I grew up around custom cars, my Dad “Leo Perez” owned a custom paint and fabrication shop. We would do everything: chop tops, French antennas ,suicide doors and custom painting .My dad would show me how to fabricate and paint. I would then experiment with these techniques until I got the effect I was looking for .He was the first person to introduce me to pinstriping. He showed me how to hold the brush and a few techniques. There was not much information or how to books on pinstriping, so I would just experiment and practice on my own. Pinstriping is addicting once you start practicing. It is hard to put the brush down, you just want to keep on striping and striping . I would pinstripe everything that would stay still long enough. I striped all the cabinets in the shop, tool boxes ,and cars sitting around waiting to be painted. I even pinstriped my grandmother’s refrigerator. There was a Chinese restaurant next to the shop, some of their customers were surprised when they came out and found that their car had been pinstriped .I pretty much stayed out of trouble because I was always working on my techniques and trying to get better at pinstriping and custom painting .
The shop was located on Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix which just happened to be the street where everyone would come to cruise on a Friday and Saturday nights .The shop was the place to hang out. I would work late at the shop and all my high school buddies would come and hang out and watch the cars cruise by .All of this working late was starting to pay off. I got a pretty good following of customers at the age of 14. I would paint street rods, lowriders and motorcycles. Lowriders were my favorite because anything and everything would look good on them. I could use metal flake, graphics, pinstriping, and gold leaf on them. The more you had going on the better .So I could really use all these different designs on the same car to create this wild paint scheme.
At 18yrs of age I decided that there was a great big world out there to see, so I figured a good way to do some traveling was to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. I went to see the recruiter on a Monday. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was enlisting, just in case I wasn’t able to pass al the qualifications. That Thursday I found out I passed all the qualifications, and that I could ship out on Friday. So I told my dad that night that I had enlisted in the Marine Corps and would be leaving on Friday. He was really shocked but was happy for me. Got through boot camp (that was a experience). After my job training I volunteered to go to Okinawa Japan for my first duty station. I was there for a year. As soon as I got there I asked my dad to send my pinstriping brushes and my photo album out to me. Not knowing how to speak or understand Japanese, I went out to a local body shop and showed them a photo album of my work. They really liked what they saw in the pictures, so I would go out and pinstripe a few cars every time I got a chance .While in the marines I traveled to Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong ,Thailand ,Philippines and Mombassa, Kenya everyplace I traveled I took my brushes and paint and left a little pinstriping as a reminder that I had been there. At every place I was stationed, once a Colonel or General found out that I could paint and do artwork I was put on a special painting detail. Painting signs, murals on walls, and all sorts of specials painting projects. The thing about pinstriping is that with a little paint and a brush you can be anyplace in the world and create your artwork.
Once back in the states I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. This was close to Carlsbad and Oceanside. Once again I went into town and drummed up pinstriping business. I stayed busy pinstriping out in town and going to car shows once again. I stayed in California for 3yrs .Then off to my next duty station recruiting for the marines in Phoenix Arizona. .Phoenix was my home town. I was back to where I started striping. While in phoenix I again started to drum up striping business that is when I started to pickup new car dealerships and custom work .I would still travel back to California and go to car shows and events .Every year in December I would go to Ed “Big Daddy “Roth’s Christmas party. This is where I got a chance to meet Kenneth Howard “Von Dutch “.We would bring (new) toilet seats, painted sheet metal, five gallon barrels ,cars and anything that would look kool pinstriped. We would pinstripe these items and Ed Roth would auction them off and the money would go for charity. The Christmas party moved to Moon Eyes facility and then to the police academy where I still attends every year.
I received an honorable discharge from the marines in 1987. I started my business “Tonys Pinstriping” I continued to build my pinstriping business with several dealerships, and custom shops .I featured pinstriping a motorcycle for Von Dutch custom cycles at 2:00 in the morning it was on its way to the 2005 SEMA show in Las Vegas. I also participated in a “Biker Build off” episode on the discovery channel; I pinstriped Jesse Rooks Rockstar bike. I was recently featured in the program “Chopper Nation” on ESPN 2 the Von Dutch episode.My work has also been featured in , Street Rodder,Auto Art, Signcraft,Truckin. Street Chopper Magazines,and hardcover books, Pinstripe Planet 1 and 2.
This is just a small recap of all that I have done. I could write a book on all the pinstriping adventures and projects I have done over the years, the art of Pinstriping has been a good career for me and I still look forward for the next challenge or place it will take me. I would like to thank my wife Debbie, my family, Butchr and many friends that helped me become a “PINSTRIPER”
And now in 2011 I have gone back to my roots of airbrushing T-shirts.
Thanks Tony 602-397-7134