The commemorative series started in 2003 with the Witness. A unique work created to commemorate the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee. It’s title reflects a man who has been privy to much of the Motor Company’s history as well as the party celebrating it.
For this piece of art, we tried a new approach for it’s release. Prints were offered at a lower price point than usual for the duration of the celebration only. Terminating the edition at the end of the event, ensures collectability, and protects the buyer’s investment. It’s subject also commemorates the specific event, and will never be reproduced again.
Fond of the simplicity and elegance of this idea, I decided to continue this type of program. The two events of choice were Daytona Bike Week and the Sturgis rally visited on a yearly basis.
For Daytona 2005 I created Censored 1933. An archival relic I unearthed with extreme delight. This gem was originally an outtake from an advertising photo shoot on the shores of Lake Michigan. The beauty of this photo was found in the candid demeanor of the models. Their unposed attitude made it unsuitable for advertising, yet perfect for my painting.
Daytona 2006 was met with Rumblefish. A familiar character dodging the local restrictions on the Halifax River.
Daytona 2007 brought “Buried Treasure”, a whimsical look at a Good Samaritan on the Florida beach in 1926.
In 2008, I introduced Babe, my portrayal of Babe Tancrede who won the Daytona 200 in 1940. These racers are the reason we all flock to Daytona each spring for Bike Week and I wanted to give them their due.
With Daytona Ink the following year, my lovely (and favorite!) model Elizabeth is shown in a famous setting in Daytona.
2010 brought Rebel Yell. I wanted to illustrate the spirit of the rally from the perspective of being young at heart and throwing caution to the wind. Back in the late 1040s, the average motorcycle enthusiast was a veteran returned from the war who was consistently drawn to the rallies for the flat out excitement and balls to the wall insanity of racing down a beach. Of course, everyone in the area would be affected by the sounds and energy, especially young boys screaming their own echoes of the climate of exhilaration.
With 2011 being an anniversary year for Daytona, I wanted to paint a subject that was very rally specific. Looking over the last six years of my Daytona Commemorative pieces, I realized that there was not a “Bike Week ” depiction in the whole group. So I thought it appropriate this year to create a work that represented a sight that would most certainly grab your attention while you were cruisin’ the streets.
For 2012, I remembered seeing a great black and white photo and saw that it was one of the more popular images on the Internet. I had been toying with the idea of turning it into a piece about early 1912-ish Daytona, and finally decided the idea had come to fruition. So I give you Above the Law, in tribute to those special girls who refuse to obey the rules.
Wing and a Prayer in 2013 offers my take on the amazing barnstormers who wowed the crowds on Florida’s beaches in the ’20’s. I viewed many great archival photos and was intrigued by these brave souls. The image features Dale Walksler (on the ladder) – a great friend of David Uhl and curator of The Wheels Through Time Museum.
2014 brought two Daytona commemorative pieces. Lucky Dog was composed from a photograph I secured the rights to from a German archive. Hence the 1922 European looking girls. I considered it quite a wonderful find, so I painted it in a fashion to respect the quality of its time period. I tried putting more modern model type of women in but it looked wrong. I also wanted to paint it in a vintage palette to keep its roots firmly in antiquity.
Spring Break was rendered in oil from a Michael Lichter photograph. My idea here was to make an inviting window into to Florida’s delightful native colors. I also intended to make its style as realistic as possible to match my other rendered piece “Autumn Knuckle”.
I expanded the concept to include those collectors who might not be able to attend one of the events. They can reserve their prints simply by responding to the announcement email we now send a few weeks prior to each event. Obviously, it makes sense to be on our email list! During Bike Week, you’ll typically find me and my work at Destination Daytona Harley-Davidson in Ormond Beach. The announcement email tells everyone where we’ll be each year.
Categories: motorcycle art, harley-davidson art, daytona bike week art