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Spotlight on Mathias Airbrushing and Marilyn Monroe

What imagine pops into your head when you hear the name Marilyn Monroe? For me it was always her iconic “flying skit” image. I say it “was” that image, because it changed once I met Mathias Fobian from Mathias Airbrushing in Austin, TX (more images of Mathias's artwork is availalbe here).

Mathias is the man behind one of my all time favorite pieces of art created with LumiLor, the Marilyn Monroe motorcycle tank. At first it does not appear to be anything more than an airbrushed image of Marilyn Monroe. Phenomenal artwork for sure, but enough to eclipse the iconic “flying skit” image? Maybe not, at least not until you illuminate the LumiLor light up paint under the artwork, that’s when the fun begins.

Marilyn Monroe - LumiLor on

With the flip of a switch the image of Marilyn transforms from glamorous to macabre as an illuminated skull and bones radiate from beneath the paint. Hearing the ‘ooohhhs’ and ‘aahhhhs’ of those seeing it for the first time only multiplies the effect.

Mathias has always been interested in having light be an experiential aspect of his artwork. When we were talking about how he discovered LumiLor, Mathias got chills as he recalled his experience. He was hunting for LumiLor on the internet. More accurately he was hoping for LumiLor on the internet since he did not know electroluminescent paint existed. And then, through a series of searches and clicks, he found LumiLor and he recalls how he immediately thought to himself “That’s it! That’s what I’ve been searching for.”

And now that he found it, Mathias is wasting no time creating with LumiLor. “I don’t want anyone to think they know what will happen” is the mindset of Mathias and a theme that echoes across his LumiLor projects. Consider two recent undertakings he has completed.

His Lord of the Rings themed motorcycle is an incredible piece of art on its own. The details, the representation of the story and the characters, and the customization for the owner are easy to appreciate. But there is a surprise lurking below the airbrushing, an unexpected element to the motorcycle. The artwork on the front fender is painted over LumiLor which provides an entire new dimension to the art when it is animated with light.

The Texas Longhorn themed motorcycle is a fantastic example of how Mathias does not force LumiLor into a project but instead uses LumiLor to enhance what is already there. I like to think that baseball legend Roger Clemens really likes this motorcycle. Not just because of its homage to the Longhorns, mascot of his alma mater The University of Texas, but also because it’s his motorcycle 😀

Talking to Mathias about the possibilities of LumiLor is so much fun because he has such genuine enthusiasm for what he does and he loves experimenting with new ideas and technologies. Mathias immediately started dreaming of what he could do with LumiLor when I told him about touch capacitive technology.

Mathias is currently working on some fun projects with LumiLor in his shop. He has the Marilyn tank, a Frankenstein image, and some other pieces on display and he’s working on making them interactive so Marilyn lights up or Frankenstein moans when someone trips a motion sensor. It’s always about light as an experience with Mathias.

Mathias Airbrushing is also the home away from home for our infamous LumiLor Dragon Bike. This was our first showpiece with LumiLor and it holds a special place in the history and evolution of the product and the company. The Dragon Bike is currently at Mathias’s shop in Austin, TX, we shipped it down their for South By Southwest and also to have on hand when we conducted some training classes at Mathias’s place. See the man in the framed photo hanging on the wall in the image below? That’s Andy Zsinko, creator of LumiLor.

Mathias’s artwork has not only changed the way I imagined Marilyn Monroe but also changed the way I imagine the possibilities of LumiLor. Thank you Mathias.

What will you create with LumiLor?

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