Kerry Buckley of K & M Signs has been featured in Airbrush Artist Magazine,
•Featured in Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Magazine, March 2008
Below is a reprint of an article that appeared in Wing World Magazine
Pinstriper of the Month: WingWorld Magazine
Kerry Buckley started his art career as a custom car painter, spending almost 20 years in this business! While working for an antique car restoration shop in the early 70s, he met an elderly pinstriper from Germany whose skills and techniques were fascinating. Encouraged, Kerry bought his first brushes and some paint, determined to learn.
"I practiced every night for an hour. Those first efforts were pretty rough! It turned out to be a lot harder than it looked and I practiced for quite a while before I actually started getting paid for my work."
It is fortunate Kerry began pinstriping because a severe car accident changed everything for him. Hit by a drunk driver and no longer able to work in the auto body trade, Kerry began an apprenticeship with a veteran sign painter who taught him hand lettering and gold leaf.
Eventually, Kerry went into business for himself. His first business for himself. His first business, Buckley Signs, evolved into K & M Signs, Inc., after he went into partnership with Mary Ellen Maddalena. While their original business plan focused on computer-cut signs for industry, the partnership found the greatest demand was for custom hand-painted artwork, especially motorcycle artwork. Currently, 85 percent of their business is hand-painted work.
"We have expanded our presence on the rally circuit steadily each year, and have gained a loyal following, " Kerry says. "We offer traditional pinstripe designs as well as our specialties: graphic packages, faux finishes and 23-karat gold and silver leaf inlaid striping. Faux finish, one of the graphic options Kerry developed during the slower winter months, includes painting marble finish and wood grain to stimulate the popular wood grain dashes. He learned these painting techniques during his apprenticeship at the sign shop and adapted them to motorcycle art.
Kerry's style in striping tends toward fine lines and elegant, classical design. Another specialty is flames; his artwork on hot rods necessitated learning how to render the perfect flame.
"I really understand paint, clear coats, and color from my years as a custom auto painter. AT K & M Signs, Inc. Mary Ellen and I work with other custom painters to put together entire paint jobs. I recently designed and airbrushed a custom bike to look like the galaxy, with stars,nebulae, and moonscape on the tank."
Kerry has increased his work with an airbrush, decorating jackets, vests, and helmets as well as bikes. He also airbrushes fine art pieces on clayboard during the winter. He continues to take classes and works with a fine art teacher in airbrush as well as oils to sharpen his techniques. "I am always interested in learning new things as well as honing the skills I already have. That's what it takes to be, and stay, competitive."
When a customer comes to Kerry to have work done, he listens carefully to what they have to say, then devotes time and thought to creating a design that will reflect the rider and complement the motorcycle's lines and styling. Kerry believes color choice is of major importance, and he spends extra time going over choices with his customers. "I have a portfolio they can use for ideas, and I always have display panels at the rallies so they can see completed designs in various colors. When we first started K & M Signs, we decided customer service was to be our cornerstone, and it still is."
Concerning the 2002 GL 1800 colors, Kerry says, "the Illusion Red. Illusion Blue and Pearl Orange colors are similar to colors I used to work with in the world of hot rod car painting. Double overlapping pinstripe flames work well on the big cruiser bikes, and this style is very well suited to the GL 1800."