.com shop. For the first time the ArtRotondo.com company is painting the helmets for IndyCar fan favorite Vitor Meira. For the occasion we came up with a few new designs for the Brazilian. We jazzed up his old design by giving it more life and to more suit Vitor’s personality. These are the first of many helmets of Vitor’s to come.
New look for Vitor
May 1st 2011 will be the IndyCar’s series stop in Sao Paolo, Brasil for the 4th round of the 2011 season. Sadly this day also marks the celebration of life of undoubtedly the finest racing driver ever to have lived on this earth, Ayrton Senna. For the occasion both Vitor Meira and the ArtRotondo.com group came up with the idea to mark this grandiose occasion by paying tribute to him. With that in mind, we made Vitor’s usual design but modified with the Brazilian flag stars and most importantly the back of the helmet is a montage of some of Ayrton’s most memorable racing moments. Each one of these moments was entirely hand painted by Art Rotondo himself. After growing up in an Ayrton Senna influenced household all of our lives, due to our father’s Brasilian origin, it was truly inspiring for us here at ArtRotondo.com to pay tribute to Ayrton but as well to our passed father. We hope the fans in Brasil will enjoy this tribute to a champion and the immense emotions involved with this piece of art the ArtRotondo.com company created and that the IndyCar fans here in North America will do the same and take a minute of remembrance for the greatest racer of all time.
Inspired by Senna
IndyCar rookie Sebastian Saavedra will be in his very 1st full time Indycar season and for the occasion we spiced up his 2011 helmets by putting more clean cut emphasis on his native Colombian flag at the back of the helmet to give the overall more mature look to better suit his current Conquest Racing ride.
Saavedra with a new look
Keep checking back Indycar.com’s blog for our special Indy 500 themed blog which will capture all of our drivers special Indy 500 themed helmets.
As we get started on 2011, a lot of things have happened over the last 12 months at JLF Designs. The helmet painting industry has been moving at an amazing pace and lots of new styles have emerged and even though I’ve been painting for 20 years, I have enjoyed my work more than ever thanks to some great projects with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Dan Wheldon and E.J. Viso who always brings us designs that are a challenge – and I love a challenge!
One of Viso's many designs
Now that the IZOD IndyCar Series has finished we haven’t got any IndyCar driver helmets at the workshop, so I’ve posted some pictures of the painting process on one of Ernesto Viso’s helmets.
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.
E.J. Viso's SCARECROWd Helmet
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.
We would like to thank everyone who submitted their designs for the 2010 Helmet Design Contest! The winner is number 5, designed by Danielle Figel:
Helmet Design WINNER!
Danielle will receive a replica helmet, a team hat and shirt and autograph hero card. The helmet will now be recreated in a 3-Dimensional format for final prep, then sent to the painter! The helmet will debut at the Homestead-Miami Race on October 2nd for the Miami Indy 300 (the IZOD IndyCar Series finale). Again, we at Sarah Fisher Racing would like to thank everyone for their efforts in this, in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, helping raise the awareness of breast cancer.
IZOD IndyCar Series fans will have the opportunity to design the helmet Sarah Fisher will wear in the season finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 2nd.
Sarah in action at Chicagoland
For the second year in a row, Sarah Fisher and Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) is going pink for the Susan G. Komen foundation.
The workshop at JLF Designs has been as busy as ever with more IndyCar helmets being painted for Dan Wheldon and E.J. Viso. Two helmets have been recently painted for Dan with one featuring a design combining his main sponsors NOS energy drink and National Guard which has a camo design which is very time-consuming to paint! Each of the tiny blocks is laid on as masks so that the next color can be sprayed over the top and the process is repeated until all three colours are done. Then it can take over an hour just for the masks to be removed. There are no short-cuts in helmet paintwork!
Wheldon's camo design
Brothers, Mauro and Art Rotondo own and operate ArtRotondo.com. This dynamic duo is based out of Montreal and specializes in the art of motorsport helmet design.
Graham Rahal's Helmet for the Mid-Ohio Race
We have quite a roster of IRL drivers under our brand, one of our first- Graham Rahal- is always looking for the most unique and stylish helmets out there. This weekend’s Mid-Ohio Race marks the home race for Rahal. For the occasion, ArtRotondo.com actually kicked it old school by paying tribute to Graham’s father Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, by painting his helmet in his father’s original colors. Who thought a few shapes on a helmet could make so much of an impact? In a sport where helmets are getting busier from race to race, it’s nice to come back to down to basics and create this great tribute. Hopefully this helmet will bring Graham the luck needed to be first to cross the finish line this Sunday.
QuickTrim colors for the Sonoma Race
After an entire season of sponsorship uncertainty for Rahal, the great people at QuickTrim came through and decided to come on board with Rahal to sponsor the rest of his racing season starting at the Sonoma race. For the occasion, the ArtRotondo.com company made sure to incorporate their unique corporate colors into Graham’s helmets.
Cartoon Rahal Design
Each of our helmets is unique its own way right down to the custom painted cartoon Graham on each helmet top even suited up in his QuickTrim suit! These helmets were a blast to work on and hope they will bring Graham the extra boost to bring the QuickTrim car to victory lane!
“EJ Viso is a long-time friend and customer of the team at JLF Designs and likes to use different themes for his helmet designs which relate to the track the helmet will be used at. His cousin Juanco is a designer working in Milan, Italy and he comes up with the ideas for the designs which we then translate into the painted artwork.
E.J. Viso's Nature Inspired Helmet Art
For the Canada races, EJ wanted a design that reflected the nature of the venues from a completely different perspective so Juanco went to work on some ideas and came up with a design featuring the Canadian Danaus Plexippus butterfly. Here’s his explanation of the inspiration behind the design:
Juanco:“Danaus plexippus / evolution baby: this precise family of butterfly is the National insect of Canada, that’s why we thought it would blend perfect on the Canadian scene. After all, to win, one has to move fast and alert on rainy Toronto and almost fly over the bumpy and tricky tracks of Edmonton…As a final detail we added the caterpillar that curls shaping the number 8…good metaphor for EJ’s Indy career evolution…”
Figure Eight Caterpillar
We set to work on the paintwork and the task of making the Butterfly fit the helmet shape without too much distortion. As the colours went on it became obvious that the solid shapes of the original design looked a little flat and not very lifelike so I used some rough airbrush texturing to give the colours a soft transition between the colours. Then when the paintwork was finished I used a gloss base for the white and a matt finish for the butterfly to give a contrast between the two, and to give the butterfly the soft, powdery look they have.
Wings for E.J.Viso