Automotive industry, Feature Story, Industry People

Bella Turrise spray painting vehicles

spray painting vehicles

She may only be 23, but Bella Turrise has accomplished a lot in pursuit of her passion for spray painting vehicles. It all started at an early age, but really struck another gear in high school.

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“I restored a car in high school as part of a HSE subject,” Bella said. “I brought a car in and did some work on it, and that got me interested.”
The car she worked on? Her granddad’s old 1984 Suzuki hatch.
“It couldn’t be driven, there were no electrics whatsoever, all it had was an 800cc engine,” Bella joked.

Like many, Bella went to university, but missed scratching her artistic itch. She enrolled with TAFE NSW’s Campbelltown campus, undertaking a four-year Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing Technology. “We’d be doing something different almost every lesson, we’d get a run-through and theory lesson before going to the workshop and putting it into practice,” Bella said.

Danish design derby

It was during her time at TAFE that Bella got the call-up to represent Australia as a Skillaroo in the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition in Denmark.
Visiting Denmark to represent her nation wasn’t exactly what Bella had envisioned when she went into TAFE, but she’ll take it. She placed sixth out of 15 spray painters from across the globe, finishing in the top 40 per cent in terms of marks.

In addition to her Scandinavian success, Bella was also awarded Apprentice of the Year Western Sydney during the NSW Regional Training Awards.
“I didn’t think it would happen, I was just doing my job like everyone else. I must’ve impressed a few people so that was pretty cool,” she said.
Her former teacher, Carl Tinsley, said Bella was a fitting role model during her studies in a complex field.

“It’s a very technology-heavy industry now,” he said.
“We have ultraviolet primers and use gas-fired infrared which can dry a car’s paint in under 10 minutes. “Also, modern cars are using advanced materials so it’s an exciting and high-tech industry to be in. “For example, modern cars have loads of sensors for safety and parking. There’s a lot of skill required to be able to paint over them without interfering with their operation.”

Onwards and skywards

Bella graduated mid-2022, and took her talents to AMA Group to work on trucks at Wales Trucks Repairs at Smithfield.
A bit of a change-up from painting cars, but a welcome one for Bella who said she enjoyed the bigger projects.

“I love the change, it’s just so different and exciting,” she said.
“We’re normally painting everyday with spray guns, normally we’re working with a lot more paint than we would in a car shop.
“I used to only mix up 50ml for some things with cars, but here I’ll never mix up anything less than 200ml.
“I like being able to set myself on a job and work on it for a while, so it’s good to be working on truck.”

The paint work for commercial trucks has Bella satisfied for now, but she certainly has big plans for the future. When she’s not on the floor at Smithfield, Bella said she loved doing her own custom jobs on vehicle parts. Whether it’s badass flames, or unique racing stripes, she loves expressing her creative flair in her free time. Bella said she hopes to do more custom work in the future, but that’s not all.

“I’ve always loved the custom side of things – the fancy paints, the fine lines and metallics,” she said.
“I’d love to get into working on custom designed motorbikes. But I also really want to go and paint some planes as well.
“I actually considered joining the Air Force when I first started. I wanted to play with the jets, I thought that would be pretty cool.
“If I had an opportunity to paint something that flies, I think that would be awesome.”

With plenty of success already, and massive ambitions for the future, it’s going to be hard to keep Bella on the ground.

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