Painters Think ‘Outside the Can’


A paint can is a paint can is a paint can… unless it’s also R2-D2, a pineapple or Iron Man. At least that’s how contestants see it in Axalta Coating System’s annual “Paint Outside the Can” contest.

Each year, Axalta invites automotive painters from the United States and Canada to submit their creative reimagining of the humble paint can.

This year’s grand prize winner was Patrick Napolitano for his customized work titled “Painting Winners into the Future,” which transformed a simple paint can into an R2-D2 figure from the front with his own design on the back.

Contest rules require participants to use a clean, empty, unused, standard one-gallon paint can as their canvas, and any of the Axalta brands of coating systems to realize their artistic vision. Finished pieces cannot exceed a total size of 14 inches wide by 14 inches tall by 14 inches deep.

All of the 2016 entries can be viewed here.

Top Choices

A panel of "celebrity judges" selects six winning entries based on creativity, execution and degree of difficulty, and one grand prize winner is chosen from these finalists.

The 2016 Paint Outside the Can judges were:

  • Ron Coan, an automotive painter known best for his work at Detroit design/build firm Mobsteel;
  • Rachel De Barros, chief marketing officer, host and executive producer of Gearhead Diva;
  • Ray Evernham, three-time NASCAR champion crew chief and host of AmeriCarna;
  • Danny "Danny D" Galvez, a well-known custom automotive painter and pinstriper;
  • Dave Lane, one of the top traditional-style car builders in the U.S.; and
  • Paul Quinn, a respected airbrush and pinstriping artist and custom paint instructor.
Photos: Axalta

Mike Burton's "Pineapple Passion" (left) and Taylor Holmes' "Who You Gonna Call?" creations were favorites of both the celebrity judge panel and online voters.

In addition to “Painting Winners into the Future,” their other five top picks were:

  • Mike Burton, “Pineapple Passion”
  • Josh McCurdy, “Summer Clearance”
  • Taylor Holmes, “Who You Gonna Call?”
  • Garrett Sands, “So ‘Mush’ Room to Explore”
  • Mike Cohen, “Welcome to the Dark Side”

Fan Faves

The 2016 fan favorites were:

  • Mike Burton, “Pineapple Passion”
  • Patrick Napolitano, “Painting Winners into the Future”
  • Jose Espinoza, “Backyard Boogie”
  • Joseph Forman, “Axalta’s Iron Can vs. Paint Machine”
  • Josh McCurdy, “Summer Clearance”
  • Taylor Holmes, “Who You Gonna Call?”

Additionally, six fan favorites are identified based on the number of “likes” that entries received during a four-day period on the company’s Axalta Refinish Instagram page.

Backyard Boogie Summer Clearance

"Backyard Boogie" by Jose Espinoza (left) and "Summer Clearance" by Josh McCurdy were picked as fan favorites in Axalta's 2016 "Paint Outside the Can" contest.

The winning entries were displayed in Axalta’s booth at the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Show Nov. 1-4, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Each of the winners was awarded gift cards worth up to $500, accommodations while attending SEMA and more.

About the Company

A global company, Axalta is focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, it says its coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the coated materials to last longer.

The company celebrates 150 years of experience in the coatings industry this year, and boasts a staff of approximately 12,800 people serving more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries.


Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Awards and honors; Axalta; Coating Materials; Contests; North America; Paint application; Painting competitions

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