Close to perfection

Published 3:48 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

Many artists who do commission work encounter at least one or two odd inquiries.

Jeremy Pedersen was once asked to put his unique stamp on a neck brace.

He said that this is but one of many weird requests he’s had in his five years of work.

It’s probably only natural when you are one of the best at what you do.

Pedersen is a pinstriper — pinstriping, being the art of applying very thin lines of paint, by hand, often on cars, guitars or skateboards among things.

He heads from his homestead, right outside of Austin, to Pomona, Calif. at the end of this month for the Grand National Roadster Show — where 30 of the world’s best pinstripers are invited to the 2010 Pinstriper Reunion. Pedersen was invited last year too.

“I’ve been doing this for about five years,” he said. “My goal is to just keep at it, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to just do this everyday and not have to answer to anyone.”

For the time being, Pedersen’s got a day job as a graphic designer at a sign shop in Rochester. After business hours, he’s likely in his garage studio, doing commission work under the name of his independent business, Relic Design.

Pedersen taught himself to pinstripe years ago, as a technique to finish off airbrush jobs on helmets.

“It was really frustrating to learn,” he said. “After my wife and daughter went to bed around 9 p.m., I’d be up until 2 or 3 in the morning, just working at it.”

After about a year of practicing pinstriping on his own, Pedersen met a professional from California, who redirected his work by teaching him a few techniques.

“After that, it came easy,” he said.

Since, Pedersen has traveled to shows all over the country and was even invited to one in Germany.

There, he shows of his talent by pinstriping cars, hot rods, Harleys — and even a neck brace — on site.

Pedersen will bring a couple of his custom items to the Pinstripers Reunion to donate to a charity auction. One of them, a blue pinstriped skateboard deck, took him 15 hours to complete.

Last year, the auction raised more than $14,000 for the Progeria Research Foundation.

While he’s already made a name for himself nationally after just five years in the field, Pedersen said he’s got plenty of work left to do.

He and his brother, who does upholstery, might even try opening up a hot rod shop.

Until then, he’ll continue staying up late — while wife, Krystal and daughter Jayden, 3, are sleeping — to refine his skill.

“Anyone who wants to go into this needs to be prepared to practice every night, all night,” Pedersen said. “The object is to be as close to perfection as a guy can be. It’s a hand tooled art, and you need it to look like machine-precision.”

For more information or examples of Pedersen’s work, go to www.relicstripes.com.