Pinstripes are almost required on vintage hot rods, and they can often be found on guitars. But on mixers?
Yep. And as done by Marie Kisling, they somehow work to make the KitchenAid classics look far cooler than your standard appliance.
You can see that for yourself at Iron Tail Gallery, where owners Kisling and Anthony Slattery are displaying some of their work this month.
The strongly colored, curved mixers easily fall into the pinstriped aesthetic, Kisling said.
“It’s sort of an old hot-rod thing,” she said. “You see bowling pins, old saw blades, stuff like that. It sort of fits with them.”
Kisling paints pinstripes and makes signs under her Miss Kiss Customs enterprise, working with individuals and businesses to put the finely detailed curved lines on "pretty much anything."
She’s done leather jackets and oil cans, which aren’t in the show, along with light switches, Christmas ornaments, frames, skateboards, glassware and guitars, which are on tables and walls at the gallery.
But her pinstripes started in classic fashion — on a motor vehicle.
Kisling’s father was in the auto business and was a hot rod aficionado. There’s a very cute picture of little Marie at age 1 or 2 sitting next to her dad. She’s holding a magazine, but she’s staring intently at the hot rod magazine her dad is reading.
“I guess I’ve always been interested in cars and how they look,” she said.
More than a few years later, her father provided the vehicle for her to get her start painting pinstripes.
“We bought a '74 panel truck with the little notches on each panel,” Kisling said. “He handed me a can of paint and said, 'Start at the top.' That was in '06. I’ve been doing it for 12 years now.”
Among the pinstriped objects in the gallery are a buttermilk-colored James Valentine signature Ernie Ball guitar, really given visual zip by the dark pinstripes (a signed card from the Lincoln native and Maroon 5 guitarist sits next to the guitar), and a couple hollow-body Gretsch guitars, one with full-on rockabilly pinstripes.
There are also a pair of skateboards, created in collaboration with Black Cat Body & Paint, that finds Kisling’s pinstripes above brightly reflective metal flake paint.
Some of Kisling’s most recent creations couldn’t be in the gallery. She’s now adding pinstripes to cars at shows.
“The last year, it’s kind of exploded,” she said. “Toward the end of the season, I did five car shows. I do these things live. I did a '39 Ford, a Coca-Cola truck. That one was a matte finish, so I couldn’t see how many people were watching me. I turned around and it was like 20 people.”
Among the most striking objects on the Iron Tail wall is a hood from a 1968 Corvette that’s covered with a brightly colored painting — not exactly pinstripes but coming from the same sort of place.
“It didn’t belong to a car, so I had to make it into an art piece,” Kisling said. “I had it painted the brightest green possible, so I could use it as a side project with all the colors. I decided to do the candy striper. I decided to make her blonde because I knew everyone would ask about her.”
As I was leaving Iron Tail this week, Kisling pulled out her next project, lifting up a glossily painted oil can and an outlined sketch of Trixie Fink, the 1960s Ed “Big Daddy” Roth hot rod character that will soon adorn the side of the can.
“I love doing this,” she said.