December 18, 2009

Grex Airbrush // Review

It was pretty awesome of C.C Lowell in Worcester, MA to ask me to try out their new Grex Airbrush kit.

At first I was embarrassed, "... Uh.. you know I've never used one before? heh..." The extent of my airbrush knowledge was pressing the "ON" switch of Andy's Badger air compressor.  But as it turns out, that is a plus in reviewing how easy the system is for a n00b.

ASSEMBLY // The system is super easy to put together.  Plug in.  Connect cord from the compressor to a small valve, and valve to air gun.  DONE.   

The compressor uses 'selective air flow' which means it only makes noise when you use it.  It's awesome!  Most compressors go "WWWWRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHWWWW" loud enough to make your neighbors think there's an inter-dimensional portal in your house.  This one is very quiet, and even silent when you stop painting!

enamel on natural leather is waterproof!

PAINTING // I tested this machine on a pair of custom shoes I was commisioned to emblazen with SHE-HULK {Rock on in those Steve, by the by}  These shoes were matte leather so all I did was pour the green enamel in the cup attachment and start it up.

The first time no paint came out; and after a short trouble-shooting session, the problem was that I didn't connect the cord tight enough and needed to open the air flow valve (which was just fail common sense on my end)

The air gun has a variety of ways to adjust air pressure + paint flow, giving you great varying line widths.  It takes practice but you can get it down in about an hour.

the result


The machine is quiet, easy to clean and compact... and it looks hot. {for an air compressor}

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WHO IS THIS FOR? //  A $400 airbrush system is only for die-hards and businesses, but it's worth it.

Consider getting this machine if you : work in custom apparel + shoes, do auto-detailing, have a cake-decorating business, run a beauty salon, are painting in a large studio with other artists + you all share one, work in special effects, create silkscreens + stencil art, or are creating vinyl toys.

Now I know what you're thinking... "Airbrush is for guys stuck in the 70s who paint wizards on their vans"

Airbrushing doesn't have to be associated with these :

USES //   Airbrushing can be used for lots of things!

paper, canvas + leather; model kits, vinyl + plastic toys, customizing hats, bags + shoes; painting wood + furniture; make-up + special effects application; decorating cakes + other food; detailing cars, motorcycles + metal-working; etc...

Kaiju Big Battel limited edition vinyl toys
{which we featured at the Pop Euphoria show last year}

evenly glaze or paint confections!

Famous makeup-artist Rick Baker is a master with this stuff

{What Popeye would look like in real life}

ETC // Notes

The benefits to using an airbrush is the 'hand-less' quality of the paint.  With no visible brush strokes, the paint job looks almost mechanically perfect. 

My favorite part of using an airbrush is actually going in after the first layer has dried, working over it with paint pens, inks + other dyes.  I love combining the "mechanical perfection" with hand-drawn elements.  But I also just love mixed media artwork, since using one media over and over makes me feel stifled.


  1. Damn that shoe looks awesome. I would love to buy it if I needed it. LOL!

  2. LOOOOL the vansssssssssss

    My Mom used to paint toy vans all airbrushy & 70;s style. Good times~

    I had a friend in college who got one of the awful LOUD machines so the fact this one is quiet is good to hear.

    I didn't realize Popeye was a scary ass zombie IRL!