Interview: Triple's Paint Works with Andrew Riffle

Name: Andrew Riffle 
Location: Phoenix, AZ 
Occupation: Painter 

Why/how did you start painting? Are you self taught? 

A: I started painting after I bought my first motorcycle. I was fixing it up so it wouldn't look like a piece of shit & decided to reach out to a painter to ask about a paint job. I soon realized how expensive it would be to get something done, so I decided to try it myself. Needless to say, it was hard & ended up looking like shit. 

At that point I dedicated myself to learning & getting better. I started painting my buddies bikes & landed a job at a paint shop which lead to an opportunity to get certified in paint mixing, application & safety laws. Learning those fundamentals was a huge help but my knowledge & creativity primarily derived from my at home projects. Mapping something out in my mind & trying to make it a reality is the best form of learning for me. 

Have you seen your style change over time? 

A: My style has stayed pretty consistent I'd have to say. There are styles I am attracted to but I don't feel that I am at my peak of performance to emulate them yet. Growing up in Phoenix has lead me to love lowriders & the crazy paint jobs you usually associate with them. Bright colors & wild designs have always caught my eye, so I definitely draw inspiration from those aspects. 

What are some of your most recognizable paint jobs? Who were they for? 

One of the first people I got to paint for was Jeremiah from Love Cycles, he was also one of the first clients to give feedback to help me learn. I painted the tank for Scott Ross's 56' panhead which was very nerve wrecking. It was a bike that had been in multiple magazines & owned by the well known builder himself. 

I've painted pretty much every bike my homies own & now am working on bikes for clients out of state. It's super rad to know people who have no idea who I am are willing to reach out & get their bikes done by me. But I'll admit, it sucks to know that once I am finished with a project, I'll may never see it again after putting so much time & effort into it. 

What do you hope to accomplish with Triple's Paint Works? 

A: I just want to stay motivated & keep this shit going. I would love to have my own shop so I don't have to worry about poisoning my girl & our animals. In a dream world, I'd love to eventually have a team to back my vision & help me prep projects. 

What do you do on your free time other than paint? 

A: I don't get very much free time but if I do, I love skateboarding, boxing, riding & spending time with my girl & animals. I like my alone time though. 

Is Triple's Paint Works your full time job? If not, where do you work?

A: I work full-time at Brickhaus Restorations, an award winning Volks Wagon restoration shop. I get to do a lot of painting & body work. It's really great to work with such rad people, doing what I love, I'm learning from guys who are on another level of talent. As soon as I'm off, I go home to work on my personal stuff. A typical day of work for me is around 12-15 hours almost everyday.  

What would be a dream project for you?

A: I would definitely love to paint a show bike at some point. Painting an Impala for myself & hittin' switches would be a dream too.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given? 

A: The best shit I ever heard was if you want to be your own boss & not have a normal job, then be prepared to hustle everyday. I don't remember who said that but I'd like to think I'm doing a decent job doing so. I take my work & vision very seriously. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own company or take steps towards a vision they have if they don't feel "qualified"? 

A: I've always wanted to be able to set an example for youth who come from nothing & need something meaningful to do. I would say to stop blaming other people for why you aren't rich & don't blame your parents or friends for what you don't have. Start making a change if you want change. If you don't know anyone you can consider a "hero", stop fucking around with people & start doing what you want to do. Don't be afraid to fuck up, stay out of trouble & take care of your body & mind. 

What kind of rituals or patterns do you have when starting a project?

A: Communication is key when starting a project. I'll talk to my customers to figure out what they are envisioning for their bike & then incorporate my style into theirs. When I start to paint I always need background I'll throw on some Joe Rogan maybe, have a few beers & smoke a little until I am fully engaged in the project until it's finished. 

Are there any specific people you'd want to thank thus far in your career? 

A: Shout out to all my homies who let me paint their shit, all the people who support what I'm doing, my lady for putting up with me while I do this, you (Taura) for helping me build my website & all the companies who have backed me with your products. Big thanks to everyone from Cowtown Skateboards as well! I wouldn't be here without this great support system, so thank you.