Peterson Brothers Colour Factory
PETERSON BROTHERS COLOUR FACTORY - Back in the early 90's my brother Paul and I raced motocross. We weren't the best riders in the world, or locally for that matter, but we loved to ride and race. Every weekend we would travel to the local race tracks in and around Upstate NY and battle with other racers. We had a great time and met alot of wonderful people.
We supported our race addiction by custom painting helmets in the off season, This helped pay for our bikes and gear. At that time, custom painted helmets were huge thanks to Troy Lee Designs. At first everyone thought that we were spoiled rich kids because we always had beautiful helmets. We figured that, since we weren't very fast, at least we would look fast on the track. As soon as people realized that we did the work ourselves, they would comission us to paint their helmets.
I wish I had taken pictures back then, but the first helmet I painted was a Bell Moto 3. I was probably in 8th or 9th grade at the time. It was Flo-Orange, white, and blue. I also painted Spiderman on it. It wasn't very good. Then I repainted the helmet maroon, white, and gunmetal gray and painted one of my own characters on it The Grunk riding a YZ. I had a fasicination with Yamahas back in the day. Still do, but more of the classic YZ's, not the Blue ones. Things started to change was when I worked at Cliff's Body Shop. Cliff was awesome and totally supported the art of custom paint. The painter in the shop, Dave Renco showed me alot of techniques and how to mix paint. But what really set the wheels in motion was a popular custom painter and pin striper in the area named Dave Davies. He would come in to Cliff's and pinstripe the cars. He was amazing. I went to see him about custom painting my new Moto 5 helmet at the time. I was surprised and disappointed when he refused to do it. I couldn't believe it, and there was no one else in the area who did custom painting. At least this style. I looked into sending it to Troy Lee, and some of the other painters on the West Coast but I just could not afford it. Hell, I was in High School and working only a few hours a day. That's when I decided to paint my own helmets. My first attempt was a disaster, I didn't understood paint compatibility and the paint ran, and crackled under the clear coat. My 2nd attempt was simple, clean, and came out nice. It actually turned alot of heads and people began to take me serious with my work. When my brother Paul came back from school at Wyoming Tech, he taught me all the skills that he learned there. One technique that he showed me, and that we still do today and sets us apart from the rest of the painters in the area, was clearing the helmet, sanding it smooth, and clearing it again. This made the helmets look like glass. In January of 1992 we decided to open shop. It was short lived do to the increasing technology of helmets coming from the factories with decals that made the helmets look custom. This eventually killed off alot of the custom painting craze. Also, my brother and I decided to attend college in the fall of 1993. We are still frequently asked to paint things. Whether it's guitar's, bikes, or vehicles. We will paint it.
The Hurricane Guitar
One of my favorite Motocross racers is Bob Hurricane Hannah. I had an idea of painting my Yamaha guitar to resemble his Championship bike from the Seventies. The yellow and black paint scheme is still my favorite for Yamaha's
I actually got to meet Mr. Hannah once. My brother Paul and I were at a friends dealership, Ed Downing Cycles showing off our helmets, and Bob Hannah was a special guest. That was one of the best days of my life.
1st good paint job upclose
Altieri's Tow Truck
This is one of the biggest projects that my brother and I ever took on. I was home for Winter recess from RIT (98), and I was asked by Anthony Altieri to design the graphics for their new tow truck. We have known the Altieri family for a long time. Anthony's sister, Anna Marie, is the author of Ribbet the Frog. Well, after the painter at the time didn't feel comfortable painting the design, my brother Paul and I took on the task of completing it. The only problem was time. It was during the winter months and they needed the truck for Emergency towing on the NYS Thruway. We had a total of 3 days to complete it. We worked for over 24hrs straight on this thing and we finished it.
I will never forget the workers in the shop telling us that we were crazy, and why would we flame a tow truck. Not to mention painting the hood with satin black paint. I can still hear them laughing. Now a days almost everything can be purchased in Satin black.
That following summer the tow truck won 1st place for most beautiful truck.
The Pumkin Head
The Pumkin Head helmet is probably my favorite helmet of all time. I had so much fun creating this. For the longest time I wanted to do a project, whether it was a helmet or a bike, in 3D. Not many people are open to the idea. A guy I worked with at Adirondack Beverages, Brian Fronk asked me to paint his snowmobile helmet. He wanted a pumpkin design, and gave me the go ahead to do whatever I wanted. I love it when clients give you that freedom. The first thing I did was buy a real pumpkin and took off the stalk. We dried it out, soaked it in resin, and attached it to the top of the helmet. This became the foundation for the whole design. Next I used Duraglass, and Body filler to shape the ridges, and I then carved out the Jack O' Lantern face. After it was painted I placed yellow reflective tape in the eyes and mouth, so as the lights of other snowmobiles reflect off it at night, the face glows.
Let's just say when he saw it for the first time, he was blown away.
Celtic Bike & Helmet
This was also for a fellow employee from Adirondack.. He originally smashed his bike, and when Harley fixed it they replaced all the metal with new pre-painted parts. So he asked me if I could repair and paint the old parts. He also gave me the go ahead and do whatever I wanted. The only thing that he asked was that he wanted it to have a Celtic theme.
I Gold Leafed everything. This was to be my base. After laying down the Celtic Knots, which made my eyes go wacky, I sprayed Candy Greens and Yellows to obtain the bright vibrant colors of the emerald Island itself. I also added some flames, in which I outlined in Candy Orange to give it a classic feel. Originally he wanted the Leprechaun on the gas tank, but I decided to place it on the helmet. I felt there was enough designs on the tank and the leprechaun would be to busy.
Last I knew, Brian the bikes owner, moved to North Carolina and he never did have the parts put on the bike. Kind of a shame. I would have loved to see it complete.
I was asked to paint a Ghost Rider helmet. And up until I saw the actual helmet I was just going to do a 2D paint scheme of the skull. But that all changed when I saw how the helmets face shield opened in 3 different ways. Instantly I envisioned a 3D skull. I had fun with this. I sculpted the skull out of clay and the made a mold. Next I cast the pieces in fiberglass resin and bolted the parts to the face shield. The parts can be removed at will and the eyes light up. Then I engulfed the helmet in firery flames.
One day I get a call from my brother Paul. He was all excited and asked me if I would help him paint a replica of the 1966 Batmobile. He met the owner of the car, Chris DeFalco at a car show, and the car was only in primer. Instantly I agreed to help him. The Batmobile is by far, one of my favorite cars. The only issue we had was that we only had a day to do it. Chris didn't feel comfortable leaving the car in an unfamiliar place overnight. I wouldn't either. We completed it within 12- 15 hrs.
Somewhere I have photos of us working on it. When I find them I will put them up.
Kicking it Old School
I placed this section at the bottom, only because I plan on uploading more vintage photos of the helmets that we designed and painted over the first few years of Peterson Brothers. One of my proudest moments I remember back then, was looking in Motocross Action Magazine, and seeing a photo of the starting gate at Unadilla. There had to be about 5 riders wearing our helmet designs. I know I saved it somewhere, and if I find it I will add it to the site.
There are alot of helmets out there that my brother and I painted. Unfortunately, I never took the time in those days to have proper photos taken of each helmet. And if it wasn't for my mother telling me to get a picture of them, I wouldn't have any at all. She probably took most of the pictures herself, and I thank her for it. If you notice, most of the helmet pictures were taken on my parents back deck. I was always in to much of a hurry to do it, and at times I still am. So let this be a lesson to anyone out there creating art. Take the time to take quality photos. Otherwise you will regret it in the long run.
I would also like to thank my mother and father for all their support. Anytime Paul and I stayed into the wee hours of the mornings painting, or anything else for that matter, my father and mother were always there bringing us food and coffee. They're unwavering support is un matched.
THANK YOU MOM & DAD.
Wish I had a good close up of this design. My favorite
Mad Dawg - Brother Ronnie's sled. Cowl was on ebay a few years ago for sale. Wish I could have bought it.
Friend; Billy VanDorn's Sporster- At one of our Big Sexy shows. Crowd went nuts.
Valiquette - MX Des Nations Replica back
Valiquette - MX Des Nations Replica
Jesse - Guy Cooper Replica
Holeshot - I love this photo. 3 of the riders in this shot are wearing Peterson Bros. designed helmets. Steve Lemon, Tom Cole, and Dan Swatling.
Starting Line - Tom Cole (480) and Steve Lemon (530) wearing Peterson Bros. designs. This is reminiscent of a shot that was in Motocross Action Magazine. We painted alot of helmets for riders in the Expert classes.
Altieri's Tow Truck
Here are some Polaroid pict's of our 24 fling with the tow truck.
Ed Downing's Snoopy Helmet
~ Scroll down to see pictures of the batmobile in progress ~
Here are pictures of us working on the Batmobile apologize for the quality of the pictures. I only had black & white zeroxed images.