Arts & Entertainment

Art of the Rockabilly genre

By Shelby Otto
A&E Section Editor 

In light of the Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker’s appearance on Oct. 3, KU Presents! and Sharadin Art Building’s atrium welcomed artist Andy Cappuccio to exhibit his work in a show entitled, “Art of the Kustom Car Culture.” 

Cappuccio, or “Pooch” as he goes by in his profession, is based out of Swiftwater, Pa., and makes his living working in an artistic style called pinstriping. Artists like Rocker and the Rockabilly music genre as a whole are “very much connected to the custom car culture,” he stated. 

In a discussion with the artist about his work, his vehicles and Rockabilly music, Cappuccio explained how Rocker, one of the top U.S. bassists in rock music history, had very unique stand-up basses. 

“His basses were often pinstriped and had flames on them, graphics on them, all kinds of crazy stuff,” he said. This was the root reason for the dynamic collaboration between the gallery and KU Presents!

 Since pinstriping might not be a familiar concept due to its aging, Cappuccio was kind enough to explain a little bit about it, such as what it is, the materials he uses and how he got involved in the trade. 

As far as the process goes, he put rather simply, “It’s an enamel-based paint that’s used specifically for lettering on vehicles. The hairs on the brush are about two inches long and they taper down to a nice point.” Then, once you have the paint on the brush, the thickness of the line you make is adjusted through the pressure you put on the tool and when you pull away from the surface. 

Once you know what exactly pinstriping is, its appearance on what Cappuccio calls “hot rods” becomes a more familiar concept to one’s mind, with things like flames and stripes running down the middle of classic cars’ hoods and back underneath their windows, a familiar image in numerous action movies. 

Cappuccio’s story is just as interesting as the art of pinstriping itself, as it’s what you think of when you think of a classic car movie. 

“I was into hot rods when I was a little kid,” the artist said, “and I was in a Car Club when I was 16. I was the kid at this burger joint and the rest of the guys were older, 18 and 20, so no one notices you when you’re ‘the kid.’” Then one day, Cappuccio did happen to get noticed, sitting outside drawing cartoons of all the other guys’ cars. He said on that day, one of the men he worked with brought him a pinstriping brush and told him to try it out. 

“Back then, pinstriping was a closed art,” Cappuccio continued. “You had to know somebody. And everybody was going to this guy Mr. J,” whom the artist remains close friends with to this day. Cappuccio spent every Saturday that summer hanging over J’s shoulder, learning the trade, cleaning the shop, all kinds of things an apprentice might do.

When asked why he does this kind of artwork, Cappuccio stated, “This [art], pinstriping, custom airbrush lettering on hot rods and motorcycles is my job.”  

Cappuccio’s artwork will be hanging in the atrium in Sharadin Art Building for a few weeks only, and you can find his work and contact information at or  

Categories: Arts & Entertainment