Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thinking Outside of the Can

By Mike “Splash” Burton, Winner of Axalta’s 2015 Paint Outside the Can Competition

The journey started last spring while sitting around my studio, looking for somewhere or something to pour my energy into. I was caught up on my personal projects and I really needed some new inspiration, something that would challenge my mind and take my art skills to a new level. I discovered Axalta was inviting automotive painters from across the United States and Canada to submit their most creative work on an empty, standard, one-gallon paint can. They called the competition "Paint Outside the Can."  I knew right then this was the project I had been looking for.

Mike “Splash” Burton is the winner of Axalta’s 2015 Paint Outside the Can Contest

This was a large contest that would draw some of the best custom painters from all over North America with industry celebrity judges including lowrider-paint specialist Danny "Danny D" Galvez, pinstripe artist Paul Quinn, Mobsteel painter Ron Coan and Pinstripe artist Danny Taylor. I knew my entry had to stand out, but what would it be? After watching my weekly dose of Animal Planet, the ideas started to flow. I figured out exactly what I wanted to create: an industrial tropical aquarium that incorporated different shades of brilliant and vibrant blues.  

Judge and pinstripe artist Paul Quinn helped to crown the winning entry

Although there are many different hues of blue, all of them are appealing and refreshing to me. As the predominant color of the sky, as well as lakes, and oceans, they emit a calming sensation. What’s more enjoyable than sitting in a deck chair staring out into the Atlantic Ocean, or lying on the grass looking up at the sky on a clear sunny day? Blue is one of the most relaxing colors in the spectrum. 

I wanted to bring that feeling to my “aquarium” and with seemingly endless variations of blue, I chose to use Axalta's CFX Basecoat Candy Colors, "Skyrocket and Blue Moon" on my project because of their vibrant color, depth and dimension. These blues really pop and are perfect for creating a deep ocean scene.

Mike “Splash” Burton tried to capture the vibrant color, depth, and dimension of the ocean

No aquarium would be complete without a bubbling blue filter, but I had no experience creating bubbles before. I went through “practice rounds” working with clay molds to craft a sculpture of bubbles and water that would spill out of the can. After I was happy with my final mock-up, I set to work on a custom "Laser Blue" candy waterfall using clear resin. I thought, “Why should I stop there?” So I also concealed blue LED lighting into the resin to give it that wow-factor.

After a few months and nearly 70 hours of labor later "Pipeline Paradise" was completed and ready to be shown. The judges must have loved the blues just as much as I did because they picked my can as the competition’s winner!

For a closer look of my winning entry, click here.

About Mike “Splash” Burton
Mike "Splash" Burton has been airbrushing, pinstriping, and gold leafing in the automotive industry since 2008 and is the owner and operator of Color Splash Creations, a custom paint studio located in Newark, Delaware. Numerous industry magazines have featured his work. Mike has also ventured into the prosthetics industry where he provides patients with high-end artwork that helps to boost self-esteem, pride, and courage.  Mike is the winner of Axalta’s “Paint Outside the Can” contest.