Craftsmanship Stories | Kazumitsu Tamai Master Painter

Inside Mazda

May 30, 2016

The Finishing Touch: Brilliant Colours that Highlight the Beauty of Flowing Shape

With his spray gun in hand, Kazumitsu Tamai stands facing a beautifully finished model. His sharpened senses spot the subtlest of colour changes across a perfectly harmonized physical design. With highly efficient movements, he paints colour over colour until he achieves a perfectly uniform finish.
Craftsmanship Stories: Kazumitsu Tamai, Master Painter

With his spray gun in hand, Kazumitsu Tamai stands facing a beautifully finished model. His sharpened senses spot the subtlest of colour changes across a perfectly harmonized physical design. With highly efficient movements, he paints colour over colour until he achieves a perfectly uniform finish.

Tamai is another key member of the outstanding modelling team at Mazda design. And through his meticulously controlled hand movements he adds vibrant brilliance to the 3D hard models he works on.

Relying on Acute Senses for Ultimate Colour Control

Painting the hard model is literally the finishing touch in the process. Tamai is highly respected as a painting expert. “My job is mostly about painting colours approved by a colour designer with a spray gun, making sure that the paint fully reflects the development model’s image,” says Tamai. A paint’s finish and colours are affected by its properties and environmental conditions, but perhaps more surprisingly, it is also affected by the spray gun’s movements during application. To spray on colours exactly as intended, Tamai needs to rely on his acute senses gained from years of experience – a quality that can’t be described by numbers or even words.

“The job is a huge challenge, which is daunting, but it fascinates me. Repeating subtle adjustments and expressing colours through my own sensibilities, I find the whole process truly worthwhile.” Tamai says that being responsible for the painting phase of modelling makes him keenly aware that his hands directly influence manufacturing at Mazda.

The Secret to Perfect Car Painting

“The painted colour may look stunning, yet if that’s not the standard colour it means you failed to reproduce the design intent. The same goes for painting colours that only a certain person can produce. The ideal I pursue is to reproduce the approved colours regardless of conditions and shape.”“There are two steps to painting – paint adjustment and spray application. Colours are given to me, so selection and formulation of paint thinner and hardener is adjusted depending on the conditions, so that ideal colours get sprayed. Then I use a spray gun to control spraying.” Tamai says that the ability to consistently reproduce colours and shades are critical to a car’s paint job.

Mazda’s “Soul Red” Puts Paint Skills to the Test

“Soul Red” is Mazda’s iconic body colour, and it’s a tough job for those involved in paint. “A single colour is created by layering multiple colours. Each colour has to be correctly painted to achieve the colour you want.” Tamai continues, “Soul Red is a deep red colour. Reproduction requires spraying a larger amount of a particular colour. The number of sprays is probably unheard of in the auto industry. The finish depends on the quality of the spray application.”

Tamai demonstrates his almost magical expertise in instantaneously adjusting spray patterns by checking colour particles, how the colour sets, colour shades, depth and lustre. Soul Red’s distinct colour comes from his skills and techniques evolved over years of experience.

Mazda Design Creates New Products through the Harmony of Brilliant Technology and Ideas

The painting process involves a painter and a colour designer closely working together. Every paint sprayed by the painter is overseen by the colour designer to make sure that the colour is exactly as envisioned and intended in design. The pair works relentlessly to pursue ideal colour, stretching the possibility of the paint. And what starts as one person’s passion, becomes energy that fuels the team as a whole, creating beauty that captures people’s hearts.