Simon Murray - where it all began....
Simon grew up along the banks of Belfast Lough, 10miles outside of Belfast city.
His love of motorbikes, initially ignited, no doubt by the notoriety of stunt riders Evel Knievel and Eddie Kidd, lead him to the sport of Motocross. He began to race Motocross at the age of sixteen, which is where he first discovered the art of airbrushing. Deciding to paint his own helmet, Simon mail ordered his first airbrush from America and manufactured, a make-shift compressor from an old gas bottle (not highly recommended). Once he had finished his motocross helmet, he moved on to paint his road helmet. Using his bike to travel in and out of work at Bombardier Aircraft factory, it was not long before requests started coming in from his work colleagues to have their own helmets and bikes painted.
The demand snowballed until in February 1992 Simon left his job and started his Airbrushing Business “SM Designs”. For the first 10 years the business provided a custom paint service, mainly on crash helmets, petrol tanks and motorbikes.
His work won many awards and was featured on the front of related publications such as, “Back Street Heroes”, “Streetfighters”, "100% Biker" and “Road Racing Ireland”.
In 2000, Simon produced the first of five, Airbrushing Videos/dvds “40 PSI - Airbrush Insanity”. It was the popularity of this initial video, that fuelled the interest in those that watched it, wanting to learn how to airbrush themselves, and so SM Designs Airbrush Classes where launched.
Needing a water-based airbrush paint suitable for a classroom setting, Simon approached Connecticut based custom paint manufacturer, “Createx Colors”, sending them one of his videos, as way of introduction. Bowled over by the querky nature of the production, along with the obvious expertise and knowledge Simon had of his craft, they not only agreed to sponsor his class with paint but asked him to produce a dvd for them on their latest line of paint “Auto Air Colors”.
This working relationship has now spanned over two decades.
In 2001 SM Designs became the official distributor, of "Createx Colors" paints, for the UK and Ireland. Simon carries out R&D for their new products, produces Youtube videos to provide customers with technical advice on their paints, and teaches classes from the Createx factory in Connecticut.
In 2006 SM Designs moved to purpose built premises in Ballymena, allowing Simon to run a wider variety of classes, include guest artist appearances from, Nub of Nub Grafix (& American Chopper Show), Eddie Davis, Gerald Mendez, Dennis Matheson, Dru Blair, Craig Fraser, Cory St Clair, and Tim Gore
During his days as an airbrush artist, Simon has painted over a thousand items, including helmets, motorbikes, 3 VW Beetles and even one plane and helicopter.
He has sold thousands of videos/dvds (later progressing, with the changing times, to his own Youtube channel “SM Designs Airbrush” which has over two million views, collectively), designed his own line of stencils and taught in various European countries, as well as, being the only European Airbrush Artist to have been invited to teach in the US (both East and West coast)
Simons’ expertise and experience of everything from prep to clear-coat, makes him an Internationally sought after airbrush instructor, able to pass on his wealth of knowledge in a clear, fun, and addictive manner.