Tag Archives: artist


Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Salut à toi American rider,

Today is fun day!

Do you know the incredible British artist GRAYSON PERRY?

Grayson Perry (born 24 March 1960) is an English contemporary artist. He is known for his ceramic vases, tapestries and cross-dressing, as well as his observations of the contemporary arts scene, and for dissecting British “prejudices, fashions and foibles”. Perry’s vases have classical forms and are decorated in bright colors, depicting subjects at odds with their attractive appearance. There is a strong autobiographical element in his work, in which images of Perry as “Claire”, his female alter-ego, and “Alan Measles”, his childhood teddy bear, often appear.

He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2003 and in 2008 he was ranked number 32 in The Daily Telegraph’s list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture. He is known for his bizarre crossdressing as his alter ego ‘Claire’ and his even more bizarre, but highly acclaimed art!

I was lucky to catch Perry’s show and admire his amazing artwork some days ago in Paris, at the Hôtel de la Monnaie museum and I absolutely want to share it with you my friend.

As a ceramist Perry introduces regularly motorcycles in his artwork.

Not many people know about his kickass motorbike journey where he toured halfway across Europe on a pink madly decorated motorbike (a Knuckle) carrying his teddy bear and childhood hero, Alan Measles, in a glass shrine on the back. A glass shrine? Yes Perry had seen the popemobile and knew his teddy bear deserved nothing less than the pope … I really definitely like this crazy man!!

Perry, who has never owned a car, has had a lifelong love of motorcycles and is reportedly a daily user of his currently owned Harley and KTM.

“I’ve never owned a car. I love motorbikes. I’ve got a Harley, which is perfect for summer when you want to go slow, pose and enjoy the scenery, and a KTM, which is brilliant for getting from A to B fast when it’s wet and cold and you want to feel safe. In 1989 my wife Philippa bought me a set of motorbike leathers – the first thing I ever had made for me. I designed them to be like the Cerne Abbas giant . I used to wear them to art openings so I could go there on the bike but still feel dressed up…. Motorbikes aren’t manly. Look at mine. If a bloke has to prove his machismo with a motorbike, then he isn’t very macho.”

The bike named the ‘Kenilworth AM1’ is actually a custom built Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. The bike was sketched out by Perry, and built by ‘chopper shop’ Battistini’s UK  who, curiously, don’t claim credit for their work online, but do link to one of Perry’s later exhibits of the bike in  their blog . According to Perry the bike is a cross between the, “Mexican Day of the Dead meets Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
It is quite likely Perry got inspired by this pink motorbike trip – carrying a wooden tall-ship on the back – across Vietnam….

The ‘Kenilworth AM1’ is therefore Perry’s two-wheeled ‘popemobile’, a performance-art prop created to carry Alan Measles in grand comfort to Germany, in a glass-sided reliquary mounted prominently on the back of his custom Harley.  The custom Harley is built and painted up much like Perry’s trademark ‘drag’ outfits, using highly saturated colors and shapes reminiscent of ‘Outsider’ art.  The elongated pink-and-blue petrol tank is painted either side with ‘humility’ and ‘patience’, which Perry notes are the “opposite of rocker lifestyle texts.”

The pink bike’s inaugural voyage to Germany, aptly named  “Ten Days of Alan”, took them across Europe on a mission of reconciliation with their old enemies. And the eccentric Perry dressed for the occasion…

With a matched riding suit of bright yellow boots, an outrageous lavender Peter-Pan-collar jumpsuit, and spring-green helmet, Perry’s riding ensemble creates a motorcycling image which borrows nothing from anyone or anything…there’s simply nobody else on the road that would dare to even touch an outfit like that!  While custom shops, tattoo parlors, and clothing outlets are busy selling ‘individuality’, Perry has taken a brave and lonely path, to be an individual.

Motorcycles are frequently present in the Perry’s artwork.

This one is named Selfie with political causes.

And this second one Reclining Artist (yes, look attentively, there is a motorcycle in the back).

And you know what? It’s not over, Perry is really part of the motorcycle culture … He rocked up at the Davida Stand at Bike Shed Show 2017 to receive his special Davida Speedster V3 helmet. Called ‘The Flying Bogey Man’ the helmet design features a green-faced splat and white radial lines on a metal flake orange base . Designed by the artist and created by the Britain’s only helmet manufacturer, Davida UK Ltd, the design incorporates all the typical humor and  bright colors Grayson artwork is known for.

Grayson then spontaneously celebrated the occasion by creating a self-portrait of The Flying Bogey Man on the Davida stand wall.

Perry has finally always been close with the products of the MoCo. In October 2018, the British press published some amazing photos of Grayson / Claire with his / hers Harley Davidson … No comment, simply totally crazy!! On tweeter, Perry published a photo of this motorcycle with a comment :-“ I was always the uncool kid on his sister’s bike. Not that it affected me in later life.”

And it’s not over. Perry ordered to SHAWS SPEED & CUSTOM a special work on a 2007 Harley Davidson FXSTB Soft tail Night Train with a 1687cc twin cam engine and hand built exhaust system. The paintwork was applied line by line and took 150 hours at a cost of £8,500 to complete and was painted by Image Design Custom. This bike was the Shaws Speed & Custom’s 2018 AMD World Championships entry.

Named THE GOBSTOPPER, you can see all its specifications there: http://www.amdchampionship.com/bikes/2940-shaw-harley-davidson-gobstopper.html

So, you can love or hate the Grayson Perry’s artwork and way of motorcycling but at least you can’t stay indifferent. I’m so happy that it was given to me the opportunity to see for real this incredible Knuckle. Next time Perry has a show in your town do not hesitate, go to see it!!!

See ya soon on the road my American rider friend (who knows?).

Hervé, your French friend.

BIKER & PAINTER, a great French Artist

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo

Salut à toi American rider,

Today, let me introduce a good friend of mine, a great French artist, my bro’ Dom’, aka NOIR MAT!

In my mind, my other painter friend Davis UHL and NOIR MAT are currently the two best motorcycle painters.

Dom whose pseudonym is NOIR MAT (you could literally translate it by “Black Mat”) is an hyper realist , self – taught painter. Born in 1965, Noir Mat started drawing at a young age, incited by his father who was a painter

Yes, it is his father who taught him very young the way of drawing and painting.

It is the acquisition of a Harley Davidson in 1994 which made him associate his passion of the art with that of the Kustom Kulture and triggered his artistic revolution.

He went from “Kustom Kulture” to studying aerosol paint. He started to paint on all kinds of vehicles and car parts. He then evolved and returned to painting on a canvas. He combines the pictorial technique that his father taught him with what he learned during his studies of aerosol paint.

His works are painted with acrylic resin on canvas or wood , with a quality of completion and encreased attention to detail which ends up persuading the observer that he is an integral part of the work which it is admiring.

His style is hyper-realistic, and shows the extreme attention that Noir Mat pays to the details in his work. Some of his canvases require several weeks of work. His purpose is to immerse the observer in the piece. Even if his favorite subject is still the famous Harley Davidson, the artist has managed to be versitile and does animal and urban representation as well as pin-up portraits.

The Artist makes us understand that one foresees reality that the mystery of the reality ; his purpose being to sublimate this reality .

His works reflects his passion , in particular the American Culture , but also of other topics which are dear to him the time of a glance, discover the NOIR MAT’s realistic world: https://www.noirmatart.com/

Dom’ (I call him by his given name, it’s more natural for me) is a real nice man. A biker, a great artist and a gentleman. Talking with him, having a beer or a ride is always a great lifetime.

As my lovely wife knows that I am a fan of BLACK MATT, she surprised me four years ago by offering me a picture of my Streetglide, signed NOIR MAT, for my birthday. I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy. If one day you come to my office, you will see it proudly hanging over my desk.

NOIR MAT showed his artwork for the first time to the USA in 2015 for the Sturgis bike week. He wasn’t present himself this year (only a dozen of his paintings where shown by his agent at the HD dealership of Rapid City). I was lucky enough to be the first Frenchie to see his artwork exposed in the USA this year.

In 2016, Dom’ attended the Sturgis rally and was present on his booth at the Black Hills Harley Davidson dealership of Rapid City. He was so happy being there, meeting so many people and especially Willy G and his idol: David Uhl. I clearly claim to be the guy who introduced Dom’ to my friend David in 2013 (David and Dom’ met a second time during the Daytona bike week 2018).

Dom’ is really an eclectic painter. He’s able to produce artworks about animals which are absolutely amazing.

As artist and great fan of the American culture and the USA Dom’ dreams to diffuse his artwork among American fans of custom bike / car culture. So do not hesitate to order him the artwork of your lifetime! (you have to know that the price is very reasonable).

Next time you will come to my home, we’ll take our motorcycle and come to have a beer with Dom’ / NOIR MAT. Thus, you will discover the French heartland, only by tiny roads: from Paris to Saint-Etienne the city where Dom’ is being living with his girlfriend, it will take us about 10 hours …

Waitin’ for you.

See ya soon on the road, who knows?

Hervé your French friend.

David Uhl – Daytona 2015 Commemorative

We are thrilled to announce the worldwide release of Fine Artist David Uhl’s newest masterpiece, “Daytona Drags”, featuring the lovely Paige Wyatt.
Since 2005, David has offered a special piece for Daytona Bike Week each year.  You can view the entire collection here:
This piece demonstrates David’s mastery of “light and shadow” and firmly reinforces his commitment to take motorcycle art to the highest level of excellence.
“Daytona Drags”
2015 Daytona Commemorative
David Uhl

In David’s words, “This year’s piece is done in the spirit of expressive paint, accentuating the wind and movement.  Oil paint is the optimal medium for painting figures or motion because it allows you the capacity to alter edges and keeps figures from being stiff cardboard cut-outs.  It also provides depth and dimension unmatched with other media.”

Signed and numbered canvas prints are now available for purchase at special Rally pricing through the end of Bike Week (March 15th).  These Fine Art prints will come framed with a commemorative plaque and a Certificate of Authenticity.  David will also include shipping within the contiguous 48 United States for orders placed within that time frame.
** Image size appx 20″ x 26.5″, framed price $895

** Image size appx 30″ x 40″, framed price $2,250.  We are offering a special pre-rally price of $1,895 for orders placed prior to March 5th, when the gallery opens in Daytona.
As always, edition numbers will be assigned as orders are taken and matching numbers are available for those who are adding to their Daytona Series.
For our new collectors, these Daytona and Sturgis commemorative pieces are the perfect vehicle for getting into David’s work.  The smaller pieces would normally be $1,250 PLUS shipping.  And because of the immediate scarcity of these prints after the rally, they typically go up in value very quickly.
To reserve your Daytona piece this year, simply respond to this email or call me at 303-913-4840.
If you’re coming to Daytona, please stop in and say hello.  We’ll have the full gallery at Destination Daytona Harley-Davidson in Ormond Beach (right outside the front door) from March 5-15.
Greg Rhodes
National Sales Manager
Uhl Studios
15801 W. Colfax Avenue
Golden, CO 80401

Designs from the heart and soul of a rider

Paul Smith, Artist

Story and photos by Marilyn Stemp


approvedhelmetMost of us can recall the circumstance of our first motorcycle ride, but few of us have the ability to turn that memory into a provocative work of art. Meet Paul Smith, a man whose work you’ll recognize even if you don’t know his name. In fact, if you have a tattoo of the Eagle on the Bar & Shield, you may well be wearing his artwork on your body!

Take a trip with me (if you’ll excuse the expression,) to the 1970s. “Sex, drugs, and rock & roll” wasn’t just a groovy saying or a song title, it was a way of life, a pervasive counter culture mantra that dared participation by the younger generation and frightened the “establishment.” Harley-Davidson was owned by AMF then; it would be several more years before the eagle soared alone.

The eagle: that iconic emblem of singular American pride and freedom. Patriotic themes were sweeping the country then, as the 200th anniversary of its founding approached and pop artists turned to eclectic Americana imagery. Well before 1976, stars and stripes adorned Wyatt’s Captain America bike, Evel Knievel’s leathers, and Harley’s Number 1 racing logo alike. Harley-Davidson’s ads in the early ‘70s proclaimed the “Great American Freedom Machines.” All of these were appropriate themes for American bikers on their American motorcycles; they flew with the wind, like the eagle.

Paul Smith became a student of Industrial Design at Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art in 1959. Recently discharged from the Army, he was thinking of Milwaukee as a waypoint; he planned to attend the Chicago Art Institute on the G.I. Bill. But then: “I discovered the Layton School of Art and I thought, ‘This is it!’” he said. “I always loved illustration and design and I knew I could make a living at it, too.

That might seem like a bold pronouncement, especially from this slight, soft-spoken man with the easy smile. But those characteristics mask an ardent art spirit backed by quiet confidence and passion. In fact, there was never any doubt that Paul would pursue a life in the art world; it was a completely natural progression. “In kindergarten Sister Josephine asked the class what we wanted to be and I told her I was going to be an artist,” he said. “I thought everyone knew what they wanted to do. I later realized how lucky I am, to do what I love. Even if nobody paid me to do it, I’d still draw.”

IMG_4077By 1974 Paul was an established freelance illustrator and graphic designer known for riding around Milwaukee on a WLA that he’d rebuilt as a custom bobber. When he was asked by Willie G. (people called him Bill Davidson then) in H-D’s styling department to design decal graphics for their 1976 Liberty Edition models, particular motifs immediately took precedence. As a Harley rider himself, Paul’s thoughts turned to Americana, folk art, U.S. currency imagery, heraldic symbols and, eventually, the bar & shield. After all he had a bar & shield patch on his riding jacket and thought it was a striking symbol, though the company considered it “old” then. And, as the progression of his designs show, (as viewed at his gallery in Milwaukee this summer) he worked through a process typical of graphic artists who sketch, alter, move and re-work various pieces until a symmetry develops that ultimately feels correct. Remember, this was long before Adobe and Photoshop; the high tech tools of the graphic artist then were tissue overlays, Polaroid photography and original sketches!

The dominant concept that resulted from this alchemy of image and thought was an eagle on that “old” bar & shield. The industrial designer (and rider) in Paul allowed for the curves of the tank and fairing as he crafted the designs. As a result of this evolutionary process, “I designed a new bar & shield logo which soon became a graphic standard for the Motor Company,” said Paul. It simply made sense that such a well-known symbol should have definitive specs and proportions.

While these ideas were forming, Paul had borrowed a book about the history of Harley-Davidson from a friend. Reading the company’s story inspired him to start work on a new project, one that told the story of H-D’s founders. “They were the only American motorcycle company left and I thought that was significant,” he said. “They had a hell of a history.” The result was an impressive 4×6 foot oil painting that now hangs in the H-D Museum.


As it turned out, Paul’s designs went way further than their use on a specific model’s sheetmetal. But AMF was steering a shaky ship in the late ‘70s, and few people thought the company would survive to see the end of the decade. Paul takes the philosophical high road when it comes to ownership. “I made it for the riders,” he said.

Meeting the artist who created these legendary motorcycling graphics and listening as he traced the development of his concepts was intriguing. As Harley riders, these designs are part of our shared heritage and learning their history can only enhance our appreciation.

Paul has since retired from commercial work but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped drawing. “I’m the art director of my own projects—finally!” he said, and lately he’s been concentrating on fine art projects. IMG_4085“I’ve always loved doing abstract work and that’s my next thing: I call it Divine Collisions.”

That said, Paul claims he’s slowing down but some would dispute that, judging by the volume and variety of his creative output. Continuing the thread of that thought, he added with a grin, “As Dirty Harry said, ‘A man’s gotta know his limitations’… I think I’m starting to catch on.”


Paul Smith Studio



I met Paul at his gallery in Milwaukee during H-D’s 110th. His drawings and artwork surrounded us to tell a visual story of his work.
This is Grace, the woman who talked her boyfriend into giving Paul his first motorcycle ride. “I fell in love with her on the spot!”

chopper IMG_4097 IMG_4094 IMG_4087