Name: Michael Corby
Shop / Company: Corby Concepts, Inc.
City / State / Country: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
How long have you painted?
Painting for me started at a very young age at my father’s auto paint and body shop in Northern California. I would have to say I painted my first item (boat trailer) back in 1978. From there, my brother and I began racing BMX all over the country so we naturally painted helmets, bike frames and anything we wanted to look unique.
How did you start?
I started painting racing helmets back in 1989 when I started racing karts. The white helmet I bought was too sterile so I drew up a design and squirted it up with the help of the painters at my dads shop. After three seasons of abuse on the paint, I repainted it using a lot of airbrush techniques with my first (new) airbrush gun. We went out to test a new kart (and display the new paint work) when other drivers took notice of my new art work on the helmet. Many of them couldn’t believe that I had painted it and said, “Man, you should start painting helmets!” At the end of the day, I had three helmets in hand to paint the following week.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from many areas; other artists (Troy Lee, Robert Williams, Von Dutch, Coop), magazines (Juxtapoz, Hot Rod, Airbrush Action, Mountain Bike Action, Old Skool Rods, Super Kart Illustrated) and the direct feedback I get from the drivers when discussing colors and types of designs.
What have been some of your most memorable projects?
Buddy Rice winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2004, Buddy Rice 2004 Indy 500 replica helmets given to President George W. Bush, the president of Honda, David Letterman
Helmet painted up for Jay Leno (Long Beach Champ Car race-2005)
Helmet painted for Tom Cruise (Long Beach Champ Car race-2005)
Custom paint work done on a golf club for Jim Heath of Reverend Horton Heat
Custom painting NHRA drag bikes for Schumacher Racings Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown (painted head and tail lights, gas cap)
Awards / Accolades / Accomplishments:
Being able to take (what started as) a hobby and turn it into a full time business
Hobbies / Other Interests:
Spending time with my wife Stephanie and our twin boys Max and Alex. Mountain biking, volleyball, working out, and watching Formula
Buddy Rice, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Briscoe, Darren Manning, Tomas Scheckter, Clint Field, Burney Lamar, Angelle Sampey, Antron Brown, Bob Vandergriff Jr., Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, Louis Diaz, Memo Gidley, RuSport crew helmets, Rahal Letterman Racing crew helmets, Jeff Simmons, Vitor Meira, Wade Cunningham, Bobby Wilson, Wayne Taylor, etc.
What is the favorite piece you have ever done and why?
The day I have a favorite is the day I stop painting. It constantly evolves and it only gets better!