Text and photos by Cheryl Tay
Customising a helmet or car with your own unique design and colours is not uncommon, but it was only after I got mine done that I fully understand the rationale behind customisation. The sense of satisfaction seeing a personal theme on an otherwise mass-produced object is truly rewarding.
When I first laid my eyes on my helmet at the custom paint shop, a huge sense of pride overwhelmed me. The last I saw it there, it was simply plain white out of the box just like any other similar brand new model. But after custom painters Dylan Liang, Shane Chia and Warren Lim of Aire Pro Designs worked their magic on my helmet, the intangible value to the helmet increased a million fold immediately.
Aesthetic reasons aside, racing drivers customise their helmets so they can be easily spotted and recognised on the track, especially if they are all racing in similar vehicles of similar colours. For example in Formula 1, drivers of the same team have the same car livery and so the only way to tell them apart when driving is by the colours of their helmets.
Aire Pro Designs was started in 2007 and they have since earned a strong reputation for their fine work. Local custom painters Dylan, Shane and Warren specialise in airbrushing, one of the techniques used for custom painting. Unlike spray painting where a spray gun is used, airbrushes are much smaller and hence very detailed graphics can be painted on cars, motorcycles, helmets, wall murals and even on human skin. As a result, the artwork features very fine details that look real, life-like and even three-dimensional.
None of them thought they would venture into custom painting one day. Coming from non-art backgrounds, Shane was a personal trainer, Warren was an F&B manager and Dylan was a captain the army. Seeing the potential in the Singapore market, they set up Aire Pro Designs with an aim to prove that the local industry is capable of international standards.
“I thought a custom paint job was easy until I tried it for myself. I was so wrong and I think many people may have the misconception too. There’s actually a lot more to it than just replicating a design from paper to surface. All these surfaces – be it a helmet, car or bike – need to be prepared before we can paint anything on them. They are uneven and we need to do sanding or even removing of the original colour before we start,” said Shane.
“Art is something that requires more exposure for people to understand it better. Equipped with better knowledge, people are then able to recognise quality work. Once this happens, people’s expectations then increase and then industry quality will improve immensely,” Dylan added.
Having completed jobs for helmets, cars and motorbikes, Aire Pro Designs have awards to their name, having won the Best Airbrush category in the Ultimate Auto Styling Showdown at Super Import Nights 2008.
There is no fixed price catalog for customisation as it really depends on the complexities and the design, among other factors such as the vehicle model itself and the condition of the vehicle. For example, some helmets have scratches and chipped areas that need to be patched up before paintwork can start.
Local racers in Singapore are familiar with Aire Pro Designs, with household names like Yuey Tan and Mok Weng Sun – Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series drivers – going to them regularly. In fact, Mok has had six of his precious race cars airbrushed by Aire Pro Designs too.
Said Roger Chng, who is part of the Chng racing family that includes himself, both his sons as well as nephew, “The quality of Aire Pro Designs’ work is superb; although costs are hefty but who says good things come cheap? You can feel the intense dedication and passion in their creations of art on the subjects.”
“I have been there on several occasions to check on our projects and they often skip meals and work late whenever they feel inspired and motivated. Trust them, you wouldn’t want to lose that sparkle of creative imagination once you are at it! We had a total of seven helmets done by them in less than a year and we will no doubt continue to engage them for future paint jobs,” he added.
The good thing about going to Aire Pro Designs for customisation, is that your eventual design will be exclusive to you and you only. Should another person come along and ask for the same exact design, Aire Pro Designs will suggest otherwise – this is their assurance to you.
Office/Fax: 6846 8876/6846 8879
Alternatively you can call any of the three artists (only Warren is single, the other two are married with kids! Lol):
Shane C. HP: 93655450
Dylan HP: 93805720
Warren HP: 96186970