Michael Montgomerie, custom airbrush artist and visual art & design teacher, now living on the Gold Coast, is doing what he loves – teaching and airbrushing on the Gold Coast in Australia. Having travelled the globe training and developing his artistic style, Michael, better known as Monty, has been asked to showcase some of his work for Ozbike Magazine.
Monty’s current focus is on designing and airbrushing personalised designs for Harley Davidson owners. Working in collaboration with Dave Butler, former motor sports racer and owner of DB Kustomz on the Gold Coast, a leading Harley sales and specialist workshop, Monty is designing artwork for a number of prestigious contracts. Dave has allowed me some space in his new shop where I can display tanks and bikes that I have airbrushed. I will also be promoting my airbrushed “man cave” aluminium panel wall art which will be on sale.
He has also received a lot of support from Gasoline Alleys Marketing Manager Tracey Williams in Slacks Creek near Brisbane. “Traceys just awesome she tells it like it is, if she likes your work all good, if not… oh you will know about!” I like her straight up style and appreciate her guidance, advice and providing me an opportunity to display work when they have open-days.
Monty has also been a major player in planning the beautification the Queensland Rail 2020 Stations. It involved educating students and working with schools to produce many design concepts which were then painted onto the walls of numerous train stations all around Brisbane. One of my favourites was a 70 metre work of art at the Deagan Railway Station with a Horse Racing theme.
I was born in New Zealand and really had no concept of the possibility of earning a living from art. I’m so fortunate to incorporate my passions into a productive and meaningful lifestyle.
Michael Montgomerie was born in a small seaside town in New Zealand called Waitara. In New Zealand, Waitara has quite a reputation for producing successful sports people. Montgomerie himself, has won national titles and coached a national team in Olympic Style Wrestling, along with gold medals for the sport of Rowing as well as representative Rugby.
“Sports and Art have long played a major part in my life. I am fortunate enough to work as a secondary teacher in the areas of physical education, art and design. It is not a job to me. It’s a passion and a lifestyle”.
Montgomerie spends his weekends enjoying the Gold Coast outdoor lifestyle with cruising on his Harley, Airbrushing and surfing, in which this time, he is often gathering inspiration for his next art project.
While attending High School art class, Montgomerie happened to browse through an airbrush book. He found the artwork and style awe inspiring. He immediately knew that he needed to learn this new form of painting.
“I became hooked, I saved and bought an airbrush but couldn’t afford a compressor, so I bought a can of compressed air – which lasted 10 minutes and I was devastated! Next goal was a compressor, to solve the air source problem. I painted some shop fascia signs and got some cash that way. I was on my way to making money from artwork!”
Michael gained formal art and design qualifications which enabled him to work in the graphics industry, working for design studios, sign companies and advertising agencies. He later decided to go to university to become a teacher.
“Teaching enables me to share my passion for sport and art,” says Monty.
” The kids I teach are able to see how art is a skill used in the “real world” and they too can make a descent living and forge a career, or even see the world in this line of work. I aim to inspire and encourage them to set goals and chase their dreams as I have.
”I believe as an artist – it is not something you do to make money, it’s something you do, and the rewards will come in a range of ways”.
Montgomerie has certainly been rewarded over the years; having won Silver in the NZ National Sign and Display Awards “Illustrations & Murals Division” and again for the “Vehicle Graphics Division” the following year.
Never satisfied with the finished product, Monty has travelled the world both teaching and improving his craft. Over the years he has befriended a number of highly skilled and successful artists, always conscious of the desire to gain professional advice, guidance and knowledge on products and techniques.
“I have been so fortunate in my travels. I’ve received instruction from some the best airbrush artists in the world”. Montgomerie has even received specialist airbrush instruction from legends such as Craig Fraser -Automotive Art, Michael Cacey -Tips and Tricks, and Steve Driscoll – Realistic Portraiture. Montgomerie has even had an article published in the American Auto-Art Magazine, which features his mural work and vehicles in which he airbrushed in California.
Returning from the US and UK leg of his travels, Monty decided to do a stint of teaching art at an international school in Dubai. Here, he established a highly successful art department, thoroughly enjoying the cultural change while also having great success with his freelance art work. He became highly sought after during his time in Dubai, painting portraits of the late HH Sheikh Zayed and HH Sheikh Maktoum for the Wellington International School in Dubai.
He enjoyed mixing with royalty such as Sheikh Nahyan and the Duke of Wellington, Prince Michael of Kent who visited the school to view his work. More recognition followed when Montgomerie had the opportunity to exhibit his work at a prestigious Arabian Horse Show.
“They absolutely love their horses in the UAE and so do I”. Montgomerie has painted many Equine Art Portraits and Walls of Fame – including Queenslanders favourite from the 90s, the legendary “Rough Habit” and another was a horse named “40 Licks” owned by the Prince of Saudi Arabia. Montgomerie’s artwork was discovered by a Marketing Director for Dubai Horse Racing, while on display at a Dubai gallery. In 2006, she approached him to reproduce his Arabian Portrait/Illustration for each of the 7 sponsors of The World’s Richest Horse Race – The Dubai World Cup.
“That was such an honour and a good feeling that my work is hanging on their walls”.
Upon leaving Dubai, Montgomerie continued his teaching and art journey to the Gold Coast where he now resides. “I’ve again combined my passions,” said Monty. ” I ride my own Harley, and just love cruising around the Coast. I love these bikes, they are a work of art in themselves and to paint one for someone means a lot to me. They place their pride and joy in my hands to create something they are proud to show off”.
I am constantly researching and analysing the techniques of a range of artists. I feel you need to do this to keep up with styles and trends. One of the artists I most admire is Australian Artist, Perry Mallet (now in the USA) and Stu Vimpani.
Other artists I follow and am inspired by include American Legends–Terry Stephens, Jonathan Panteleon, Blake McCully ”CrossedEyed”. Their work is just mind-blowing! Others include my all-time favourites I call “Modern Michelangelos” hyper realism artists – Dru Blair, Marissa Oosterlee. I often write to these artists via face-book and just say hi, admire their work and on occasions get their advice on products and techniques.