The Bold Babe Series: Paige Macy - Stripe Cult Painting
1. First off, what is your name, how old are you, where do you live, and how long have you been riding motorcycles?
My name is Paige Macy, i'm 25 years old, and the name of my company is Stripe Cult Painting. I moved to Salt Lake City from a place called Hay River in the Northwest Territories in Canada when I was 8 and have been here ever since.
2. How did you get into motorcycles in the first place?
I had wanted to get one for awhile, but the thing that pushed me over was my friend Rev (From @saltcitybuilds) was like "Paige, let's make you a badass bike", and I had just got my tax return back, so it just kind of happened. He found me a bike, and we got it.
3. We see you riding a rad chopper around Salt Lake, what bike did you start with, and how did you end up with this one?
I started with a Kawasaki KZ 650. That bike actually ended up blowing up.... a story for another time. But I wanted more CC's anyway, plus the cafe racer style really didn't represent me. Once I got into motorcycles and figured out what I liked and didn't like, I realized I wanted a chopper. At the time, Salt City Builds mostly did cafe style bikes, so that was what I got. But then they started building choppers, so, I got a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster, with the intention of tearing it apart and keeping the engine. I designed it and Salt City Builds built and fabricated everything for it.
I wanted my bike to be pointy and have sharp edges. I didn't want it to look like anyone else's and wanted it to fit my personality... By designing it from the ground up, I was able to think through all the features from my custom tank, to sissy bar, etc.
4. You are now painting bikes full-time, what made you decide you wanted to do that?
Well, I actually tried going to the Art Institute off and on for a few years. I switched my major 3 or 4 different times from graphic design, to fashion merchandising. My mom was a teacher there, so I was able to get cheaper tuition, but at the same time, they had higher expectations. I actually got kicked out of school 4 times for not going to class... I thought an Art degree was supposed to be hands on, but instead it was sitting in class looking at a power point presentation for 4 hours at a time. This was NOT my style of learning... I just wanted to be able to paint, draw, and get paid for it.
I've always been interested in art. Ever since I can remember I would paint and draw, so when I got the opportunity to apprentice with a tattoo artist I took it. I did that for over a year in between going to the art institute, but when the guy I had my apprenticeship with moved, things kind of fell off. It can be really hard to find a good tattoo apprenticeship. I still would like to tattoo someday, but want to focus on automotive paint for now.
After that I started serving at a restaurant and just painting in my free time. I got an airbrush and started painting with that... then one day I told my boyfriend Seth "I wanna try painting bikes", and he suggested I paint bikes for Salt City Builds. This got me so excited. I asked our friend Jooe who does automotive paint to teach me some basic stuff and give me some lessons.
I was instantly hooked and kept bugging jooe, to the point where I think I was asking too much from him. So, I went to a place called Superior which is an automotive paint shop. I found a mentor there named Kim. He was voted top 100 painters in the country and he wanted to pass on his knowledge to others, so he was down to teach me.
So, I basically started spending ALL my free time learning as much as I could from him and practicing. I only lasted 4 more months serving since all I wanted to do was paint. I would give up any shift I could so I didn't have to be there at the restraunt.
5. Was it scary quitting your “day-job” to follow your passion?
Well yes, of course it was, but by the time I quit, I was SO sick of my serving job it was making me crazy. I hated it and just wanted to paint. The only reason I was really working there was so I could get my back tattoo piece done, so I figured if I put that off for awhile, I could survive off just painting.
I talked to my friend Simon and he said "the happiest time in my life was when I was the most broke", so I just quit my job and jumped in. It was scary because I put in my two weeks and they only gave me one more shift. I think they knew I was pretty over it. I was always giving away my shifts and trying to not work.
6. What has your journey been like learning how to do automotive paint so far, and what are you excited about that you still have to learn?
It was different from what I expected. It's a lot more sanding, priming, and dirty work than I originally thought. But the end result is still always worth it and I enjoy the process. I'm excited to learn more "chopper style" paint. I want to do more metal flaking, learning how to Kandy, and more air brushing.
7. What advice do you have for other women who are considering taking a leap to follow their dreams like you have?
The first year is the hardest to make it work financially. I was more stressed out, and in different ways than I ever had been before because it was all on ME to make it work, but at the same time i've never been so happy.
8. What is one thing you HAVE to have on ALL your motorcycle rides?
I have to have music. I usually listen to Marilyn Manson and Eagles of Death Metal.
9. You’ve made motorcycles your entire life, what is your favorite thing about riding?
Being in beautiful places and hearing the rev on my engine while taking turns. I think part of it is how you have to be so aware of what is going on... the energy around it.
10. Any final words of wisdom?
If you can work for yourself, do it. It was the best thing i've ever done for myself and i'm the happiest i've ever been.
If you're interested in having your bike or helmet painted, you can reach out to Paige via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her Instagram @stripe_cult_painting.
Want to be featured in The Bold Babe Series? You can submit your story here.