“How about a little comet?” Tony says while deep in his element. “Yea… right there. Perfect.” Watching Tony paint, I realize he isn’t talking to me, but rather coaxing the paint out of his airbrush. In a dimly lit pop-up tent pitched in his backyard, Tony’s workspace smells like a lack of ventilation in a chemical plant.
It’s like the type of space you might expect someone to be brewing meth in (You brew meth, right? thats the correct term?) rather than creating 1-off works of art. The floor is uncovered gravel held in place by tangled extension cords with the occasional sand bag to make sure the tent doesn’t blow away and a loosely organized workbench shows off an impressive array of House of Kolors paints.
Perched on the edge of the work surface a small compressor zings along as Tony’s airbrush lays down detail on detail. In his workspace, Tony is moving around a new Specialized Tarmac frame with a work lamp hot enough to make you wonder if it could ignite paint fumes beaming over his shoulder.
Tony readily admits his workspace isn’t the shining example of what someone producing his level of work should be in, but he doesn’t care. Earlier this year, Tony decided to start the side project Dubbed MadeRADbyTony with the firm business plan of ‘paint what you want, when you want’… Tony pulled a few jobs from friends and started posting his work via social media.
For projects like this 2015 S-Works Tarmac Disc, dubbed the #Starmac, Tony spent around 30hours prepping, painting, decaling, and clearing. One of only a handful of painters approved by Specialized Bicycles to paint their frames without voiding the warranty, his technique, preparation, and attention to detail are on point.
Work from Tony ranges in price from a few hundred bucks for a single color helmet to a couple thousand if you want to see how deep the rabbit hole can go on a bike frame.