Pinstriping skull design by Freddy Alfaro

March 14, 2018

Focus. Skill. Precision. Freddy Alfaro is mastery at work. With several different steps to complete one project, the amazing art of pinstriping is a hard skill to learn. It requires patience, an artistic eye, and some stone-cold steady hands. This paint-based art style is unique in that you can put it on just about anything, but this ability doesn’t appear overnight; it takes years of practice, drawing lines again and again until you can get them just right. So, how is it done? Lucky for us, Freddy was nice enough to let a film crew catch him in the studio while he worked on his next masterpiece.

Freddy starts off strong with one of the most crucial steps in the process: Concept. Freehanding a new idea before starting on the actual paint-based part of the project helps to warm up the mind’s creativity, get your hands flowing, and set the project’s vision. Of course there are hundreds of ways to pinstripe, from thin brushwork and templating to high-end suites like Photoshop or InDesign, but if all of that is brushed aside, we are left with a pencil, a notebook or piece of paper, and raw artistic talent.

Once Freddy is finished with the concept, he jumps over to the tech side through Illustrator, a smart and professional way to fine tune artistic ideas and get the project off the page and into motion. This is a perfect symmetry of both worlds, using high-end programming with an imaginative eye to make sure that everything is flawless. You can see his process and the amazing transformation of this awesome skull-stamped blade from computer screen to hand-held object at 00:20 through 00:24. With this much-seasoned expertise, the project is seamless from start to finish.  

Though many of Freddy’s projects are customized by hand on paper or by electronic brush in a program, he doesn’t just leave the job up to pinstriping. Adding the art of airbrush to the mix makes any item of pride shine even brighter. This is done through a taping technique, where instead of using pens or a slanted Mac Sword Striper Brush, Freddy uses extremely thin, flexible tape that can peel off of any surface just as well as it sticks onto it.

Many pinstripe artists will use a special kind of tape that acts as a decal, meaning there is no paint involved in the process and the tape sets permanently on the object. This is especially popular in auto body shops, where old school Chevys, Mustangs, and Impalas get decked-out in one-of-a-kind patterns. But Freddy’s style stands out. Instead of using permanent decal tape, he crafts his own temporary pinstriping and stenciled designs with semi-permanent tape and cutout boards, then carefully airbrushes the color over the lines and stencils. This requires just as still of a hand as the pinstriping does. With a stroke of the airbrush, Freddy is able to effortlessly guide the flow of paint precisely over the small lines of tape, leaving no breaks in the design. He keeps his lines still by holding the airbrush in one hand while his other hand supports the palm that paints, keeping everything perfectly smooth. When all of the lines are dry he peels the adhesive off, resulting in tight satisfying stripes and one crazy cool finish. Check out the process at 00:52.

Though Freddy is a contemporary pinstriper and painter, the art itself has been around for over one hundred years. Even before automotives came into fashion in the early 20th century, the art of pinstriping had it beat by centuries, painting the classically thin lines on fire carriages, doors, books, and anything else that could be stylized. Some versions of the art are even seen in ancient tribal rituals, where the art was a sign of strength and support for one’s circle of friends, family, and home.

Today, the meaning behind the fluid art style of pinstriping is still as classic as ever. This artistic tradition represents pride, loved ones, and shows respect for belongings that are well-made and last for generations. It takes time to learn and practice the invaluable skill of creativity, and we at CityLocs are proud to have Freddy’s amazing artistic eye and major-league talent in our family. Check out more by pinstriping boss Freddy Alfaro on our website and turn your CityLocs purchase into an irreplaceable, customized work of art!