Dick Hirschberg

When I was about 10 years old, I used to hit the library's periodical rack so I could read the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine. Behind their main rack, they had a cupboard with all the back issues of each magazine stacked by year. I'd read the latest issue, then I'd grab 5 or 6 back issues to read. I was going thru the Feb. '60 issue, and Bob Greene had an article in it titled "No Two 'Wheels' Alike". I guess I should also add that Bob Greene was the first editor of Cycle magazine, and was also the first editor of Motorcyclist magazine. Bob also handled the motorcycle content for Hot Rod magazine in his column "Up On Two Wheels". Yeah, Bob knew his stuff.

In the above mentioned article, the lead-off picture was of this big bald-headed guy, rockin' Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, jeans, engineer boots, sleeves cut off his grubby sweatshirt at the armpits, standing behind the baddest 'sickle I'd ever seen. If you'd like to see that shot, I used it in my article in Greasy Kulture #8. The more I stared at the picture, the more I wanted a bike just like that, and I wanted that magazine. So, I took the magazine, slipped it in my shirt, and I stole it from the library. I guess that was my first "outlaw" act. I still have that magazine, by the way.

Over the years, every time Dick, or "Hirsch" as Bob Greene called him, would decide to build a new bike, Bob would feature it in his column. I really didn't know much about Hirsch, but I knew he could put together "diamonds out of coal" Harleys. It wasn't until much later that I found out who Dick was, and what part he played in both the bike and M/C club history of SoCal.

The bike that's pictured in the above photo was built by Dick sometime in '69, out of a BRAND NEW ElectraGlide. Dick was 46 at the time, and it was his first "electric foot" bike. He, along with help from L.A. H-D, produced one of the slickest bobbed Estart FLH's ever, pruned down to 525 pounds. Now, mind you, this bike was done almost 2 years before the first Super Glide hit the streets. If somebody in Milwaukee wasn't looking at the March '70 issue of Hot Rod back then, I'll eat my leather stroker hat!

Even today, Hirsch's ElectraGlide would be "right there". The styling is timeless. Also pitching in on this was Dick's longtime friend and drinking buddy Von Dutch, who did the engine turning, lettering, striping, and engraving on it. Dutch's touch graced every bike that Hirschberg built

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Jason Mattox "Timebomb Kustoms"

Brilliant colors and beautiful composed layouts are just part of Jason Mattox's overall style. From flaked out masterpieces to intricate pinstriping, he seems to do it all so masterfully. Hailing from "the Crossroads of America" aka Indiana,  Jason has been making bikes, cars and helmets shine close to ten years now. A ticking time bomb is a scary thing to imagine, but if it exploded with paint splatter in amazing glitter flaked colors like what Jason brings to life in everything he paints, I'd be ok with that. I am extremely excited Jason has taken a little time out of his ever-growing schedule to paint a Biltwell Gringo for Fuel Cleveland, that will be showcased on May 9th. Here is a little one on one we had the other day, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

Jason Mattox, where do you call home?

J: Bloomington, Indiana.

What are some of the most challenging things for you as a painter?

J: The most challenging things are doing the prep work and coming up with new ideas, so that way things don’t always look the same.

Where do your ideas originate from, is it a simple line and it goes from there or a complex sketch to reality. Any computer planning? 

J: When it comes to pinstriping, I make a center line and the design flows with whatever I am painting. Helmet and tank designs happen with tape. I start with a basic idea of where I want panels and what I want in them. I discuss elements (bubbles, lace, fish scales) and possible colors with clients, but I never sketch things out. 
Your pin striping is pretty insane, did you apprentice with anyone or learn on your own?

J: I apprenticed under Doug Dorr from California. We communicated mostly over the internet, but I was able to fly out to him twice to work with him one-on-one.

Other than motorcycles and helmets are there any other things you like to paint or  are possibly well known for?

J: I have had many opportunities to work with many different canvases. I have pinstriped cars, motorcycles, and helmets. In the last year I have worked a lot with Kandies. I do art panels with Kandies and pinstriping, as well as cutouts and shift knobs. I also stripe handbags, purses, bowling pins, Christmas ornaments, and more. 

Who is your biggest inspiration and/or motivator?

J: My beautiful girlfriend. She is my biggest supporter and always pushes me to do my best. Even when I feel like giving up, she is there for me. We are a team.

If you could jump on a bike right now and just go, where would you go and why?

J: To Texas, because it is so cold here. We are expecting snow. Again. This is ridiculous.

What is the coolest project or all time favorite piece you have ever painted?

J: Really, right now is the coolest time of my painting career. I don’t have a favorite project or piece I am working on right now. The projects I am working on currently are for amazing clients who are super supportive and willing to give me my creative license. I have been doing a lot of work recently for repeat clients. I do have to say, however, that doing those welding helmets recently were an interesting challenge, for an awesome client. 

When did motorcycles come into your life? Did you find them or did they find you?

J: About four years ago I sold my ’53 Chevy and got a basketcase of a bike that never made it to one piece. Circumstances, life, whatever happened, it wasn’t the right bike for me. It didn’t fit. About two years ago I got a project bike and have really been able to put the time, money, and work into it. It runs, mostly, and I just finished flaking the tank that’ll sit on it soon. Bikes kind of found me, but I finally found the right bike. 

What's your all time favorite bike and would you sell everything to have it?

Pretty much anything that Max from 4Q builds. I just really like his bikes. They are designed well. The fact that he builds them and paints them means a lot to me.
I don’t know that I would sell EVERYTHING to have one. But pretty close.

Where did the name Timebomb Kustoms originate?

J: I was a really angry person for a long time, like I was a ticking time bomb ready to explode at anytime. It’s who I was. Now, I don’t know. Sometimes at night I’ll come home after working in the studio all day and go right back out to tape out a helmet, or work through a color scheme, or else I feel like my head will explode. I’ve grown a lot as a person and an artist, but I still feel like I’m a time bomb. For better, not for the worst. 

Any place of serenity for you, while you’re painting, riding, or something completely different?

J: I really like going to the races. We live close to Bloomington Speedway. I raced a bit when I was younger and it gives me a lot of peace. 

Are there any other types of art medium you have dabbled in or mastered?

J: Not really. I don’t feel like I’ve mastered anything that I do. I still watch tutorials, talk to other painters, and am constantly looking for new challenges.

Favorite cartoon as a kid and do you still watch it today?

J: GI Joe was my favorite. I tried to rewatch it on Netflix, but it wasn’t the same. I love Venture Brothers and Mike Tyson Mysteries a lot. 

Anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?

First and foremost, my mentor, Doug Dorr, who took the time out to show me how to pinstripe. Without him I wouldn’t be here. All the talented painters who have taken time out of their lives to answer my questions, like Flying Weasel, Tuki, JP Rodman, and Relic. Also, all my awesome clients. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person, or artist, that I am today. 

Make sure to check out Jason's custom painted Biltwell helmet at Fuel Cleveland on May 9th. Also, be sure to check out to see all of Jason's work and maybe hit him up to get something of your own custom painted!
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