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What does an Airbrush Artist do?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2016
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Some artists paint with bristle, sable or synthetic brushes, and other artists use air. The airbrush artist is a painter who uses, in simple terms, a precision paint sprayer that is powered by compressed air. Airbrush artists use their air-powered brushes to create a wide variety of artistic works on T-shirts, motorcycle and hockey helmets, canvas and a multitude of other surfaces. They work in watercolor and other paints, in dyes and inks and even in makeup foundation. Beginners starting out in certain professional fields might use stencils, but freehand painting is the method of many masters in the art.

An airbrush artist might paint for his or her own creative satisfaction or as a profession. Professional airbrush artists work in a variety of fields. They might decorate the human body for a living. They work at children's birthday parties and other events carefully airbrushing temporary tattoos and body art on children and adults. Some have airbrush tattoo shops where clients come to them for their services.

Professional makeup artists in film, television, modeling and other high-profile realms use airbrushing to make actors and models more attractive for cameras. Airbrush fingernail artists create patterns and designs on the fingernails of clients at nail salons and spas, normally using stencils. They also airbrush designs on false fingernails.

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Airbrush artists work commercially decorating cars and trucks, painting pictures on boats and creating designs on motorcycles and other vehicles. Other airbrush artists paint pictures on canvases or murals on walls. Some work in advertising, for magazines and elsewhere as graphic designers utilizing their airbrushing skills. They create art for ads and retouch photos and negatives for publications. Some airbrush artists are self-employed, and others work for someone else.

Working lives of airbrush artists will vary depending on the industry in which they work. Weekends and evenings might be the usual working hours for an airbrush artist applying tattoos at parties and events, for example. He or she will travel to the client's event location, bringing a selection of tattoo stencils from which clients can choose. The tattoo artist might spend hours airbrushing tattoos, using special body inks on dozens of people.

The airbrush artist who produces commissioned or original pieces might enjoy a more solitary day. He or she often will work from a home or other studio that is set up with the supplies needed for airbrushing. Other tasks that a typical day might involve could be adding new pieces for sale to an Internet website and talking to art studios and retailers about carrying his or her work. Meeting with clients who wish to commission pieces also might be part of a normal day for this type of airbrush artist.

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