Some other interesting facts from the day:
• Color Fashion Show: Each year, the five major paint companies (of which Axalta is one) put on a color fashion show of sorts for each of the OEM car manufacturers. In this presentation, they present a “color board” of what colors they believe will be the most popular 2--3 years down the road.
The paint companies’ color teams track fashion trends and other style markers (possibly economic and environmental factors, etc.) and present their color board to the OEM brand design team. After much back-and-forth between the teams, certain colors are selected from each manufacturer, and then each manufacturer is required to formulate each color so they have it available for their shop customers.
• Ports of Entry: When a new model vehicle is released with a new paint color, Axalta and the other paint manufacturers will have people from their laboratories go to rail head or shipping port points of entry and take tens of thousands of camera readings on the actual vehicles coming off the rails or ships. They do this to compare the actual new vehicle reading to what the formula stated so that they can “tweak” their paint formulas if necessary before they provide it to their customers.
After lunch, we met Peter Maier, who creates photorealist paintings of cars. A former employee of General Motors, Maier worked as a senior designer for Cadillac, Pontiac and Chevrolet and went on to pioneer the use of automotive paint in fine art. For example, “1959 Sting Ray” (1996), which is scaled to the exact dimensions of its subject, acquired its shine and saturation of color through more than 20 coats of metallic silver paint. His process of applying layers of color and clear varnish “produces an illusion of depth, surface and saturation not possible with traditional mediums,” Maier said. “Often, my cars and motorcycles look like they are under glass.”
Not surprisingly, Maier uses Axalta paints.
Peter Maier stands in front of one of his paintings.