Steven Koch is a self taught, custom painter from a small town called Mount Gambier in South Australia. His story is an interesting one as it shows how man can overcome adversity and fulfil his own goals. Read his story in his own words below:
“My story begins with me being born with a disorder called “Poland Disease” which meant I would only have the one fully functional left hand and a small right hand, hence the business name ‘Hellboy Restorations‘ as the comic book hero Hellboy has one small hand and one large. The passion for art and making old things new came at a very early age, at 11-12 years old I had a shed full of BMX bikes I would strip, repair and modify for myself as well as for kids from around the town. The back yard clothes line was my “booth” back then and my passion soon moved onto cars once I purchased my 1st set of wheels. I worked as a custom furniture manufacturer/painter for 7 years after leaving school, and at the age of 15 years I moved onto the stainless and aluminium industry for a total of 3 years gaining skill in metal fabrication. It was not till the age of 23 that I decided to attempt my 1st full respray an LX Torana which to this day I hear is still looking OK. At this point I realised my fate was to be a painter. It’s always been about the thrill of making something that looks terrible turn into some that blows people away.
Fast forward to age 30, with a heap of resprays and painting under my belt and plenty of talent, I was noticed by a local custom paint shop for my crazy attention to detail and my determination in reaching my goals. I walked straight into the head painting position without missing a beat, everything was going great. I was getting into a lot of special effect dash kits and other small one off jobs.
I met a local airbrush artist who introduced me to the absolute basics of airbrushing, so I bought the cheapest starter kit I could find and began to dabble in my own time with some pretty good results. But the job at the custom shop was short lived – way to many unfulfilled promises over time made me depressed and very little custom work was being done in the shop. I had all the go to get in there and do it but I was being pushed into being a shit kicker whilst the shop was under renovation which to this day is still underway. although it was possibly the hardest choice I have made, after an entire year in the custom paint position I finally decided to bite the bullet and walk away from it.
Two weeks later, determined not to let this little hiccup get in my way, I had stripped bare my shed at home and built an air tight filtered booth with my bare hands. Now at age 33 and a little over a year of starting my own little shop, I have so far had work featured in Street Machine magazine and really hope to have my work the pages of “Dirty Love Magazine” who feature custom art and bike work.
I have had customers as far as Perth (3000km away) come to me for high end paint/bike work such as a 1968 triumph. As for my airbrush work, I have progressed at a rapid rate with no training what so ever, just picking the gun up and going for it! I have no modern tech machines such as plot cutters or stencils cutters, everything I do is hand drawn and stencils are all hand cut. Now that I have a few skills in the airbrushing I have managed to sell quite a few wall hangers & canvas works beginning to paint high gloss pieces which would great man cave/bar art.
I am forever thinking of new ideas and products as well as new painting methods. So to wrap it all up I am loving doing what I am doing and very keen to try new things with future jobs as I’m nowhere near finished yet!”
Check out some of Steven’s work below:
You can catch up with Steven on his Facebook page.