I first met Andrew (Triple) several years ago at a local bike show. He came up and introduced himself to me as I stood on an outlook high above the show. We stood there for several minutes, conversing about the show and artwork and the possibility of doing some work together. I walked away, thinking he was a quiet dude with a bright future. I've since worked with Triple on various projects and helped him create some ads for his paintwork; my first assessment of him was correct, and I've watched him grow his skills, his confidence, and I've been impressed with his drive. He recently went out on his own and is working hard and sacrificing to make his business flourish. I've been excited for him after every single interaction, and I can tell you without reservation that you would be hard-pressed to find a more humble, hard-working artist than Triple. I expect great things from him. Keep an eye on this young buck. He's going places.
Tell us about yourself, name, birthplace, location? My name is Andrew Riffle. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.
How did painting bikes get started for you? I got into painting when I got my first bike, I reached out to a painter to have my tins done, and I realized quickly that it was out of my budget. I started researching how to do it on my own and started trying on my friend's bikes, and before I knew it, I was painting more and more bikes and never got the chance to paint my own until not that long ago, many bikes later, haha.
Have you always been an artist? I've been surrounded by art my whole life. When I was a kid, my mom would paint all the time, and I would watch her, I thought it was awesome. She was into the Bob Ross style, and she was right by always encouraging my sisters and me to practice drawing painting every day.
Photo by Andrew
Who inspires you, artistically? Painters, musicians, other artists? There are many painters whose work I admire. Still, most of my inspiration comes from other places. I can watch a documentary about a fighter or someone who has been through adversity and succeeded, and I'll wanna go straight to the shop and get after it. But for colors and design ideas, it sounds cliché, but the best color palette is nature. For example, I like going to the aquarium. You'll see colors go together, and you can use those combinations in paint.
What brand of mediums do you prefer? Paint? Flake? Thinner? I try and stick with what I know and what I know works for me. Painthuffer Metalflake and House Of Kolor. Also, I had used a lot of PPG when I was working for a shop.
When and how did motorcycles come into your life? I got into motorcycles because I needed cheap transportation. I was 22 years old, and I bought a 1983 Honda shadow off Craigslist, and the guy let me make payments, haha. It needed work to run, so my buddy Evan and I got it home and started learning how to get it running. I got obsessed with it, and that was that. Then I wanted to start making it look cool and have fun with it. I rode daily for years before I bought my first car, lots of time figuring the best way to strap shit down and figuring out how to get the bike off the side of the road.
Any tips for beginners? If you are getting into paint or thinking about getting into it, I would say go for it! What's the worst that happens? You fuck it up and waste money and time, and you can fix it. Learning how to fix it is what's gonna make you good. Custom paint was started to hide fuck ups. If you think you want to do it for a career, then try working for a shop. You'll learn so much faster in a few years then you could in decades of painting motorcycles.
You recently went independent. How do you balance creativity with the need to hustle work? The good thing about doing this full time is that I get to be creative when I feel like it, when I get an idea, I write it down when I feel like I'm just going through the motions to get the job done. I try not and paint on those days. There is plenty to do, so I can prep parts out or pack parts up if I'm not feeling it. If I'm in a funk, I will always go back to the basics, do something simple and subtle. It will get me stoked again.
Would you rather have a customer give you specific instructions, or do you prefer just a general color scheme and free rein with a design? I love to get some colors from my customers or a few ideas about why they chose me in the first place. I like freedom, but I will have anxiety like crazy if I don't even know what they like. For the most part, I get to know the customer before we even decide on the paint.
Where does the name Triple come from? I grew up skating with a group of guys, and in our crew, there were 3 Andrews. I was the youngest and smallest, so they always called me Triple-A, then Triple just stuck.
What's your favorite color combination? Black and gold!!! Can't go wrong.
Photo by Andrew
Any favorite jobs recently? Recently I have been able to paint more and more bikes that mean a lot to me. The most recent would be Josh Sheehan's Born-Free build "Medusa" it was a collab with Matt from @hypnoticair.
Photo by Andrew
What's your favorite place to ride? I live in Phoenix, so you go twenty miles in any direction, and it's beautiful. I'm good right here.
What does the future hold for Triples Paint Works? I'm not planning on slowing down anytime soon, so I want to continue learning and growing. I wanna keep painting bikes. I want to ride more and try and make it out of the shop and the events a little more when time allows, and really just enjoy life.
Anyone you want to thank? I want to say thank you to the ChopCult crew for giving me the platform! Thank you guys so much. All the love and support have helped me get to where I am today, and I appreciate it! Thank you, Jennifer, for helping me out with photos and getting my first ads going. Thank you to my beautiful girlfriend, Maddie, for putting up with me and being a trooper!!! Thank you to everyone who has let me paint their bikes over the years!!!!
Be sure to give Andrew a follow on Instagram and check out his website for painting ideas.
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