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Bridge City Paint

  • Artists
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STRIVING FOR PERFECTION
Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio & Phil Williams
Spending your entire life around cars and motorcycles isn’t a bad way to live, especially when you pick up the intricate craft of custom painting. We talked with Phil Williams of Roll On Cycle about his technique and path to becoming a full-time painter. His operation goes by the name of Bridge City Paint and is now housed within the same shop that his family has run for decades.
How did you develop an interest in custom painting?
Phil Williams: I basically grew up here in the shop. I’d get off of the school bus then hang out in the office or watch my grandpap work on cars. My dad used to paint bikes here after he started Roll On Cycle in 1995. He was a one-man show for a while, doing motor work, painting, the whole deal. Eventually I went to vo-tech school for auto body, which got me into cars while doing bikes as a side hobby. I didn’t really know anything different. Now thirteen years later, I’m ready to just do motorcycles full time.
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
What is it that you enjoy most about painting?
PW: I think it’s fulfilling to take an object, whatever it may be, and create something totally new that never existed. There’s a special moment after you’re finished when you just take a step back and spend some time looking at it. I know the challenge and frustration was worth it after the customer sees it and is happy with the work.
How would you describe your paint approach?
PW: Simple, clean, and symmetrical—not typically anything that’s too crazy. I like crisp lines and simple designs that are really clean and really shiny. I might not be the most creative artist when it comes to drawing or pinstriping, but if I’m going to paint, then I’m going to be very meticulous and make it as nice as possible.
Where did you learn to paint?
PW: It started by watching my grandpap and dad do it, which made painting a little more natural for me. Vocational school taught me the basics, and the body shop taught me more about the job. You pick up on things you should and shouldn’t do.
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Is there a particular style from history that inspired you?
PW: Most of my life growing up was just cars and hotrods, so I got a lot of inspiration from that end. I definitely respect the guys painting lowriders in California with the crazy layers and different color candies. The stuff you can accomplish with just tape and an airbrush is nuts.
Any advice you’d give a younger kid trying to get into it?
PW: If I was thinking about getting into it, I’d say not to expect it to be easy and that you basically have to go all-in. Experiment with different techniques. Maybe even find someone local near you that paints and start asking them questions. There are a lot of people that just want it to be a hobby and do something else for a living, which you can do, but it might take you a long time to get where you want to be. For me, it’s what I do for a living, so I have to be the best that I can.
Do you have a favorite type of project?
PW: It’s tough to say, but I guess one of my favorites would just be a blank peanut tank where I’m allowed to do whatever I want. You can’t go wrong with a peanut tank, the shape allows you to do almost anything on it. Besides that, any fun projects that allow me to get creative.
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
Bridge City Custom Paint Shop Motorcycles Choppers Pittsburgh
  • Featured in Issue 008
  • BRIDGE CITY PAINT
  • Paint by PHIL WILLIAMS
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  • Words by KURT DISERIO
  • Photos by ALEXA DISERIO & PHIL WILLIAMS
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