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Kokomo man's art to be worn by Indy native Ed Carpenter during Month of May

Brad Plantenga has painted Ed's helmets for more than 20 years
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Posted at 10:24 PM, May 15, 2023

KOKOMO — Behind his Kokomo home, inside of a large garage, Brad Plantenga paints helmets for athletes and racecar drivers.

"People say what do you do? I paint helmets, for race car drivers. They go, oh, that's cool. What's your real job? Well, no that's my real job," Brad said.

It's been his real job now for almost 30 years.

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"Not many people know, I'm in here doing this around here," Brad said. "Everybody wants their helmet personalized and they gotta come from somewhere."

Brad considers himself a gear head. He's had a passion for racing since he was a child.

"My dad raced bicycles, motorcycles and all that stuff. So you'll see everybody in racing is kind of like that. It usually just gets in your blood and you're stuck. Can't get out," he said.

Brad started off painting signs and putting numbers and letters on race cars, but now, through his business Bullseye Visual, he focuses solely on helmets.

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"NASCAR, sprint car, and drag racing... I used to do Olympic helmets, ski racing helmets, X Games," Brad said.

He says the best part is when the helmets leave his garage and he sees them in action.

"By the time one is done, I'm just sick of looking at it. When I can see somebody wearing it, it's in a racecar, it's exciting," he said.

This weekend, Brad will see his work on display when Indy native Ed Carpenter looks to qualify for the 107th running of the Indy 500.

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"It is really cool to have the Hoosier connection," Brad said.

As he nears 30 years of painting helmets, he's starting to slow things down.

However, he admits there are a group of drivers, including Ed Carpenter, that will still get him out in the garage with a paintbrush.

"I'll keep doing them, as long as I'm able to," Brad said.