Steve Martinez is well known as one of the best custom auto artists in the world. When he’s not working from his custom shop in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is teaching people from all over the world for House of Kolor in Japan and the United States.
Steve created Bag of Flames™ because he realized that not everyone can justify paying a professional to trick out their car or truck with flames. The system he designed is simple to use and he gives easy step-by-step instructions so you can have the look of a custom paint job you’ll be proud of.
Steve got into custom flame painting when he was very young. Here is his story:
When I was 14, I rode my bike past a flamed truck. It was the wildest paint job I had ever seen! On the back of the truck, there was a name: Himsl.
I knew I wanted to learn how to paint like that, but nobody would share any tricks back then. I rode by this guy, Art Himsl’s shop and watched him paint these wild things. I never tried talking to him. I was too shy to say or ask him anything. I just watched him and then went home and tried harder. As I got better I started to hear his name everywhere. Of course, it seemed that he was improving his skills too. There was no way to catch up to him!
Then, one day I had a pinstriper named Frank Mills stripe for me. Frank was a great striper and sign painter. We became good friends. It turned out he knew Himsl. He said, ‘I will take you over to his house one day to meet him.’ Talk about being nervous. But there was no reason to be. Himsl was so cool to me. He told me things that I didn’t know and helped me get where I am today.
More time went by and one day I needed some of my work outlined so I called Frank. He was nowhere to be found so I asked Mr. Himsl to stripe this bike I just flamed. He stopped, turned to me and said, ‘If you really want to be a custom painter you have to learn how to stripe!’
So for one year all I did was stripe everything I could. Believe me, I mean everything. I am who I am today, doing what I love to do for more than 30 years…thanks to Art Himsl.
I’ve had the great opportunity to be trained by Jon Kosmoski and assisted him throughout Northern California. Now I teach exclusively for House of Kolor in Japan and the USA.