PHOTO.GP Helmet In Progress


As I’ve written before in this space, one of the very best things about my photography adventures has been meeting certain individuals I’d never have come into contact with had I not been so lucky as to find a place in MotoGP. One person high on that list is Marc Garcia, an artist in Barcelona, Spain, who paints helmets and creates trophies, among other things.

In August, 2010, I posted here about the official MotoGP Championship Trophy, which I’d seen for the first time at Silverstone that year. In one of those lucky instances that somehow keep happening, Marc found the post and he got in touch to thank me for recognizing his work. That began an email correspondence which has led to a friendship in which we’ve not yet met face to face.

 In spite of that, we’ve begun a partnership based on our mutual work in MotoGP and, at least on my part, the pleasure of the other’s company, if only, so far, via email and social media. My photos can be seen on Marc’s website, and we help each other out on Facebook and Twitter whenever possible.

But perhaps the most remarkable gesture to date has been his: Several months ago he offered to do a custom paint job of my AGV helmet. It was an opportunity I could not pass up!

Since then Marc has generously shared photos of the process with me and agreed to let me share them with you. This post contains the first selection of those photos. I hope you find the meticulous steps involved to be as interesting as I do. (All photos © 2012 Marc Garcia)

Here is Marc, looking fine in his MotoMatters t-shirt, and working at his laptop. He also has good taste in calendars!
On his desk is my just-arrived AGV GPTech crash hat. Next to it is a primed copy of the same model, this one belonging to a rider more skilled than I.
Notice the dull finish on my helmet, which has now begun the journey from Stock AGV item to Awesome Work of Art.
An amazing amount of taping is done in the process, sometimes to protect the interior of the helmet but mostly to mask off areas which don’t want certain coats of paint.
Fully taped off for the first coat, both helmets begin the journey to their final, custom designs a shiny black. But not for long!
Marc now performs one of many sanding sessions to prepare the surface for the next step in the process.
Jumping ahead to the end of the other guy’s helmet, it turns out to belong to Moto2 title contender Pol Espargaro, one of Marc’s clients. Mine has received another bit of masking. The tape on the top will keep the next layer off all but the center contour, and the decal on the chin will be used to apply the PHOTO.GP logo in red. On the table are decals that will mask the Elbow Down art work.
But first more tape and masking! The Elbow Down art will now be applied to the helmet surface via stencil, created from my digital files on Marc’s stencil printer.
The next layer applied, you can see how the stencil has allowed it to take the design of the stencil except where the PHOTO.GP logo was masked off below it. It take a lot of planning to sort out the many layers involved even in a design less complex than some used by the top riders.
A wider view of the status at this point. But there is still much to do! Watch for a new post with the next steps shortly. And please check out Marc’s website, Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.

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