Master Airbrush artist Piers Dowell
spent over 100 hours working on the Pink Floyd Guitar
and is now auctioning it for charity at the Pebble Beach Concours D' Elegance in Monterey
It's a beauty!
Here's his story…
In February 2008 Piers commenced work on probably his best know piece to date, The Pink Floyd Guitar. The brief was to produce an item that had no limits on design and was to be used as a promotional tool for Piers’s work by being sold for Charity. Fortunately Piers had negotiated a sponsor for the Guitar to cover some of the huge costs in producing an item of such quality. In order for it to maximise it’s end value Piers decided to negotiate signatures from the best known Pink Floyd line up of Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason and David Gilmour.
After pondering on where to start in negotiating this Piers decided to use the 6 degrees of separation theory and contact a long time Friend & customer ,Martin Stretton, a prolific historic car collector & enthusiast. Indeed he did, but suggested I contact Charles who looked after Nicks cars and whom he had a better rapour with. Charles kindly forwarded pier’s request onto Nick who was only too happy to oblige. Not only that he gave Piers the contact details of the other P.As and management teams for the other band members.
In the meantime Piers had drafted a proof for the design and forwarded it to Nick who approved. However Rogers office did not as they were opposed to the picture on the back of the band. As it turned out there were very few images available of all four together. Rogers office suggested contacting Storm Thorgensen who could supply a suitable image, unfortunately this took some time as Storm was undergoing treatment for Cancer at the time. However he did kindly supply a hi res version of an image which is on some versions of the ‘Dark Side of the Moon ‘Album.
Now work could commence on the artwork itself as in the meantime a U.S spec Fender Stratocaster had been acquired, stripped & prepped. Challenges included the seamless integration of the pick guard and all the covers for the pick ups. Work continued apace until the bad news, that for some reason, David Gilmour would not sign the guitar. This was a great blow to Piers who would only consider the piece complete when all four signatures were on the Guitar. However with a never say never attitude Piers continued working on the piece finding the detail on the Battersea power Station especially challenging. The image on the back of the band went extremely well and Piers has achieved an almost perfect likeness of the four. To really make the piece as plush as it could be, the two halves of the design were joined with a variegated gold leaf and the famous album cover titles painted over the top.
With the artwork now complete after 111 hours work the guitar was assembled and taken personally by Piers to Sue Arnold , Rick Wrights P.A for its first signature. Piers had stayed in contact with Sue Arnold throughout the painting process as Rick was due to go off sailing for some time at any moment. However he did not for reasons which would become sadly apparent later that year. With Rick signature applied Piers then made another trip to London to deliver the Guitar to Nick Mason at his offices near Kings Cross. Nick Kindly signed the Guitar there and then so Piers could deliver it to Rogers management at an office above Fenwicks department store in the centre of London. As luck would have it Roger was in the U.K at this time so only a small window of opportunity existed. A week or so later Diann, Piers wife picked up the Guitar from Rogers UK residence.
The search was then on by the sponsor for an event for the guitar to be sold at although Piers was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with this scenario as he felt that at some stage David Gilmour could be persuaded. Then a bombshell struck the whole project as on the 15th September it was announced on the news that Rick Wright had died at home of Cancer. Piers had noted that on the proof photograph of Ricks signature that Rick did not look well and this may have been the reason that Rick had not gone sailing as planned. Sadly Rick never made it back to his boat and Piers has the overwhelming feeling of Gratitude towards Rick for still taking the time despite the fact it was inevitable running out for him.
At this point the sponsor for the project pushed for the piece to be sold at the earliest opportunity despite the fact that David had still not signed the guitar. This really went against the grain for Piers who considered the project only saleable when all four had signed. At this point Piers decided to buy back the guitar despite the fact he still actually had possession of it. After much deliberation Piers came to the conclusion that the Answer would present itself somehow some way.
In the meantime Piers used the piece as a demo for his work at various shows including the extremely prestigious Pebble Beach concours De Elegance in Monterey California.
As it happened the answer presented itself much closer to home at the 2012 Autosport International Show. James Tucker of Britcar spotted the Guitar and contacted James Cameron of the charity Mission to Motorsport. James has the fortunate position of having Nick Mason as a patron of the charity and asked Nick to negotiate with David for his signature, no mean feat as David had stated some time ago that he would no longer sign anything for charitable purposes or otherwise. Despite this, in August 2012 the Guitar was delivered by Piers to Phil Taylor at David’s riverboat studios at Hampton Court on the Thames for David to sign.
To produce artwork at this scale is unbelievably difficult and sets Piers apart as one of the most technically accomplished Airbrush artists in the world. The standard of his work for this piece has partly been inspired by the Band itself but also for a desire to produce something of extreme beauty. The piece also comes complete with its own bespoke display stand and Perspex protective dome. It also comes with a pink suede covered hand bound photo album featuring the painting process and the signature proof pictures. The guitar is now signed by Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Rick Wright and at last David Gilmour. As it transpired this guitar was the last thing Rick signed for charitable purposes.
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