Meeting the Hell Cat @ Daytona Bike Week

NOTE: The following article is published at Bikernet.com

Hell Cat Pinstriping her Ironhead Sportster @ Willie's Tropical Tattoo

Hell Cat Pinstriping her Ironhead Sportster @ Willie’s Tropical Tattoo

During a late night North Carolina thunderstorm I got a call from Edge, the Promoter of the Smoke Out. He got me just as I was finishing the last dregs of my Jack on the rocks. With Edge, you never know what alley a conversation will take, so I shook my myself like a dog coming out of a rainstorm to get the cobwebs out.

To my surprise he was talking about a Smoke Out 14 video.

I thought it was a good idea especially since he had enlisted Zack Coffman of Choppertown and the Sinners fame. We batted around using a crowd funding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to secure funds for the project. A long story short, the Indiegogo project was a total failure even though the Smoke Out DVD is on schedule and looks outstanding.

But among the ashes of our crowd funding project, we met and partnered with Jillian Rossi, aka Hell Cat, the pinstriper. We hooked up with her during our video work at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo during Bike Week.

We worked out a deal for Jillian to provide pinstriping clinics during the Smoke Out and you will see her work in the new DVD.

Making the THBSC Lid

Before she came out to the event she created the Horse Backstreet Chopper helmet.

She started out with a flat black Bell Custom 500 lid and removed the trim molding with a razor blade. Then she used 3M Green tape to mask and re-mask the helmet and upholstery.

Prepping the Bell Custom 500 Helmet

Prepping the Bell Custom 500 Helmet

Next order of business was prepping for paint. It requires primer and sanding. Once ready, a silver metallic basecoat paint was applied.

Base Coat Applied

Base Coat Applied

Then the House of Kolor brandy wine paint Candy layers were applied. They were selected to complement the Horse logo.

Jillian’s friend and great airbrush artist, Yuliya, put down an amazing replica of the horse logo on the backside of the helmet.

The Pinstriping started with a black base, and a basic design. Then Jillian brought on a bright red stripe and shot it to the top and to the sides of the helmet. As a third color peach was used to compliment the bright red on the helmet. These three colors play very well with the color of the candy.

Completing the Ballistic Pinstripe Design

Completing the Ballistic Pinstripe Design

The whole basis of the design was to do a ballistic style pinstriping; to cover the whole helmet from top to back.


“It’s a geometrical, wild style of pinstriping,” said Hell Cat. “Very fine lines are overlapping one another to create the overall design for the helmet.”

Jillian did the pinstriping, her father laid down the paint and Yuliya the airbrush.

The Bell Custom 500 Ready to Roll

The Bell Custom 500 Ready to Roll

– Hell Cat pinstriping

The Hell Cat holding court @ Smoke Out 14

The Hell Cat holding court @ Smoke Out 14

Jillian Getting Bobber time @ the Smoke Out

Getting Bobber time @ Smoke Out 14

The History

Pinstriping, and the art of the line, is as old as the very idea of creativity. For thousands of years – going back to the Roman empire – pinstriping has adorned objects of nobility. By the 1800’s, pinstripes decorated the intricate body lines of coaches and carriages.

In the early 1900’s, everything from buggy’s, fire engines, safes, salon windows and doors, furnature, and
much more was decorated with the art of fine lines.

The decorative use of pin striping on motorcycles as it is commonly seen today was pioneered by artists Kenny Howard, (aka Von Dutch) and Dean Jeffries, Dennis “Gibb” Gibbish and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. These artists are considered pioneers of the Kustom Kulture lifestyle that spawned the early 1950s and are widely recognized as the “originators” of modern pin striping.

Today there are pinstriping competions all over the world, and you can be sure you will find a master pinstriper at any auto or motorcylce show. Seen mostly on Hot Rods, Motorcycles, and high end custom cars, pinstriping has found it’s comfortable nitch in the automotive world. Popular Car Culture TV shows, magazines, and Auto Shows are helping the art make a rise back into glory.