Seriously Cool Art

Motorcycle gas tanks and helmets, as well as cars and boats, have been airbrush artist Jerry Ashley’s canvases for 25 years. He found himself feeling a tug of nostalgia for the rounded corners and shiny chrome of vintage refrigerators when a client requested he paint a couple as promotional items. Ashley enjoyed the experience so much that he started looking for all the classic fridges he could find. Soon he found that the hunt was half the excitement.

“The feeling of finding an old fridge is like a car collector finding an old Model T in some farmer’s barn,” says Ashley. “These old fridges inspired me. To me, they represent the classic automobile of the ’40s and ’50s.”

Nostaliga, personalization and the simple practicality of cold beverage storage combine in an Ashley Design refrigerator. (Click image to enlarge)

The process of painting a refrigerator is no simple task. All of Ashley’s fridges are stripped, repaired and rebuilt— inside and out—then sprayed with an epoxy primer. Next, a diamond base coat is applied, followed by a protective clear coat. After wet-sanding, the graphics—any the client chooses—are applied. Several other clear coats follow. Finally, a power polish gives the finished product a mirror shine.

The hard part these days for Ashley is finding his canvases. Friends used to call him, desperate for anyone to remove what they thought were eyesores. “Five years ago they were everywhere. Now you have to really look for the tarnished jewels,” he says. | 250.769.6140


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