Airbrush artist looks for business |

Airbrush artist looks for business

Customized snowboarding gear is becoming more and more popular and airbrush artist Mike Passaretti has found an interesting way to cash in on the craze.

Passaretti recently moved to South Lake Tahoe from Orange County to snowboard and try his luck at selling his artistic ability. He paints helmets, snowboards and just about anything else presented to him.

“The most unique thing I’ve painted is probably a person,” Passaretti said. “I paint people for Halloween, using T-shirt paint or body-art paint.”

Interested in art since childhood, Passaretti, 18, said painting things such as motorcycles, skateboards and clothing is a fun way to make use of his talent.

“I love art,” he said. “And airbrushing is a really interesting way to do things. It allows you to make things look really realistic.”

Passaretti credits his love of art, in part, to his family.

“My grandfather did graphic design and my grandmother is an artist. I taught myself almost exclusively, but my mother gave me my first airbrush when I was in seventh grade,” Passaretti said.

During the winter months, Passaretti will be working at Heavenly Ski Resort as a snowboarding instructor, but plans to dedicate most of his time to painting.

Hoping to make a career out of airbrush art, Passaretti said snowboarders are a good group to target, since many riders use their gear as a form of expression.

“I see the trend getting better,” said Passaretti, who calls himself the “Snowboarding Airbrusher.”

“People are more interested in taking what they have and customizing it. They want something that represents who they are and what they’re about.”

According to Passaretti, people usually charge between $300 and $500 to paint a picture on a helmet.

“For me, cost depends on how much work goes into the project,” Passaretti said. “I’ll charge $200 to $300 less if the picture isn’t too complicated. I charge about $200 to paint a motorcycle helmet, but plastic skateboard and snowboard helmets are (significantly) less expensive.”

For information, call Passaretti at (949) 233-9663.

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