I am the wrong guy to review art shows. My own collection of oil paintings, sculpture and assemblages includes smoking monkeys, gay statuary and Chinese whiskey bottles. Not the kind of stuff men of discernment and taste hang on their walls. I went to the second annual "Thy Will Be Done" exhibition at Joe the Blacksmith's warehouse in Orange County, CA, to see what he and co-currator Tay Herrera could stir up from the men and women who make a living in the motorcycle scene.
The list of featured artists at this year's show included Paul Cox, Duane Ballard, Kirk Taylor, Hot Dog, Buckwild, Sara Ray, Ron Pouge, Latisha Wood and Kristina Pamias, plus metalwork and engraving from co-hosts Joe and Tay. Special guest Warren Heard worked live on his dark, energetic paintings while patrons mingled among the bikes and wall displays that filled Joe's visually entertaining workspace.
Sponsors of the event included Miller welding and Weatherby firearms, and these companies and several featured artists donated prizes for the raffle. A surly hot dog vendor and some groovy goulie rock gods at a practice studio down the street rounded out the day's entertainment.
The event's three-to-midnight schedule and 100-degree heatwave that enveloped SoCal the day before created discomfort for guests and participants, but those who hovered around the misting fan between peeks managed to enjoy the scene. If you're hosting an art gallery in a blacksmith's shop, consider doing so after sundown, and remember to serve free cold drinks.
Joe The Blacksmith came into chopper prominence as a winning contestant on Russell Mitchell's "Build or Bust" TV show. Joe, you may recall, was the dude who introduced Exile's founder to the faux patina treatments so popular in his field of ornamental ironwork. Two of Joe's personal bikes were on display at The Blacksmith Gallery, and both feature the handiwork Joe is famous for in OC art circles.
Tay Herrera's metal engraving was a little harder to spot, but some of his craftsmanship was on display on Jesse Martinez's Dog Town skateboard. Both trucks on the pro skater's stick featured filigree by the old-school artisan.
These stunning paintings were created by Sara Ray
Paul Cox is famous in chopper circles for his leatherwork and bike-building assistance at Indian Larry's shop. At "Thy Will Be Done" Paul's lesser known paintings were on display, and several of them were breathtaking. Despite the imposing number of rings Paul wears on at least seven fingers, everyone I spoke to was impressed by his work.
One of the most moving pieces on display was a pair of high-top sneakers on a heavy metal grate. I didn't speak directly to the artist about his muse, but I'm sure his visual allegory was intended to rebuff the unwashed masses clamoring for street cred in a fiery sea of posers and wannabes.
So raw and brazen was the aforementioned piece, I almost missed the black puppet head in the Sinners cap. Another brilliant commentary on the duality of individualsim and brotherhood in today's scene. Kudos to both artists for having the courage and creativity to speak from their hearts.
How do artists arrive at the random prices they ascribe to their work? Metalcrafter Ron Pouge created this stunning 5-foot-tall alien, and it's probably worth every dime on its 4,900-dollar price tag. But why $4,900? Why not five grand? Does five thousand dollars sound too dear to be practical? If you're trying to make a living in this game, I say roll the dice. Hang $5,000,000 on that son of a bitch and let the bidding war begin. You're in Orange County now, Ron—these people pay $18,500 for nose jobs
Warren Heard's Marilyn and RFK was among this painter's most striking work, several of which had second images on the back of the canvas. Two for the price of one. I know patrons of the arts don't shop for value, but a deal this sweet is hard to pass up
Joseph's baby momma never looked so hot
What the expanded steel grate behind this tank made difficult to see were all the flying vaginas, ejaculating penises and other mushroom-induced filigree on this ornate paint job. If only motorcycle painters in modern times were so inspired. Perhaps when the bull run on '70s paint peters out, peters and pussies will be the new pinstripes and metal flake among trendy chopperphiles