Paint: Flat & Satin Black Are In. Glossy Black Is Out.

Motorcycle & car custom builders have used black primer for decades to log the progress of their fabrication work. Why? Because of the “flop”.  A flat black has a beautiful “flop”, the contrast between the light side and dark side of a surface. For designers & fabricators, it’s the best way to appreciate the purity & beauty of a line, of a form, of a surface.  Since many years, flat black, instead of shiny paint jobs, has also been used as the finishing paint, or as accent, on new custom motorcycles and cars, but occasionally, to accentuate the retro look of a style or model. During these last 3 years, we saw a resurgence of flat black paint on Bobber motorcycles and Rat Rod Cars & Trucks (with or without the use of pinstripes). During the chrome excess of the 90’s, more & more custom bikes went looking like Christmas trees: there was so much chrome and glossy painted surfaces that shiny parts were reflecting in shiny parts, reflecting in more shining parts. Result: body lines, even as beautiful they could be, disappeared in an ocean of blinding lights.  In reaction, the sinister look is back. But there are 2 potential dangers. Flat black poorly executed conveys poor quality for the vehicle (please, don’t use BBQ spray can, except if it’s your theme). And if everybody embraces the matte black look at the same time it’s going to be very boring to the eyes. Partial answer: using semi gloss black or mixing different shines of black. By the way, there is a new trend running in parallel of the black look. The steel look, burnished or not. But it will be for another post in this Blog.        

2 Responses to “Paint: Flat & Satin Black Are In. Glossy Black Is Out.”

  1. 1 marc Nov 17th, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    I just had David Londono at Flawless paint my bike in satin black with naked aluminum scallops trimmed in gold. He did a ’50 Vargas girl on the tank top, and a Coop Devil’s head on the rear fender. The beauty of the satin black look is that the artwork “jumps” out of the black background. It’s a different look, but one that looks great on a “retro” look bike and I’m very happy with the end result.

    The key to keeping it looking good was David’s laying down many layers of satin clearcoat to finish off the work, and now I apply considerable layers of high quality wax to protect and keep the surface and colors from being affected by the UV’s when it’s outside being ridden.

  2. 2 ewen Dec 3rd, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    yo i just painted my 1972 slammed and smoothed beetle satin black its not finished yet but the paint when on so badly first the matting agent must have seperated cause in places its calk board black and in others its gloss whats up with that if and ones got any ideas please share my only option know is to wet and dry paper it then polish it to gloss black witch is not what i want please tell me ewen

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Cyril Huze