These days, Lou is still painting acoustics
in his basement workshop. With the help
of Adobe Photoshop, he can fine-tune
and organize his designs before they hit
the guitar’s top, allowing him to play with
The original five guitars done by Lou had
to be sent back to the Gibson factory for
refinishing, a specialized skill set that he
had not yet picked up. While the guitars
were away, he decided to continue his
newfound hobby with some relatively
inexpensive Epiphone acoustics, painting a
trippy visage of Hendrix along with a tribute to the Grateful Dead.
a variety of ideas before committing them
to his canvases. “Album covers, posters,
even famous artworks from Van Gogh and
Picasso all work nicely. I’ve been surprised
by how many things can actually work on
the guitar,” Lou says. When it comes to the
actual painting, he first sands down the finish, adds a little gesso and then paints the
guitar with acrylic paints – “the old-fashioned way,” he adds.
Talking with Lou, you get the idea that he’d
like to parlay his recent success into a full-time gig, but for now, he reassured us this is
all just an part-time endeavor. “You know, it’s
a hobby, although I think it’s gonna be more
than a hobby, because it seems like I’m doing
something really good and getting a lot of
good feedback. People are asking me how
much I want for certain things, but I’m just
doing them to do them.” He has ruled out
painting electrics (“it’s like a different instrument, a different animal.”), and is concentrating on his latest project, a used Martin featuring a Bob Dylan album cover.
Whatever route he takes with his art, it really
just boils down to a return to a different time
and expression. “The whole painting thing
that went on in the ‘60s, with everyone painting their guitar psychedelic colors, was great.
And with the 40th anniversary of 1968 coming up, I’m working to resurrect it,” Lou says.
“I think I’ve come up with a pretty cool style
of painting guitars.”