Top Pick: Patrick Wolfmeier Turns Guitars Into Pop Art

A lot to his spouse’s chagrin, Patrick Wolfmeier’s guitars litter the home. The couple’s crawl house, closets and loo in the course of the chilly months are crammed to the brim with guitars of various situations, prepared and ready to be reworked.

In his spare time, for the previous decade, Wolfmeier has turned guitars, basses and ukuleles, working and non-working, into colourful work, both of his personal creativeness or for fee. From The Little Mermaid to 2Pac, a Furby to Beetlejuice, Wolfmeier has made a reputation for his firm, Wolfmeier Guitars and Extra.

Forward of Free Comedian E-book Day on Could four at Imaginative and prescient Comics & Oddities, Wolfmeier spoke to Westword about his artistic course of, enhancing as an artist, and the challenges that include making an attempt to suit a whole piece of artwork onto a working instrument.

Westword: Why did you begin doing this, and when?

Patrick Wolfmeier: I’ve been a musician since I used to be a child — performed in a band at school and all that. I’ve been taking part in guitar for twenty, thirty years, one thing like that. I had at all times messed round with that stuff as a child, after which — I’d say about ten years in the past — I began working with an artist pal, messing round with him, and began considering it was cool thought, particularly for repurposing guitars.

Guitars are like puppies: There’s simply manner too many on this planet! They’re mass-manufactured and are simply all over the place. This type of provides some older ones a brand new house and a brand new life as one thing cool to be checked out. It’s super-cool. There’s simply one thing about it in my mind that I like. I just like the composition on the guitar and simply the best way that it appears to be like. Looks as if they’re meant to be collectively.

It’s a type of reincarnation, I suppose.

Yeah, yeah. And you understand, I do commissions for folks, too. I just lately had a man ask me to remodel his bass. I did Queen’s Information of the World . It turned out actually nice, and that’s the bass he makes use of on a regular basis. There’s totally different ranges of stuff that I do.

So folks deliver the canvas and let you know what they need, and you then make it occur.

Yep, just about. I at all times settle for a problem [laughs]. That Queen Information of the World, once they requested me, I used to be like, “Oh, man, I may need bitten off greater than I can chew,” however then it turned out fairly superb.


A behind-the-scenes take a look at Wolfmeier’s Queen guitar.

Patrick Wolfmeier

Stroll me by your strategy of turning guitars into artwork.

I’ll take the guitars and sand all the way down to the naked wooden, and do some hand-sanding on them. You already know, a variety of these guitars that I discover have a variety of beauty injury, so far as the actually thick coats which are placed on there, they at all times chips off in the identical spots. I sand all that off so I’ve one thing clear to work on.

I take advantage of simply common spray paint, normally like krylon or no matter shade I really feel like utilizing for it. As soon as I go away it for a few days so the paint’s good and performed, I truly normally use paint markers to place the stuff on the guitars.

They’re acrylic-based, so as soon as I let these dry for a number of days, I clear-coat it, normally with like a thick automotive kind of clear coat, in order that manner if it hangs on the wall it’s sturdy, when you play with it it’s sturdy, and the picture ought to look good for a very very long time.

When did you work this venture out?

It took a variety of trial and error. Artists are so finicky, and I do know it’s humorous, as a result of I’m speaking about myself, too, however while you work with one other artist, they don’t have an idea of time; they don’t consider in time. Plus some stuff by no means will get completed. Issues go loopy.

I labored with three, 4 or 5 artists over the previous couple of years, making a few totally different ones. It lastly got here all the way down to I went sheer monarchy on it, and determined I used to be going to do all of it myself.

I’d give folks course, like, “Hey, I feel it will look actually cool,” however after all artists have a proper to do what they need. Some turned out fairly good, nevertheless it was by no means that imaginative and prescient I noticed in my head. Starting in the summertime final yr, I began simply making an attempt to crank them out myself.

I’d paint one thing cool on it, and if it didn’t prove nice, I’d simply sand it off and begin over once more [laughs]. However then, after somewhat little bit of follow, I began actually seeing the colours and composition and simply making for an eye-popping expertise.


A cereal-mascot guitar for all of the cereal lovers on the market.

Patrick Wolfmeier

Guitars are funky. They’ve obtained all types of stuff. You assume you may simply paint throughout it, however you actually must watch out the place you set issues, or else you could possibly actually lose main elements of a picture to your bridge, your pickups, your knobs, the rest that‘s on there.

Which is a part of why that is intriguing. Guitars don’t look like nice objects to color on…

It’s positively a problem. And that’s sort of the good factor: Ensuring to make use of that clear coat, as a result of you may at all times sort of inform when one thing’s spray-painted, as a result of it’s spray paint.

With this, you may sort of inform from the colour, however the truth that they’ve obtained that good shine on the entrance — and I perform a little little bit of moist sanding on that to deliver out the gloss on it — makes it in order that it’s going to final a very long time. It doesn’t appear like some child simply painted it, however that’s all proper, too. I’ve painted a variety of guitars as a child [laughs].

How has this enterprise/artwork venture modified because you began it?

It’s positively a variety of ups and downs with supplies. Determining what works good, what kind of guitars, and issues you may truly paint with out messing up the sound popping out of them. In order for you to have the ability to create one thing working that an individual can play at a present and be pleased with, it’s a must to make it possible for factor’s nonetheless going to sound good on the finish of the day.

There was a variety of experimentation performed with that and with paints.

It’s additionally simply advanced a lot from the fundamental concepts that I’ve, working with an artist making an attempt to remodel it into what I needed, working with higher artists, going by with all that, and eventually taking on for myself.

On this previous yr, it’s grown leaps and bounds. I’ve put full give attention to it in my spare time, and if I’m sad with the way it appears to be like, I’ll begin over. I’m not afraid to trash a venture if it appears to be like like crap, as a result of I would like the ultimate product to be eye-popping.

Do you anticipate doing this for the foreseeable future?

Yeah, completely. Particularly now that I’ve actually gotten the cling of it and am within the driver’s seat. The chances are simply infinite.

I’ve already performed Guardians of the Galaxy, Ghostbusters. One of many guitars I’m extra pleased with is the Smokey and the Bandit one with Burt Reynolds. It’s loopy. It’s only a cool guitar, and I put the Trans Am Firebird in a few totally different spots on the guitar that look nice. It simply turned out super-great.

It’s a kind of issues the place while you begin, it’s a cool thought, and while you completed, you’re like, “Rattling, I can’t consider how that turned out.” It’s an precise image that you just noticed in your head, after which it simply appears to be like killer.

The late Burt Reynolds guitar.

Patrick Wolfmeier

I’ve been making an attempt to do another artwork issues. I’m making an attempt to make a punk-rock coloring ebook, and so I’ve performed some coloring pages of like NOFX, New Discovered Glory, stuff like that that I’m making an attempt to place collectively, perhaps get it printed as an precise coloring ebook.

While you first began, have been you simply gathering guitars and portray them? Did folks donate them to you?

It’s somewhat little bit of all the things. I’ve at all times been a little bit of a flea market/pawn store/thrift retailer rat. I’m at all times popping in, seeing what sort of junk is round.

Lastly, after I actually began to ramp up final yr, I made a decision to get as many guitars as I might. In my crawl house, I in all probability have fifteen to twenty which are able to be damaged down and painted.

After I determined to go hard-core and attempt to get somewhat fame out of it, get my artwork on the market and have a bunch of enjoyable on social media, it’s like, properly, higher go huge or go house [laughs].

What would a Denver artist be with no South Park work?

Patrick Wolfmeier

What was your first guitar artwork piece?

That is sort of humorous, as a result of it’s come full circle just lately: My dad’s finest pal had this little short-scale bass that he’s had for the reason that ’60s. I used to be in all probability fifteen or sixteen, and it was in unhealthy form, and he was like, “Hey, I do know you’ve been taking part in round, messing with these things, so why don’t you paint it for me?” It didn’t have a decide guard and was wanting somewhat tough. I can’t even keep in mind the model.

I ended up carving a brand new decide guard for the guitar out of bathe wall [laughs]. I drilled the holes in it and all the things. I painted it lime inexperienced.

A month in the past, he introduced it to a household brunch and mentioned, “Bear in mind this? I figured you could possibly do it once more.” Now I’m within the course of of constructing Plant and Web page on it, since Led Zeppelin is one in every of his favourite teams. It’s neat that the primary one I ever painted I’ll be capable to paint once more.

Free Comedian E-book Day, 10 a.m. Saturday, Could four, Imaginative and prescient Comics & Oddities, 3958 South Federal Boulevard, Sheridan.

Ben Wiese is a author in Denver. He covers music for Westword.

Product categories