August 15 2012
DefGrip | Sonny Interview
How rad is this?
Name: Santino Mouneu / Sonny Boy
Location: Los Angeles
Background or history in BMX, skate, motor?
Been painting motorcycles and wrenching on them since I was a kid. I started as a business right out of high school.
What were your creative influences from back in the day?
I’ve always have been inspired by pinstripe artist such as Von Dutch, Big Daddy Roth, Larry Watson and lots of tattoo artists and graffiti artists like Filip Lou, Mike Giant and Chaz Bojorquez.
How did you get started in art and painting and working with curved helmets ?
I have been into art since I was able to hold a pencil. Art has always been something I was into. I grew up around motorcycles, Harleys mainly, because of my father. My Grandfather painted cars and bikes as a hobby and when he passed on my dad had all of his spray guns and tools. My dad told me one day that we were going to try and paint the bike that we were building for me. So I gave it a try and designed some flames and graphics with tape and my dad sprayed it. Then we took it to have it pinstriped by a professional pinstriper named Dennis Jones. After that experience, I was hooked and wanted to do it more and more and get better and learn everything I could. So naturally I just poured myself into my two loves, art and motorcycles.
What creative work do you do outside of helmets?
I take on most any creative jobs as long as they are challenging and allow me to advance my skills, such as sign painting graphic designs for clothing. Would love to venture out and try my hand in other fields.
What is your favorite old school helmet brand / model?
Not really sure… I like old Buco helmets.
What’s the most technically challenging part of doing a such detailed helmet paintings? Coming up with the ideas, layout and colors. Everything about the job is challenging. There are a lot of different elements that I try to bring to the table. Like airbrushing, lettering, gold leafing and pinstriping, all of which are very labor intensive. But once you have the design layout and the colors, it all just comes together, like music.
What’s the largest project you’ve painted?
A 1954 Chevy pick up truck and an old Chevy Van. Both were very intricate with multiple colors and and patterns. Lot of hours into them.
What keeps you motivated day to day in the painting business?
Bettering myself as an artist and as a human being. Trying to grow more into a balanced artist and business minded person and try to keep having as much fun as I possibly can while doing it. Inspiration keeps me going. Inspiring others to do better and being inspired by others is a huge part of what keeps me going. Its always great to hear how your work inspires some one else because I know how I feel whenever some one else inspires me, not only through just art but with music, etc.