Aloha, Today I come to you with a sad, humble and heavy heart.
After much thought and the recent events that have taken place, I have decided to
permanently close Cosmic Airbrush in Honolulu after 35 years of serving Hawaii’s
custom automotive, hot rod and motorcycle paint scene. Decades of work and tens of
thousands of custom painted bikes, cars, trucks, boats, wall murals, guitars, signs and
even t-shirts and banners have now come to an end.
Losing our lease due to the sale of our current facility location of 20 years and being
given a surprising early vacate notice, leaves us with no immediate options of a future
location. At first, our plan was to relocate, but the costs of setting up a legal paint shop in
Hawaii these days are just not worth it, since the custom paint scene isn’t what it used to
be. So, I have officially retired from custom painting.
I will step away from custom painting to pursue and totally devote myself to my
successful fine art galleries that sell my paintings. So, my art can truly live on.
A big MAHALO to all of our friends and customers over the many years of
bringing us the coolest stuff to paint. It is extremely difficult to walk away from building
up a busy and successful shop with a solid reputation of being the highest quality custom
painters in the state, but sadly, the time has come. I would rather close our shop at the top
of our game (It’s better to burn out than fade away).
If you have one of our paint jobs, we hope that it will treasured long after we are
gone. I am grateful and appreciate all of the talented artists in the past that have
contributed their talents and have been instrumental in building up the success of Cosmic
Airbrush. I wish to thank each and every one of them and will never forget the many
hours of creativity, challenges, laughs and discoveries that they supplied. Our shop is
now closed, so it comes to the end.
Sincerely and with my warmest aloha, Dennis Mathewson
Mark Chiu- has been the most important and valuable ingredient to all of the paintwork
at Cosmic’s for the past 16 years. He came to us right out of Auto Body School at
Honolulu Community College. His quality can’t be compared to any other painter in the
State. Color matching bikes, project painting, clear coating, buffing, building and the
mechanics of the biz like no other. He knows and matches color like no other painter I
have ever met. He has amazed me time and time again with miracle remedies and
patience. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He never called in sick except
once when we contacted SARS (from our Tokyo Auto Salon Japan trip) always there
everyday, priceless. He has painted 10,000s of parts and always gets it right, incredible!
He has been with me the longest and I am taking him with me into the gallery work. So
Mark and I will continue working together. Just no more bikes, little stuff or touch ups,
Mike Quering- aka DJ WISH -
Mike came to us several years ago as a t-shirt artist from Florida. He was here for a year
or so before he decided to return back to Florida. While at Cosmic’s he picked up on the
custom painting skills and was really growing as an artist. While back in Florida as an
independent artist he has really blossomed in becoming a world-class artist while still
doing his DJ work on the side all along the way. He returned to us in Hawaii where he
has been for 4 years now and doing all the Cosmic Airbrush custom graphics and
artwork. He works alongside Mark to get all the bikes and painting completed. His work
seen at shows is always the winning paint jobs. I’m very proud to have him doing
Cosmic’s artwork for our customers. Mike will carry on now as an independent artist and
we will refer all future work to him. He is the best there is in Hawaii hands down! Who
know what the future will hold for us, but we will remain good friends and see what
Susan Mathewson- the one person I can always count on who has been though the entire
adventure with me is my loving wife Susan. For over 30 years she has been by my side
through thick and thin. She has continued to run the books and office work while working
the counter with the customers when they come to Cosmic Airbrush. Even back in the car
show and t-shirt days she worked long hours taking orders. She has been there for me
when I freak out, get scared and think the Cosmic Airbrush world is going to end. Always
supportive and positive and getting me back on track and though some of the toughest
times. Susan has also listened to all my dreams and bullshit for decades. She has always
paid on time, the bills, employees, rent, taxes, insurances on time and never late, even if
we didn’t get paid (that happened many times) She is responsible for us having 5 star
credit rating and I’m proud to say we don’t owe anybody a dime. She also chases all the
money that was often due to us. Susan doesn’t like it when customers and clients don’t
pay their bills on time. She continues to do that even today with my fine art sales. I can
honestly say I could have never made it without her and I love her for all she has done to
contribute over the years.
Over the past three years until presently, all of the shop work has been completed by
Mark Chiu, Mike Quering (aka WISH) with me only jumping in to help out here and
there while my main focus was working on my fine art for the galleries. As a team we
covered the bills (but not by much). Each of us helped to keep the dream alive. For the
past 8 years, 90% of the Cosmic revenue has been from my fine art sales. The custom
paint scene just can’t pay the bills, sorry to say. The best part about it was that we all get
along so well and just seem to be addicted to painting. We have a reputation for being
the most expensive, but also the best, I am very proud to say. We stayed busy, but it was
just not enough to support any legal Hawaii small business paint shop’s overhead.
So, for now this part of my Cosmic Airbrush journey has come to an end. Cosmic
Airbrush is still and will always be part of me. But, the service to customers is now gone.
Susan and I will stand back and look at these wonderful memories for years to come. I
may seem sad right now, but it will pass. We still have lots going on with the Dennis
Mathewson art program. I wouldn’t have changed a thing I have grown and learned from
all of it. This is what makes an artist create and paint with passion.
Thanks again for all the years of support from the customers and the artists and workers
and for all of the great memories at Cosmic Airbrush. For now, this ship has sailed.
Come visit me at Wy’s Gallery in Haleiwa- Oahu, Diamond Head Gallery in Lahaina-
Maui and James Coleman Gallery in Poipu-Kauai. In the near future there will be
exciting news with mainland locations opening soon for Dennis Mathewson’s metal