We sat down with our friend and Custom Paint Specialist Kyle from Smith Concepts to discuss originality, managing work/life balance, creating crazy flame jobs and lowrider inspired panel paint work and how his favourite Volcom Workwear products keep him looking and preforming his best.
VWW was built on a foundation of creative liberation, what’s one way you express yourself creatively?
I express myself through my art which is transferred onto many different surfaces including Hot Rods, Custom Cars and Motorcycles. Pretty much anything that has a blank canvas, or surface to start.
Tell us a bit about what you do.
We are a specialised custom paint workshop on Sydney’s Northern Beaches – creating unique and individual artwork on various vehicles, helmets, skateboards and so on.
Have you always wanted to pursue this line of work?
I always enjoyed being creative from a young age. Starting out many years ago in my schoolbooks/graffiti and during posca art on surfboards, skateboards and alike. It pretty much never stopped from there.
What are your favourite VWW pieces?
I bloody love it all!
Who showed you the ropes?
I would say I am self-taught mostly, but I did look up to many artists from a young age that by watching and learning, led to me being able to create my own individual artworks and custom paint works from there.
Where are you guys located and how far and wide do your job’s spread?
We are in Brookvale, on Sydney’s North Shore. We take work from all over Australia, and we have also shipped our works into America, NZ and Japan before.
Were you into art at school and do you have any other artistic outlets?
I studied 3 years of fine arts at Tafe in my teens and continued to draw daily on whatever I could at the time.
What’s something you’ve created that you’re most proud of?
Lately I have been involved with creating artwork/patterns on a few lowriders – Chevrolet impalas from the 60s. They really let the creativity flow with a huge area to cover in a certain style and flow. I enjoy this kind of work with a passion.
We can imagine you do some long hours. How do you manage work and family life balance?
It’s always been hard trying to balance the workload and family time; we do some long hours during the week to complete deadlines etc. In the early days of starting the business I worked late most nights as I found it was easier to create and paint at night when the phones were not ringing. As of late, I try to minimise the late finished and spend a lot of my time with my family. We still work late when we have to but I try to minimise it as family time and something important to me also.
How many crews are in your team & do certain members specialise in different parts of the jobs, or do you all crossover?
There’s five full-time here at the shop, with a few other good mates always dropping in and lending a hand when needed. I find it extremely important to have a good crew who want the same results and are happy to work hard day in day out. I really appreciate my team, without team, it wouldn’t be what it is.
What are your favourite VWW pieces?
My favourite VWW piece at the moment is the Jacket and Workpants – with the stretch knees. These products and the full range are on point.
What are a few of your favourite features on those products?
Stretch knees in the pants, and an ultra-warm work jacket, for the Winter mornings there are both AWESOME.
Are you new to Volcom, or have you grown up with the brand?
Volcom has been a big part of my youth and still now. I grew up wearing only Volcom and I still do, and now my kids do as well.
What’s your favourite vehicle you have worked on?
I enjoy working on all the vehicles here at Smith Concepts, every day is unique and interesting doing what we do. I love doing big crazy flame jobs and lowrider inspired panel paint work. Utilising various candy colours and metalflake products.
Got any events coming up, people can come check out?
We have some upcoming events and shows around Sydney, they will be posted up on our social media platforms for anyone interested in coming out and seeing what it’s all about. @smithconcepts
If you get a day off to do anything you desire. Where are you heading?
My days off involve time spent with the family, whether it be at the beaches or skating with my kids or getting the old cars out for a cruise on a Sunday. Downtime is important to keep the creativity flowing.