A motorcycle show featuring motorcycle builders, rare bike owners, painters, and photographers, honoring the industry and it's crafts by carefully curating it and presenting it to the interested masses. The show takes place in an industrial warehouse just blocks from Lake Erie, providing the perfect urban, gritty setting for this Great Lakes focused show. It is a free event. The Great Lakes region is filled with manufacturing, machine shops, and automotive industry. Despite the foul winter weather, or maybe because of it, gear head ingenuity abounds. Fuel Cleveland aims to drag seldom-seen rare motorcycles and top-quality custom choppers together, along with photography and paint work by some of the top artists in the motorcycle community, to be shown off to like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts. For more information check out the website and give us a follow on Instagram.
The night before Fuel Cleveland on July 28th come join us from 7pm till last call at Hoopples bar 1930 Columbus Rd. Cleveland, OH. Beautiful views of downtown Cleveland right by the Cuyahoga river, good people, and cheap drinks what more can you ask for.
After the Fuel Cleveland ends on July 29th, make sure to head on over to Goldhorn Brewery a block away from the venue. We will be joining our friends at Show Class Magazine to party out the rest of the evening. Goldhorn Brewery is located at 1361 E. 55th St. Cleveland, OH There are two parking lots along with ample motorcycle parking inside the brewery's garage doors. Good food, great beer, music, cee-lo games for prizes with Show Class Magazine and much much more.
Hoopples is on the corner of Columbus and Franklin.
Goldhorn Brewery Is on East 55th St. a block away from Fuel Cleveland.
What comes to mind when you think Buffalo, New York? Cold, tons of snow, small town, mediocre football, and probably a handful of other non exciting details. Buffalo is probably not even on most people's radar. For me that's the complete opposite, I see Buffalo as staple in the midwest custom culture scene. From extraordinary artists, to amazing hotrod builders, photographers and even a handful of brilliant bike builders, Buffalo is home to a ton of talented hardworking people. One of those talented people in particular that I have had the pleasure of getting to know more over the year's is Christian Newman. I first learned about Christian and his motorcycle building wizardry when putting together the first Fuel Cleveland. He was the very first bike entry in a contest we were throwing to fill the last spot of the show via social media. One look at the Turbo Shovel and it blew not only my mind but Tyler, and Jesse's too! It's said that a persons bike represents their character and I can tell you Christian's bikes do just that. He is probably one of the hardest working people I know and his visionary outlook on not only his design of bikes but life itself is extremely refreshing to see. When Christian told me his ideas of the Knucklehead as he was starting to build it, I immediately extended the invite for him to show it off at Fuel Cleveland. To see where the bike started and to where it is going, it is safe to say that this bike is going to be one for the ages. A bike that will be remembered by all and revolutionizing the game of building custom motorcycles. Christian has made the final 6 in this year's Show Class People's Champ contest with this insane build and I couldn't be more stoked for him! With countless hours that no human should ever spend on one motorcycle, I hope he doesn't just take home first place at the Show Class Party but at Born Free too! I had the chance to sit down with Christian the other day and ask him a handful of questions, and even I learned a few things I never knew about him, enjoy!
Christian's Turbo Shovel that was featured at the very first Fuel Cleveland.
Who or what got you in to motorcycles?
C: My dad bought me an RD100 when I was about 12 years old. It was a street bike but I rode it off road anyway. I remember laying on the floor of my bedroom looking through the Dennis Kirk catalogue and trying to find dirt tires that would fit it. My first street bike was also my dad's first street bike that we reclaimed at a garage sale for 10 dollars. He was the first owner, a CB550. After riding it in stock trim for a few years I began to mod it. That was my first motorcycle project.
Did you have an crazy stories when you first learned to ride, did you keep that bike for a long time or do you still have it? C: That CB550 that my father had purchased new in 1975. He sold it, then we came upon it at that garage sale. I jumped it and rode it home. No license no tags. It was the first time I ever rode on the street. I still have the bike and probably will never get rid of it.
Christian's CB550. Photo by: Kyle Cuviello
What's Buffalo's motorcycle Scene like?
C: While I've been into motorcycles for a lot of my life, I was pretty far removed from any "scene". In the past 4 or 5 years though the scene has been ramping up steadily. I know of a couple cool choppers floating around the city. A few years ago I didn't know of any.
What do you do in your spare time when it's not motorcycles? Not that you have much... C: There really isn't much time for anything else. The building process actually consumes more hours a week than my full time job. Spending time with my GF and her son is about all I have time for aside from bikes.
Christian's first bike a CB550. Photo by Kyle Cuviello
Who or what do you find inspiration from? C: I try to draw as little inspiration from the motorcycle scene as possible, which is pretty hard to do when you live and breathe it. I find myself looking at a lot of old industrial equipment, modern lighting fixtures, architecture, etc. I get a lot of pleasure in devising alternate methods of doing things that are already "established". Occasionally this comes at a sacrifice of a small degree of efficiency. I don't want function to follow form, but I do want them to work together.
What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to building and designing a bike? C: It depends what day you ask me. Sometimes it's just motivation to get out there and do it. It's such a massive time investment that when my friends are out having fun, I'm alone in a dark shop grinding (literally) away. Other days it's just working through a design block. Often, it's forcing myself to remake or redesign a part that I have spent lots of time on because it isn't exactly what I want.
Are there times you find yourself designing a part and they just don't work out the way you envisioned it or is always as flawless as it looks? C: I should have read all the questions before answering any of them. Yeah, that happens ALL the time. I scrap lots of stuff. I spent 2 weeks making some foot controls for my Shovelhead a few years ago before realizing that I didn't account for belt clearance and had to scrap everything. These days I will often make chicken-test parts to test function before making a part that has tons of polishing time in it. My process generally involves polishing before welding, so a fucked up weld will totally ruin a part that I have days of work into. Sosa Metalworks posted something recently about this and I completely understand his feeling.
B-side of Christian's Turbo Shovel.
What is your favorite piece or pieces you enjoy making or fabricating most? C: I like small jobs where I can have a finished part at the end of the day, whether it be a bracket or a bolt, or just any small component. These aren't my favorite pieces at the end of the build, but they are the easiest to get motivated to do. It's hard to say ok, today I am going to spend 10 hours sanding some parts" and 10 hours later you just have some parts that are maybe a little smoother but not necessarily ready to use and need a lot more work.
Where is one of the best places you have been to on one of your bikes? C: Riding west from Portland to the coast was really incredible. The road we were on was incredible (Alsea highway) and breaking through the trees to the ocean was just breathtaking. Actually just immediately stopped my bike, sat down in the dirt and stared west over the Pacific.
Photo by: Brandon Fischer
Have any crazy stories you can share from the road trip you took last year with Andrew Woz and Brandon Fischer? C: Man, Andy got clipped by a car and went down. Trashed his bike, but didn't hurt him too much. I still think about that every time I'm on the bike.
Changing Brandon's softail drive belt in a field in Sturgis with minimal tools. Primary parts all over a damn field.
Meeting @Bluetodd in a Fred Meyer parking lot was really awesome and changed the whole last leg of the trip for the better.
Always the go to guy when fixing stuff. Photo by: Brandon Fischer
Where is one place in this world you would like to see and haven't yet? C: Base jumping has taken me all over the world, but I've never been to south America. I think some day I would like to ride there. Another thing I've always wanted to do was ride along some of the routes that Sal took in On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It's my favorite book. Some day.
Christian base jumping... whoa!
Whoa man Base jumping thats crazy... what go you into base jumping? What is the experience like? C: Hmm. Well I went to an event called bridge day, saw base jump in real life, got inspired and spent the next year prepping to do it. Time does sort of slow down when you are jumping. It's really a pretty incredible experience but I think I miss the times not jumping more. Like the hikes and the lead up to the spots where you jump, building up the anticipation. And you're usually sharing that experience with someone. Often someone you don't know all that well but you develop a bond because you're about to do or just did do something that can kill you in a heartbeat, so I think about those times more than the actual jump. What got me out of base was my good friend Ian dying. I might do it again some day, but I can't build bikes at the level I am and do base too. Base requires a lot of currency, planning and training and I just can't do that right now. Can you tell us a little about this iconic Knucklehead you have been building for this year's People's Champ and will be bringing to Fuel Cleveland? C: I wouldn't call it iconic, but that's flattering. I've been thinking about doing the external drive and the open kicker for a pretty long time so I've been working through it in my head. It was nice to get it out of my head and onto paper and then subsequently into steel. Rene from Mercury Moto really pushed me into building the fork. The original plan was a telescopic fork. I've been learning so much as I've been building this. Gotten a lot better at polishing and welding, too. Stainless is pretty difficult to work with, but it sure makes machining aluminum seem like a breeze.
Christian has been building this 1940 Knucklehead for Show Class Magazine - People's Champ 5. Photo by: Jesse Ladowski
Photo by: Jesse Ladowski
Photo by: Jesse Ladowski
Just one example on how Christian see's things differently. Photo by: Jesse Ladowski
I know you are a vegan, what's your all time favorite dish that you would recommend everyone to try? C: Ethiopian food. Every time I suggest this to people they make some dumb joke about it, starving people or eating dirt. But Ethiopian food is unique, delicious and very flavorful.
What was 13 year old Christian like? What would you tell 13 year old Christian if you could go back in time and give yourself some words of wisdom? C: 13 year old Christian was focused on school and making things. I think around this time I had bolted two bicycles together to make a 4 wheel bike. I had built an elaborate tree house in my dad's backyard with many planks and bridges and floors. I modified a lawn tractor to be a wheelie machine. Made a giant wooden dinosaur that I could sit inside of and control the arms and head. I've always been a tinkerer and always will be. I wouldn't tell 13 year old Christian not to change a damn thing, actually.
Surfs up! Photo by: Kyle Cuviello
What kind of jams do you have blasting when you are working on a bike? C: I listen to the same shitty late 90's early 2000's hardcore I have been for the past 20 years. I like what I like, I guess.
If you were deserted on an island and you could have only one thing with you, what would it be? C: Probably a hatchet. Mostly because I really loved the book Hatchet as a kid and always wanted to try to live like that. Seems like a good time to try. In the book the main character is a young boy who gets stranded in the wilderness with nothing but a hatchet.
Are there any life mottos or codes you live by? C: Sounds clich, but just WORK HARD. Don't bother doing something if you're going to half ass it.
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank? C: BA Enterprise for helping me with the motor work. A.Titan machine shop for making me a few parts for my build here and there. Andy Zion for paint. Ginger McCabe for upholstery. Rene at Mercury moto for inspiration.
All my friends who have helped me out here and there.
Photo by: Jesse Ladowski
You can follow the madness / progress of Christian's build on Instagram at @ctnewman and make sure to check out the finished insanely beautiful Knucklehead at this year's Fuel Cleveland Show on July 29th. I'm sure you will see Christian rolling around on one of his other crazy bikes and at the show so be sure to say hi to him if you see him walking around!
While walking through the motorcycle section of the Piston Power Show two years ago, I stumbled upon this insane looking Sportster. My eyes were locked onto it from across the walk way and I couldn't stop myself from walking towards it if I tried. The front end was like nothing I had ever seen before and the stance was so low. Right beside it was another one with a similar style but an Ironhead. With all the normalcy that show gives, there where these two diamonds hiding in the rough. As I finally fought my eyes to look away, I saw Cole standing there by his table. I immediately walked over to shake his hand and tell him how amazing the bikes were and how much I enjoyed every detail. The dude couldn't of been any nicer, humble and very knowledgable, it was an instant bond made and I'm glad to call him a friend today. With so much talent and beautifully built machines it was a no brainer to ask Cole to bring one of his bikes to show at Fuel Cleveland on July 29th. I sat down the other day with Cole and asked him a handful of questions to try and get to know the man behind the brilliance even more, here is what came of it. Enjoy.
photo by: Michael Lichter
Tell us a little about yourself...
C: My name is Cole Rogers and I started my own shop called 138 Cycle Fabrication in 2007 after building bikes at home and working at other shops. In 2001, I started working full-time in motorcycle shops. Before that I was a tool maker, welder, general fabricator, and electronics tech. I took every art class in school and still dabble a little with painting and drawing. I skateboarded a lot as a kid and listened to the Punk that goes hand in hand with it.
What does the 138 stand for in 138 Cycle Fabrication?
C: It is a song called "We Are 138" by my favorite band, The Misfits. It's a song that can be interpreted many ways but it's basically about non-conformity.
What got you into motorcycles?
C: When I was a kid, we lived 2 houses in from a main road that was used by bikers to get to a place called Gilberts Party Barn. This was the mid 80's so the Harley craze had not taken off yet. I would hear the bikes coming and I would run to stand as close to road as I could to watch what seemed like thousands of bikes go by. I would always look for the choppers. For some reason, I thought they were the coolest things in the world. Fast forward to 16 years old. My older brother had a BSA. When it quit running he told me if I could fix it I could ride it. I rode my skateboard to the library to check out a service manual. I got it running and I was hooked.
What was your very first build? What was the experience like, and the challenges you faced? Anything you would do differently now that you know more on that first build?
C: I graduated from high school and one of the first things I did was start looking for a project. I bought a 1970 triumph engine, an old Columbus Customs Springer, and the front half of a frame from a guy named Limey R.I.P. Finding the rest of the parts was frustrating. That's when I realized to build the bike I wanted I was going to have to make some parts and learn to weld. I worked at a tool shop so I asked one of the welders to teach me how to weld. I was able to finish the bike and it was an amazing feeling to ride something I had built. I learned a lot from that first build. The most important thing I learned is RED LOCTITE! The only thing I would do differently on that first build knowing what I know now would be weld on the hardtail instead of bolting it on.
Photo by: Michael Lichter
What is your all time favorite build you have ever done?
C: My favorite build, is a bike I named "Salvador". It's a 1975 Sportster with the transmission cut off. I had seen it done before and had always wanted to do it my way. The ones I had seen always looked cool but they did not look right fitted to a big twin frame. This bike was for me so I could do anything I wanted with it. I had just sold my '58 XLH to a guy in Australia. It wasn't for sale but he threw out a number I could not turn down. This is the bike I will be bringing to the show.
Can you talk a little about your signature front end design and how that came about?
C: I'm not sure where the idea came from. Maybe old bicycles or other builders attempts at building something similar but I had a plan. I measured a ton of springers and stock front ends just to get some general dimensions. I drew up all of the drawings for every part and then took the design to my dad to look it over. My dad is literally a rocket scientist. He worked in solid rocket propulsion at Wright Patterson Air Force base for 32 years. He took a look at my design, made a few small changes and told me to get busy. I built the first one with low expectations but it turned out amazing. It rides like a new narrow glide. I call it the Bullet Girder but it is really a knee action front end. I got a patent on it in 2010 and it is the favorite of my customers.
What is your ultimate dream machine that you wish you could own one day or do you already own it?
C: I already have my dream car. I have a 1959 Corvette that my Grandfather bought new, then it was my Dad's and now it's mine. It has never been "restored". We only fix or replace things that wear out. My Dad says it runs and rides the same as it did when it was new. My dream motorcycle would be to build a bike with an Ariel square four engine.
Is there a certain style you look for when building or does it change build to build?
C: I don't try to fit into a certain style. I just build what I think looks cool. I guess I have my own style. A lot of my bikes have a similar look because I'm always trying to build what I think is perfect for each customer..
Who or what inspires you?
C: I think a lot of my inspiration comes from early race bikes. They were small and stripped down and there is just something about them that kind of calls to me. The craftsmanship of street rods inspires me to really focus on the fit and finish of my bikes. And of course old punk rock inspires me to just forge ahead. Fuck what's happened in the past. Let's live now.
What is the process like for you when building a bike? How long does it usually take?
C: My building process starts with the frame. I think about what I want the overall stance of the bike to be and then I set the jig up where I think it will best match the stance I want. After the frame is done I put the drive train in, the back wheel on and set the ride height. I really don't have a plan further than that. The bike then kind of builds itself after that. My builds usually take 3 to 4 months. What is one of the biggest highlights, awards or things you done in your career that you are proud of?
C: The biggest highlight of my career was winning the International Master Bike Builders Association national championship.
Are you a movie on the couch or going to the theater type guy?
C: I'm a movie on the couch guy unless it's a Syfy movie like Star Wars. I have to see those in the theater.
Name one band that is always on repeat in your garage.
C: The Misfits Any life mottos or words of wisdom that you live by?
C:You only live once. Live in the now! Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?
C: I would like to thank my wife. Without her I would be nothing. My daughter for being my BFF and my dad for always saying "just do it yourself".
Make sure to check out Cole's bike "Salvador" and his booth at Fuel Cleveland on July 29th and be prepared to be blown away by the craftsmanship of his work!
Roaming through the social media channels a little over a year ago, I randomly stumbled upon some beautiful art of a hotrod and an old truck racing down a dirt road. I immediately clicked on the profile of Anthony Hicks to check out more. As I dug deeper and deeper into his profile, I fell absolutely in love with getting lost within the images that were in front of my eyes. It felt almost as David Mann was resurrected and making new imagery again but with bolder and edgier beauty. With bitchin' choppers, amazing cars, naked babes, and beautiful sceneries all packed into intricately detailed pieces of work; it makes you wish you were right there in the moment. Anthony really knows how to put the soul of motorcycles, hot rods, and life into a canvas. When I asked Anthony to showcase some of his work at this year's Fuel Cleveland, he immediately got back to me with the most humble yes. Not only is the dude extremely talented but he's down to earth and real as they come... The other night I got a chance to ask Anthony a handful of questions and this is what came of it, enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself.
A: Shit... this is the part where I'm suppose to make myself sound fucking radder than I really am. Some would say I'm a artist, but I hate that fucking word (artist). That term use to mean something back in the day and now it just means your unemployed or something. But anyway, I have a love hate relationship with painting hot rods, motorcycles and naked chicks. Ever since I was a kid I've been fascinated by machines with wheels and I guess I never really out grew that state of mind. I build mainly traditional styled hot rods and customs and the occasional chopper in my spare time. But the main thing I do that people know is my paintings. I'm a country boy who lives out in the middle of no where with my fine as fuck wife, who's way outta my league, and my pit bull named Demon.
What was your favorite thing to do when you were a teenager?
A: Well my favorite thing to do when I was a teenager was ride my BMX bike and steal Deftones albums from the record stores. Everything else I'll plead the 5th on.
Who or what got you into painting?
A: I've always been into art but I didn't really get serious about it till I saw some of Tom Fritz paintings and David Mann paintings. Then shortly after that I saw Keith Weesners paintings and my fucking head about blew off my shoulders cause it was so cool. So I figured I could try and ride all these dudes coat tails and paint the things I love like cars and bikes like they did. But as years went past my shit started taking a life of its own because i stopped painting things I thought people would love and buy, and focused on painting the things I really loved and thought was cool with a fuck everyone else attitude. Then when I did that the shit blew up in my face cause more people ended up liking the raw raunchy paintings that I was into and not the safe match the couch shit I thought I should be painting.
When did you get hooked into the custom car and motorcycle scene?
A: Man I got hooked on custom cars and bikes the first time I saw Jesse James's 54 Chevy way back in the day as a kid! Then I saw his first motorcycle mania shows on discovery channel and was like "that mother fuckers speakin' my language with hot rods and bikes and strippers and shit"! Some guys my age will play that fucking cool card and give you some sexy answer and pretend Jesse James didn't fuck peoples world up but I'm a no body with nothing to gain, and no one to lie to, nor impress. And after that, I dove head first into the scene learning as much as I could from my grandpa and all the old timers that hung around his shop.
Do you stick to painting or are there other mediums of art that you dabble in?
A: Not really man, I kinda just stick to whats most comfortable that I know I can do pretty well which is painting. I cant sculpt bikes and cars and chicks getting banged all in one scene. And truth be told, If it ain't got tits or tires on it then I ain't interested in it.
Your stuff is so intricate and detailed, where do you find the patience and time to complete a piece, and how long does it usually take to complete a piece?
A: This is where the love hate relationship thing kicks in on these paintings...
So I've said many times to people that my favorite part of painting is starting the mother fucker and finishing the mother fucker, all that shit in between is an all out war. Where do I find the patience? I honestly don't know. I think it maybe the personal challenge of cramming in as much information as I can from my thought process and the thought of trying to one up other painters. I think the truth lies somewhere between those two things. It usually takes me about 3 months or so to complete a painting largely due to the fact I have to much shit going on at one time, like chopping tops on cars or pinstriping someones chopper tank or just feeling lazy and unmotivated to do anything creative. These paintings drain the shit out of me so sometimes I have to get my motivation back either through movies or looking at other art or when people say nice things about my shit. All of those are what keeps me coming back for more.
What are your favorite subjects to focus on?
A: I wish I had a sexy answer for this question to but I don't. I just like to paint old cars and old bikes with some cool dudes doing some cool shit. Then I like to sprinkle in some hot chicks doing nasty shit for flavor. Thats really the recipe. Nothing ground breaking and thought provoking... just the same shit the cave men painted on walls since the dawn of man but adding gasoline and tires to it.
But now that I think about it I really enjoy doing the landscapes behind the scenes. I guess there's something just calming about it to me.
Do you work of off pictures or things you see in your mind?
A: Yeah, I use a lot of reference material like most artist do. I don't know how to paint Panheads from the top of my head or remember exactly every line on a '32 for coupe or anything so I definitely have to use pictures and stuff for that. I can paint asses from my head though!
What other hobbies or things your are into that some people may not know about you?
A: As a kid I was really into flatland BMX. And I still love it today even though I don't hardly ride anymore. Other than that I think I'm a pretty easy read cause I flaunt everything I'm into on social media.
Who or what inspires you and your work?
A: Besides the artist I've mentioned before my friends really inspire me. I have a great group of dudes that are funny as hell and live life not giving a fuck.
If you could only have one motorcycle for the rest of your life what would it be?
A: I'm really into early board track racers so if I could have one bike it would be a 1915 Flying Merkel twin.
Is there a place in the world you have to see before you die?
A: There's tons of places I'd like to go and see but I don"t think I can narrow down a single place cause they all have there own pieces of coolness. But if I had to pic I would wanna go to Hawaii with my wife and tour that place for a few weeks.
What is your all time favorite artist?
Are you a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis kinda guy?
A: I've never been a video game guy. I can't sit still that long. I grew up in the country so I come from the bicycle, skateboard, and tree fort era.
Do you live by any codes or life mottos?
A: Yep. I always tell people that I live my life like a car crossing the finish line upside down, on fire, in reverse.
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?
A: Yeah, I'd like to give a shout out to my wife for having my back no matter if I'm wrong or not and all my friends and family for supporting everything I've done and always being my first customers to buy my shit. And thank you to all the people who have bought my prints and shirts over the years. Ya'll are the biggest reason I do this and continue to sit down in front of my paintings. Thank you!
Make sure to check out Anthony's work on display at this year's Fuel Cleveland on July 29th, and if you see him roaming around the show, be sure to say hi.
I find myself asking all time "who painted that?". Over the past 5 years I've seen countless bikes and a handful of cars that I never would have guessed were done by my friend Joe Koenigsmark but are. Not because it wasn't good or didn't have style, but because it just fit the bike and/or car so well, it looks as if the paint has always been there. Joe is pretty masterful when it comes to laying down some paint and I've never seen anything bad, not even a minor glitch from him, because he is so diligent and takes his time to make sure it is just right. Getting to know him over the years has been a real honor and when you hear his laugh from across the room the only thing you can do is smile knowing he's in the same place as you. Because he is like family to me and the Cleveland custom culture community, we have asked Joe to share his skills with everyone yet again for a 3rd time at this year's Fuel Cleveland on July 29th. This year most of the artists will be showing off their skills on one side of a Lowbrow Customs WX Split Tanks.
I asked Joe a handful of questions and this is what came of it, enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the custom painting gig.
J: I live in Lakewood, Ohio, my dad started a custom shop in 1957 also in Lakewood, Ohio. As a young kid I would always spend Saturdays hanging out at the shop. As soon as I graduated in '83 I started working for him. So my dad gets all the credit for getting me into custom body and paint, my style has always been clean, simple and timeless.
Who or what inspires you and your work?
J: My dad of course, was the biggest influence and inspiration to me. I've also always been inspired by Watson, Jeffries, Carter, Prey, Danny D, Harpoon Winfield, Richie Valles and old magazine's (I have my dad's collection from the 50s-60s-70s) and photos whether it be hot rods, customs, bikes and definitely low-riders to which I think are the best painters out there! Period!
What is the most challenging for you?
J: So when you have a certain style the challenge is to keep it fresh and not repeat the same thing just in a different color. And I guess when I'm in that mode and the fact that I do a ton of cars, some paint jobs can take longer than they should but I would rather have a customer mad cause it took to long then to give them a shitty job. I have to say I have the greatest customers and they understand and will get something cool in the end.
What is your favorite bike or car you have ever owned or still own?
J: I still have my favorite car now, it's a 1950 mercury that I've had since I was 14. It was stock and I completely customized it, why because I grew up with all those magazine's and being around my dad's custom shop. And about 10 years ago I picked up a 1960 Panhead, because I've always wanted one since I sat on my dad's buddy's chopper in the 70's. Some day I'll have the time to finish both!
Name some of your favorite places you have ever been, favorite show etc. And what's up with that Tiki man that goes around with you and shows up in your photos?
J: My love of custom cars and choppers has given me so many reasons to travel and hang with some great people, some of my favorite shows have been the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona California for cars, Born Free, the Brooklyn Invitational and Bonneville Speed Week. Still on my must go to place is Yokohama Moon Eyes show. Traveling to New York for the Invitational with my wife Margoe and buddy's Rob and Vance always gets a little out of control and illegal! Hahaha and yes my famous tiki man has been there with us, he has also made trips to Bonneville, California a bunch of times and 3 of the Hawaiian islands. He's taken on a life of his own, pictured in some amazing places and been signed by some great friends. He'll have a book and art gallery show some day.
What other hobbies or things are you into?
J: Along with my list of things I love, I collect a lot of shit, and it's more that I never got rid of anything growing up. All my band t-shirts, ticket stubs, posters also all my old skateboards one that is still my favorite to ride, yeah at 50 I still ride! Since 1975, Nothing like my friends but glad to be still pushing wood enjoying the freedom.
Waffles or pancakes?
J: Ahhh a real question... Always pancakes!
Any life motos or words you live by?
J: Be a good person, treat people how you would want to be treated.
Anyone you would like to thank?
J: I would like to thank all my patient customers trusting me to do what I do best, Tyler and Kyle my Lowbrow family, Jesse at The Gasbox, my close friends and most importantly my wife Margoe.
Be sure to say high to Joe roaming around this year's Fuel Cleveland show July 29th, 2017 and don't forget to stop by his tank to see what crazy amazing work he is showing off.
We strive to always keep Fuel Cleveland fresh, interesting, and entertaining each year. This being our 3rd year, we aimed big and snagged up a humongous warehouse on the East Side of downtown Cleveland, just off of East 55th St. The Ingenuity Festival has been celebrating artist culture in Northeast Ohio since 2009. After taking one look at their new building, and knowing about their passion for the arts, we knew right away that we had to make their new building the home for Fuel Cleveland 2017.
The atmosphere of the entire compound is really amazing. Just walking into the main space of the building you can feel the inspiration from so many different Cleveland artists that rent spaces there. There's spaces dedicated to metal work, fine arts, and they even have an entire wood shop collaborative space there. Cleveland Creative Collaborative is what they called the entire building and you could see why with how much it felt like a elaborate creative community. Walking further into the building we learned our friends at Skid Mark Garage had even set up their new shop in one of the spaces that this massive Ingenuity Fest building has to offer.
This year's show is completely FREE for everyone of all ages to attend. We wanted to give a huge thank you to our sponsors for making that possible for everyone. Thank you again Lincoln Electric, Old Bike Barn and Cheap Thrills Good Times for all of your help so far with this year's show. With out you guys none of this could even be possible!!
Here just a small sample of what this year's venue looks like.
We have decided to move Fuel Cleveland from May to the end of July. Saturday July 29th, 2017 is what we came up with and feel will work best for everyone! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details about the show in the coming months. Till then, cheers!
What do you specialize in or what is your favorite technique? Airbrush is my specialty. I find that coming up with new ways to use the airbrush is my technique. I have designed and painted a few cut outs of aluminum that I am excited about. When my schedule allows I will do more of those. You may have seen them in the Michael Lichter show in Sturgis, or the Dave Mann show in California.
When did art find you or did you find art? Graffiti. I saw it, I knew it was done with a can of spray paint, so the more intense work I saw, the more attracted to it I became. The more I wanted to break down the production, and create my own pieces on paper that I could figure out what to paint first, second, and so forth to get the best end result. I love the production of something, knowing why you are putting it there, and how much, and so on...painting with a purpose.
Who or what inspires you and your style? People, the owners of a machine or buyer of a piece of art inspire design. Motorcycles, themselves often tell you what they want on them if you pay attention. Tradition, depth, realism, motorcycle builders, tattoo artists.
Do you feel like you have found your style or are you still searching? I have not found it, but I am not searching either. I am constantly breaking down the production of many styles, and recreating them in different scales. I just donâ€™t see myself as an artist that has this one style that is what makes me unique. I think my style is diverseâ€¦it's more safe. I can do more if I am open to other peoples ideas. I have done lots of photo realistic paintings. Portraits, automobiles, naked ladies, pinups, memorials, I simply need to stay working, keep everything I put out in some form of high quality, and make a little money for my family.
What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to painting? I have too many ideas. I sometimes struggle to choose what is my favorite idea for the project.
Where did your love for motorcycles come from? College, sunday afternoon, going to some dragon boat races on the Mississippi with my gal. Couple showed up at her house on a rigid, cone shovel chopper with straight drag pipes. The bike, a timeless, classic chopper...I watched, listened, and witnessed a sense of freedom that I had never been so close to. I paid attention. I got mine now. I will have it forever, to share.
What was the first motorcycle you have ever owned?
What was special about it and/or not so special about it haha. It was a 1200 Sportster. It was owned by a factory sponsored motocross rider. The dealership is Metro Suzuki / Harley-Davidson. He never rode it. It was flawless. My brother and I talked him out of it. It lead me to my Panhead.
When did you start mixing art with motorcycles?
I rode to a big party on Memorial Day in Stone City, Iowa. The streets were lined with Harley's. The live music had me in good spirits, and I was lit. I decided to split the crowd. I wondered into the street and went from taking in the view of the mass number of motorcycles lining both sides of the street, to studying the details of the machines individually. The glaring reality of the fact that the few bikes that had any hand painted art on them was clearly a booze induced experiment. I wanted to try to put my artwork on bikes.
Whatâ€™s one of your all time favorite paint jobs you have ever done?
There are so many. But the most memorable was Miss Behavin' built by Billy Lane. This was about 2002. I just came off a 580 square foot mural I painted to commemorate the 100 anniversary of Harley-Davidson. I got paid, bought a trailer, put my '94 Nostalgia Special in it and drove through a blizzard to get to bike week in Daytona. No plans, no traveling partners, no time frame. One goal. Meet Billy Lane and thank him for putting some style into the motorcycle market again. This guy was no one hit wonder. He has the same illness I have. Lots of ideas. We met in an alley off Main Street. He had a 10 x10 booth set up with a handful of leaking shovels parked around it. The bikes were dripping with style. Every single one of them. I was so happy to see where the market was going next! Not stock. He had just received the Easyrider's Builder of the Year award when I met him. I knew it was only the beginning of what he could do. I complimented Billy on many of the hand made details in the builds, the addition of car parts used as decor and the choice of using shovel head power plants!!! All the crazy shit he was doing...I loved it all! He said, "you must be some sort of artist?" I said, "well, ya, I am an artist of sort." I gave him some shit about having a sticker of a pinup on the blue long bike. He said "what are you saying? Can you paint that on there?" I said, "sure I can." My first pinup was painted on Miss Behavin' for the first ever episode of Biker Build Off. I owe Billy for not only giving me an opportunity to paint a very well publicized motorcycle, but for introducing me to many talented people in this industry.
Where is one place you would like to ride to and havenâ€™t had the chance to yet?
The California coast. I have been to Born Free, but with 3 kids, my wife gets stuck at home so I fly in and fly out.
If you could only own one bike for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
My Heritage Softail Nostalgia Special. Because I overpaid for a used motorcycle that was made to replicate something of value. I will own that one forever to always remind me to be mindful of my goals, because I will achieve them.
Whoâ€™s one person you looked up to when you were a kid? Did you get to meet them or know them in any point of your life?
Evel Knievel and yes, I met him!
Is there any life mottos or codes you live by? People will see what you did. Not what you are going to do. Be humble and kind.
Are you a pizza delivery or make pizza at home kind of guy?
My wife, Michelle, and our kids make the best pizza at home.
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?
Family first, I come from a family of 8 kids, and my parents, brothers, and sisters help make me who I am. Thank you to my wife who is an amazing woman, with talents that far surpass anything I could ever do, so I have to work pretty hard to not look like a total loser. My 3 great kids, for hanging out at the shop. Also Jeff Cochran, Tim Anding, Paul Wideman, Billy Lane, Indian Larry, John Parham, Jeff Wright, Casey Fleming, Kevin Baas, Josh Rinas, Heather Slater, Tyler Chekal, and Fuel Cleveland! Also, all of my loyal customers, for believing in my work.
Where can people follow you and see more of your work?