2023 Limited Edition run for Steve Vai / Ibanez. <200 units worldwide.
As a lifelong fan of the Jems and the ATD swirls from the early 90s (as well as the DNAs and UVMCRE of course), it is an honor and a privilege to have painted these guitars for Ibanez and Steve. I have included a few quick facts below about the process for those interested:
- My goals:
- Create bright, over the top guitars for Ibanez 🙂
- Artistically nod to what I loved about the original ’swirl’ paint jobs while creating something new (ironically using a centuries old painting technique…so at least new to doing it on guitars). Darren’s work is legendary and there are other folks doing great work in a similar style, so I wanted what I was doing to be different.
- Have the artwork be a very thin layer of paint that resulted in a finish that was resilient to taking a hit (as tends to happen with guitars) without it devastating the finish as a whole.
- What goes into making them:
- The bodies are cut by the Fujigen factory in Japan.
- They arrive to the shop in the US with a white base-coat that gets sanded down in prep for the subsequent finishing stages involved.
- The full process they go through in our hands takes approximately 10-12 hours per guitar over the course of 20 days before they are ready to be shipped back to Japan for final clear coats, sanding/polishing/and assembly by Fujigen.
- The base-coat of white has a phosphorescent pigment sprayed over the top for the glow-in-the-dark effect and the pink pinstripe that separates the art on the front and back is both fluorescent as well phosphorescent pink (which glows an orange hue in the dark).
- Each side is painted separately over the white/glow base. The backs get painted, sealed and masked and then the front gets painted in a separate session.
- Some of the colors I mix for the art are also fluorescent so the guitars react in blacklight and the lack of opacity of many of the colors used allows for the phosphorescent base-coat to charge and hence glow through when charged up and taken into a dark room.
- Lastly – I did keep a log of each and number them all. When / if I get time, I would love to set up a registry with collaboration from the respective owners and associate the numbers as well as any pictures along its journey.