When Bruce Beacock custom painted his son’s goalie mask back in 2002, he had only intended to save a few bucks and have some fun exploring his artistic side. What the father of two never imagined was that his handiwork would go on to inspire a booming side-business, attracting customers from around the globe.
“I just thought, I could do it faster, and for much less,” said Beacock, an elementary school teacher from Kingston, Ont., who initially planned to outsource the job. However, he wasn’t about to pay $800 and wait 22 weeks for a simple design he was confident he could do himself. Beacock did a little research and purchased the necessary equipment he would need to get the job done.
“I was feeling pretty ambitious,” said Beacock, who enjoyed art growing up, but never pursued his passion. “I figured I’d do this one helmet for my son, Max, and then when I was feeling creative I could play around with this new airbrush I had bought.”
The result of his artistic endeavour — a custom design Mad Max-themed helmet with blue and white flames. His handiwork thrilled Max and lead to another helmet for a friend’s son, then another for a friend of a friend, and so on.
“It just steamrolled from there,” said Beacock of his side business, Helmet Head Design, which he launched not long after his first custom paint job. To date, Beacock has painted more than 50 helmets for customers as far as Australia using environmentally friendly water-based paints.
Beacock is also able to transform motorcycles, golf clubs, computer towers — pretty much any surface is a possible canvas for this Picasso of spray paint.
“Whenever I’m not out at the rink or teaching, I’m painting,” said Beacock, who has been known to hole up for days on end in his garage to get the job done.
“I once had a request to paint and design a helmet for a vehicle being tested by the U.S. Air force in Albuquerque that needed to be done in three days. I ran on coffee and adrenalin but I got it out to them.”
For Beacock, the design process starts with a general idea or request, which ranges from simple to outlandish.
“I have had people whose idea is incredibly specific like this one guy who wanted a Fredrick’s of Hollywood themed mask,” he said. “There are also those on the other end of the spectrum who leave it up to me to do something with their team name and colours.”
The best place for Beacock to find inspiration for his design is to go where the magic happens — the rink.
“I like to watch the goalie I paint for play,” said Beacock. “You can really get a sense of their character and work it into the design.”
While there are custom painters out there who charge a small fortune, as Beacock previously discovered, this hockey dad does it for the pure enjoyment of the creative process. A little extra cash doesn’t hurt either, especially with having a son on a minor league hockey team.
“I already have a full time job… I do it because I love it and to make some money on the side, not to make a million dollars.”
For more information about Helmet Head Design, visit www.helmetheaddesign.com or call Beacock at 613-328-1291