RimoZart in his SoCal shop

The man known as Rimo is a virtuoso painter, and his artistry has been making waves in the custom and lowrider worlds. We caught up with him at his California shop to get insight into his craft before he relocated to Texas. 

Related Story: Custom Paint 101

Rimozart, body part painter, Low Rider enthusiast
RimoZart, body part painter, Low Rider enthusiast

Karim (who prefers not to divulge his surname) is a colorful 30-year-old of Moroccan origins who was born in France and goes by his nickname Rimo. Passionate about American lowriders, he first arrived on our continent via Quebec, where he dabbled in Americana by purchasing a 1940s Chevy and working in a specialized automotive garage. 

RimoZart Iwata paint gun
The French artist uses Iwata paint guns, which he considers the best on the market.
Rimo works on the frame, gas tank, and fenders of the chopper that Jonny Suarez was building for the Valadez family as a tribute to Gypsy Rose.
RimoZart working on the rear fender of a chopper he’ll paint for Jesse Valadez’s family with the same pattern and colors than the famous Gypsy Rose car.

Exceptionally gifted, Rimo displayed a mastery of manipulating sheet metal. After honing his craft on various cars and motorcycles and creating custom parts, he decided to strike out on his own.

RimoZart working on the frame and fenders of the copper Johnny Suarez was building for the Valadez family
Rimo works on the frame, gas tank, and fenders of the chopper that Jonny Suarez was building for the Valadez family as a tribute to Gypsy Rose.

His business name, RimoZart, was suggested by a friend. Since Rimo likes classical music, especially Mozart, and he practices ze art, as the French might say, the name RimoZart was created.

RimoZart SoCal shop
Rimo surveys his handiwork in his former SoCal shop. He recently relocated to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.

Around that time in Montreal, Rimo was presented with a formidable challenge. A Californian painter in charge of finalizing the graphics on the car of the Luxurious Club president was unable to return to Canada to finish the job, so Rimo took on the task and painted the car himself, receiving high praise for his work.

RimoZart Preparing Components Before Painting
Each component must be meticulously prepared before any paint is applied.

Since this big breakthrough, nothing could stop Rimo. It seemed that very few people in 2010 were practicing lowrider design styles and techniques, creating an opening for Rimo to find his niche. He eventually set up shop in Las Vegas, followed later by working out of a facility in Southern California where he supplemented his bike projects with orders for custom-painted skateboards.

RimoZart Cleaning Part for Painting
Rimo only starts to apply paint once the part is pristine.

“With customs,” he explained, standing in his California shop with his Iwata paint gun in hand, “you paint the color – say purple – directly. The lowrider technique is a process that works in stages: You start with blue, then you add the red, which gives a greater depth to the colors and a more subtle rendering.”

RimoZart inspecting the first layer of paint
The inspection of the first layer takes a long time. If anything doesn’t match his quality expectations, Rimo starts over. He wants nothing but perfection.

For traditional custom designs – such as curves, pinstripes, and overlaps – Rimo adds flame effects (which he creates with a torch), gold or silver leaf plating, and bright and flashy candy colors.

RimoZart Painting Different Effects
Rimo’s years of experience pay off when painting and creating different effects.
RimoZart Gold Detail
Lovely gold detail applied with a tiny brush.
RimoZart Preparing Paint
Precision is required when painting to prevent contamination by the chemical components of his mix.

“But for the lowrider painting,” he said, “I work in successive layers.”

Rimo uses the common technique of adding metal pigments to his paint – otherwise known as metalflake. But he said his secret is to add a few drops of a paste containing mother of pearl from Murano, Italy, which he says provides an incomparable flop effect. 

RimoZart mixing his paints to achieve a precise hue
Rimo mixes colors and various components to achieve the precise hue and finish for his work.

Rimo bought – at a high price – the few pots of Murano pearl that were still available in America with the original recipe from the 1960s, giving him a precious supply to dip into when required. Today, the heavy presence of lead in Murano pearl’s composition prohibits its sale. Paint manufacturers have tried to reproduce the formula with ceramic beads and other components. 

“But they have not achieved the magical effect produced by Murano pearl,” laments the professor of painting. 

RimoZart uses tape to lay out graphic designs for his projects
The meticulous designer uses different tape sizes to lay out graphic designs for his projects. It is a painstaking process that transposes the dramatic lines and curves he imagines in his creative mind.

His latest challenge was to paint a chopper for the family of the late Jesse Valadez Jr., son of the founder of the famous Imperials Car Club in the 1970s. Valadez Sr. was the godfather of lowriding and designer of the illustrious Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevy Impala that’s perhaps the world’s most famous lowrider car and the first to be inducted into the Historic Vehicle Association. 

Rimo reproduced the colors and style of Gypsy Rose on the chopper built by Jonny Juarez that was on display at last June’s Born Free Motorcycle Show in Southern California.

Gypsy Rose 1964 Chevy Impala owned by Jesse Valadez
The famous Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevy Impala that is an icon of the lowrider scene, owned by Jesse Valadez Sr.
RimoZart's paint on the Gypsy Rose tribute Sportster
Rimo’s paint gleams in the SoCal sun at the 2022 Born Free motorcycle show. The custom Sportster was built by Jonny Suarez to pay tribute to the iconic Gypsy Rose lowrider car.

Rimo also recently painted a Sportster peanut tank for Roland Sands, the famous builder and entrepreneur from Long Beach. It was a project born after their enthusiastic meeting at the Moto Beach Classic in October 2021. The result is stunning and showcases Rimo’s mastery with paint. 

RimoZart ensures his tins are clean of any trace of dust
Rimo ensures his tins are clean of any trace of dust.

“Plunged into the dark, you see fluorescent fingerprints appear,” Rimo explained when he delivered the tank at Roland Sands Design’s headquarters. Rimo also created a remote-controlled, rotating display stand for the tank.

RimoZart presents his work to Roland Sands
Rimo presents his work to Roland Sands, explaining the different techniques he used to obtain the colors and effects.
RimoZart's work on Roland Sands' gas tank
Rimo’s work on Sands’ peanut tank is top-level stuff

It’s no surprise that Rimo admires beautiful motorcycles on display, but he also loves riding, although his experiences on a bike have been limited thus far. While living in Europe, he owned a customized bobber based on the bones of a Yamaha XS650. Now Rimo has a new ambition for his collection. 

Roland Sands asks RimoZart for advice
Roland Sands asks Rimo for recommendations on how best to refresh the look of a Sportster he owns.

After receiving his American motorcycle endorsement earlier this year, he dreams of buying a Harley-Davidson Softail Springer and customizing it to his taste. We expect to see it rolling down the roads of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, where Rimo has recently relocated. We’re excited to hear RimoZart’s new symphony in V (-Twin) major.

RimoZart 2021 Moto Beach Classic in Bolsa Chica
Rimo at the 2021 Moto Beach Classic in Bolsa Chica, California. He always checks out what his fellow painters are doing, nourishing his inspiration and creativity.


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