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Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Snohomish woman turns KitchenAid mixers into works of art

  • Snohomish artist Nicole Dinardo uses an airbrush gun to paint the rivets on a warbird-themed KitchenAid mixer.

    Heather Lynn Photographie

    Snohomish artist Nicole Dinardo uses an airbrush gun to paint the rivets on a warbird-themed KitchenAid mixer.

  • A mixer for food blogger Pioneer Woman was featured on the Food Network.

    Heather Lynn Photographie

    A mixer for food blogger Pioneer Woman was featured on the Food Network.

  • Dinardo painted this one in a leopard print design.

    Heather Lynn Photographie

    Dinardo painted this one in a leopard print design.

  • This mixer was commissioned by Trinchero Family Vineyards for the Sutter Home Winery Build a Better Burger show on the Food Network.

    Heather Lynn Photographie

    This mixer was commissioned by Trinchero Family Vineyards for the Sutter Home Winery Build a Better Burger show on the Food Network.

  • Snohomish artist Nicole Dinardo uses an airbrush gun to paint the rivets on a warbird-themed KitchenAid mixer.

    Snohomish artist Nicole Dinardo uses an airbrush gun to paint the rivets on a warbird-themed KitchenAid mixer.

What do hot rods and Kitchen Aid mixers have in common?
They both have curves.
And they both become a whole lot sexier wrapped in a beautiful paint job.
About two years ago, Nicole Dinardo of Snohomish discovered that she could combine an art form most often found on racy showmobiles with the world of cooking.
She began using her airbrush to paint original thematic scenes, landscapes and retro-looking pin-up girls on KitchenAid stand mixers.
By mixing these two worlds, the 30-year-old Dinardo created a thriving niche business.
Today, celebrities like Britney Spears and Katy Perry own Dinardo's highly stylized KitchenAid mixers. A famous chef prominently displays Dinardo's work in his personal kitchen.
But why spend between $350 and $1,400 for your KitchenAid mixer to be all artsy?
It's for the "pop" value.
"KitchenAid mixers -- everybody either owns one or wants one," Dinardo said. "It's the hot rod for your kitchen."
Dinardo has found that as people customize their kitchens they want to make personal statements in their choices of colors, textures and appliances.
To help achieve that personal statement for her clients, Dinardo creates one-of-a-kind airbrushed scenes on the mixers, either following the wishes of a client or ideas of her own.
Clients can order the KitchenAid mixers new through Dinardo's website or ship their mixers to her.
The end product is a paint job that compares to a quality finish on your car. If you could drive one of these KitchenAids down the highway, the paint would hold up to rock chips and still keep its shine, Dinardo said.
Dinardo is a driven perfectionist, sometimes taking up to 12 hours to prepare a mixer before the paint process begins.
"There's one thing in my personality that makes me think anything worth doing is worth overdoing," Dinardo said. "I won't send it out the door until I'm 100 percent satisfied."
Dinardo's masterful airbrush technique has made these mixers a medley of artwork and working appliance, and a must-have for celebrities.
Khloe Kardashian had Dinardo paint a 22-carate gold filigree on her mixer against a distressed coffee brown background.
Britney Spears' mixer has a floral flair.
Katy Perry's thing is pink so Dinardo did a pink-on-pink leopard print spiked with a vintage pin-up girl on the side.
Dinardo just finished a mixer for actress Tori Spelling, who loves yellow. Dinardo covered the appliance with canary yellow "cloverish" shapes and airbrushed capital "Ts" inside some of the clovers.
Hubert Keller, chef at Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco, loves his mixer so much that he wrote Dinardo a letter.
"He wrote to tell me that when he gives people a tour of his house, the mixer is the first thing on the tour," Dinardo said.
Dinardo just finished designing a mixer for chef and television personality Mario Batali, who had the artist incorporate the color orange with images of an Italian race car and the flag of Italy.
A lifetime of drawing and creating as an artist helps Dinardo in the creative process of designing a mixer, but it took a while for Dinardo herself to find this niche.
After an abusive marriage, Dinardo decided she needed to find a purpose in life.
In 2004, she called Mike Lavallee, owner of Killer Paint in Snohomish, a company known worldwide for its custom auto designs, and asked if she could be an apprentice. Lavallee, who also specializes in fine art, portraits, wildlife and murals, accepted Dinardo into the world of airbrush paint.
While raising two children -- a daughter who is now 8 and a son who is now 11 -- and commuting two hours to Killer Paint, Dinardo completed her training but got more than a skill.
Lavallee hired Dinardo to help manage the shop. Eventually, the two struck up a romance. That was seven years ago.
While Dinardo worked for Lavallee, her mother bought her a KitchenAid for her birthday, presenting it with the caveat that she'd have to get her airbrush out and paint it. Dinardo painted hers and then painted her mom's. Then she painted one for her friend. Then it became an obsession.
Dinardo thought, "Well I love this so much why not paint these mixers as a business?"
So Un-Amore was launched.
Along with designing Kitchen Aid mixers, Dinardo will also airbrush designs on skateboards and guitar cases. She also has her own line of aprons that she embroiders.
Dinardo is airbrushing like mad these days, trying to finish a rather massive order for the Academy Awards ceremony.
Dinardo is working on designing and painting 30 mixers, each one to become part of a "swag bag" for Hollywood stars and starlets who will stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hollywood during the Oscar celebration.
"The designs are really cool and elaborate and I'm going crazy with Oscar themes," Dinardo said. "They are going to be super glamorous with the guys' version having a more masculine approach, and completely over the top for the ladies."
Un Amore
On her website, Un-amore.com, artist Nicole Dinardo offers clients KitchenAid mixers that have a one-of-a-kind, custom, airbrushed design. She calls them "kitchen couture." Call her at 425-377-3080.



Story tags » PaintingArts (general)SnohomishEconomy, Business & FinanceHuman InterestLifestyle & Leisure

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