Mid Island Collision - Lexxie Wota
Some people are just born to be painters. Lexxie Wota is currently her father’s journeyman apprentice at Mid Island Auto Collision in Nanaimo.
Lexxie has been painting full time for about a year now and it is something she wants to make a career of.
“My focus is on gaining experience and an education in refinishing, with the goal of gaining my Red Seal Certifica¬tion. I started working in the industry as soon as I finished high school and am looking forward to completing my stud¬ies at college.”
A shared passion for automobiles with her father was the catalyst, “what attracted me to the trade was my dad and of course a passion for automobiles. I love cars, I host annual car show, the Nanaimo show and shine.
I liked the idea of being able to paint my own car and got into the trade from there. I work on my own car and help work on my dad’s car too. I have a 96 Acura Integra, it start¬ed as a daily driver but quickly evolved into a show car.”
The Acura has a custom paint job and anything that could be painted from top to bottom has been. The engine bay is finished in a chameleon effect colour shifting paint, “there are so many colours on the car as there are so many colours I want to experiment with.”
Lexxie’s car just got back on the road after painting the undercarriage and with a new carbon fiber hood and wing.
Her father has an 83 Oldsmobile Cutlass that she will help repaint next year in a planned custom red colour with fade effects.
“At Mid Island we have two body technicians with my father and I as painters. Currently I am doing the prep on colli¬sion work, inners, and bumpers etc. Dad does the topcoat, though I have done completes on my own car and some others.”
“I must give him credit for purchasing our SATA spray guns, but I can attest to the ease of use and excellent results. My spray gun is the SATAjet X 5500 HVLP 1.4 “O” nozzle. My dad has the same.
I love the SATA equipment, I have used a gun from a compet¬ing manufacturer, left behind by a former painter, my SATA gun works so much better and sprays so smooth. From my own experience SATA is an excellent choice for a new paint¬er. Even as a relative beginner I haven’t had any runs or dry spots, well at least with the clear gun.”
The father daughter teams’ clear gun is the SATAjet X 5500 PHASER RP 1.2 “I” nozzle with a SATA adam 2. They also have a SATAminijet 4400 B RP 1.3 and a SATAjet 5000 B HVLP 1.4.
“We use SATA RPS of course, they compare so well to the competition, they are easier to store paint in as they don’t have bags. The SATA cup seals easily, and you can write in sharpie on the lid to label it correctly.
I have had a Girls Behind the Gun paint suit for year now and it has held up beautifully and is really comfortable.
We have a SATA vision 2000, when I start doing bigger jobs, I will be getting my own SATA air vision 5000.
As to being a woman in the industry; “In the shop I don’t have any problems, its more people my age, the guys in the car scene who might not take me seriously."
Long term, Lexxie wants to open her own shop, with a focus on custom work. "I love cool paint jobs and work with people to understand what they want."
"For those considering a career in the refinish industry, I would say, don’t be scared, visit their local shop, talk to them, ask for job openings, apprenticeships, experience is important.
The trade is a great work environment when you get in, don’t listen to the guys that say you can't do it, you can be as good as them and even better if you set your mind to it.”