The Best Tools for the Job

July 1, 2020
Ron Fleenor uses SATA to do award-winning custom paint work out of his Knoxville, Tennessee shop

Ron Fleenor "Flea" has painted just about anything that you can cover with a coating for over 40 years. He has years of doing automotive refinish work in the collision industry, but his lifelong talent for artwork is certainly what he is most known for. His creative style of “asymmetrical” pinstriping, use of vivid colors, and mixture of paint, graphics, flake, candy, and airbrush make his works of art stand out wherever they appear.

Flea has a great collection of artwork in his office and on display around his shop. He has also helped to test and build paint products, and market awareness of many custom paint lines including SEM, Matrix, and House of Kolor, and even owned and operated a paint store, also named Fleaz Color Faktory, with his wife Cathie. On top of that, Flea spent a little over a year managing sales for the western half of the US for Dan-Am Company.

Ron and Cathie spend a lot of time with family. Their sons, Danny and Troy, and their families live nearby in Knoxville. Their grandkids are a vital part of the Fleenor family’s lives. If you follow them on Facebook or Instagram you have seen many great videos with their kids and grandkids. But today, Flea is back doing what he has always done, turning out award winning paint jobs on motorcycles, helmets, and bicycles. He paints for people around the globe, including NASCAR teams, charity auctions, corporations, and individuals.

Some people paint their boat, Flea paints his boat and trailer with 250 colors.

Tony Larimer, director of sales and marketing at Dan-Am, asked Flea a few questions about his work.

Flea, for the last 10 years you have been a very loyal user of SATA equipment; and it started when I asked you to try the SATAjet® 4000 B. What was it about that gun that made you go all in with SATA?

I loved the way the SATAjet 4000 B gun handled pearls, metallics, and laid down clear. I like to paint close and fast, and it was perfect for me. With the SATA RPS cups on it, I get even fan shapes, great film build with clear, and my colors look clean. That was when I began using the SATA minijets, the SATAjet 100 B for primer, and I love how the SATAjet 100 BP “Polyester” gun sprayed poly, and large flake, most times handling it perfectly in one coat.

Since then, what have you seen from SATA that you use today?

Everything works. The SATAjet 5000 B RP especially in the House of Kolor limited edition is a go-to gun for me. The new SATAminijet 4400 B is definitely a workhorse gun. I use that little gun for everything. The 1.2 SR nozzle set is my favorite, but the 1.4 SR is pretty badass for spraying clear or primer on small jobs. Then SATA nailed it with the new SATAjet X 5500. Having the choice of the I or the O fan shape helps me decide on a nozzle set that works for me. HVLP or RP, I or O, I can pick the nozzle for a product I am spraying. I deal with a variety of candies, pearl basecoats, and clears. For the slow drying products, I like the I nozzles, and for faster drying products I like O fan shapes. And I use the SATA trueSun LED light to see all the colors in what is just like daylight. It makes it easier to match or create colors and effects when you can see exactly what they will look like in the sun.

You spray mostly solvent, is there any SATA products you like for spraying either Low VOC, or National Rule Solvent?

I have done a lot of paint work with many different products. If I am gonna spray solvent I like to grab the SATAjet 1500 B SoLV. It is a super cool looking blue and black gun, lightweight and durable. It has a little wetter droplet for spraying today’s solvent, or even older technology solvent. I can spray sealer, base, and clear with it. It lays down clear super slick. It is only available in a 1.3 or 1.4 HVLP or RP. My go-to is most often the 1500 B with the RP 1.3. It can make a good painter a great one, even me, and it is an instant money maker.

You have won some pretty cool awards lately with your paint jobs, tell us about them.

I was super stoked to be able to completely do my personal bike, and also to work with my son, Troy, on his bike too. We unveiled them at Daytona Bike Week this year in March at the Perewitz Paint Show. This show is super meaningful because it is about the paint job, and rewards the painters who work so hard to make these crazy cool bikes look amazing. Troy’s bike won Best Use of Color, and my own bike won the Best of Show. We also received a couple other awards at other shows in Daytona.

I also did artwork with gold leaf and co-painted a red bike together with Curly’s Inc from Indiana. He won Baddest Bagger at Paul Yaffe’s show, and also won at the Kory Sousa Originals “No-Class Bike Show” in Daytona. Both are prestigious shows for the builders, and I was proud to be the one who worked with Curly’s Inc.’s own paint shop to do the bike together for the wins.

Overall, why do you use SATA guns and other SATA equipment?

I use them because they work. They are durable, and deliver great results each time. Their air filtration system cleans the air, delivers high air volume, and eliminates debris from getting into these complicated paint jobs.

Heck, I’m complicated enough, so I don’t need any further stress in my life. I also use the SATAgraph 4 B and SATAgraph 3 airbrushes, plus the killer pistol grip airbrush named the SATAjet 20 B Design gun. The SATA airbrushes give me great detail, and the SATAgraph 4 has a super fast flow rate, so I can get things done fast.

The SATA stuff works, and lasts. Plus I have known DanAm for a long time. I am proud to use the products they sell.

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