The commemorative series concept 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 its 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. Its 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 the 2005 Sturgis rally, I created “Stranger in Town”. An artistic representation of Deadwood’s Victorian history as the first iron horse buzzed through the streets. This spectacle obviously turned heads, including Seth Bullock, Deadwood’s first sheriff, seated in front of his fancy new hotel.
Sturgis 2006 inspired “A Fool’s Gold”. An artistic commentary on the history of the entire Black Hills region; a subject I have always wanted to symbolically investigate.
I decided to paint something rather current for the Sturgis rally in 2007: “Made in America”. I ran across this photo of Elizabeth perched on my Springer out at the Chip and thought it captured one of the highlights one may experience at the Sturgis Rally. Hard to make out but that is me in the mirror with the Sony digital.
2008 marked Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary. With “An August to Remember”, I wanted to portray both the Sturgis and Milwaukee celebrations that year. I decided to capture a character that would impart to the viewer the many, many miles, bugs, gallons, pieces, parts and time that has passed to get to the special place that was August 2008.
For Sturgis 2009, I created “Whiskey Business”, where due to circumstances beyond my control, I became the model. I figured that this character would need as much firepower as possible, so I included the Gatlin gun mounted on his bike as extra protection.
2010 marked the Sturgis Rally’s 70th anniversary. “70 and Counting” commemorates this, showing a woman rider near Devil’s Tower (approximately 70 miles from Sturgis). The local cowboy is more than happy to help her find her way!
“Sly Hill Showdown” was released at the 2011 rally and quickly grew to be a favorite of many. This depiction of a classic hot rod interacting with one of the largest growing segments of the riding community, women riders, is set under the Sturgis sign on Sly Hill.
For 2012, I decided to offer two separate Sturgis releases for the first time. I had been dying to paint my friend, Kevin Bean’re, in a special setting (“Ironhorse Heist”). After a photo shoot in Maggie Valley, NC at the Wheels Through Time museum, I put a few choices on FaceBook to see which one the masses preferred. This scenario was the winner.
“Horsepower” was a special project that portrayed my friend Laura Klock. Laura’s charity Helping with Horsepower provides a great service to at-risk children and I thought this beautiful setting would do her and the horses justice.
In David’s words, “After the insanity of the early summer of 2013 (creating two special 110th anniversary pieces for Harley-Davidson, traveling, etc), I forced myself to slow down for a moment when considering my Sturgis commemorative for 2013. “Once Upon a Time” is a very calming piece of art, one that reflects a slower pace and the simple beauty of the Black Hills countryside. This is a work that I must confess I NEEDED to do. Just to relax, take some time and enjoy the ART of painting.”
2014 brought “Bikini Bike Wash”, featuring Matt and Brittney Olsen.
For the 75th anniversary of Sturgis in 2015, I wanted to do two pieces representative of the rally and it’s history. “Free Spirit” features Betsy Huelskamp in a beautiful roadside setting with Bear Butte in the background. “Ascent” harkens back to the history of the Hill Climb in Sturgis.
In 2016, I painted “Badlands”, which has proven to be a favorite of many. I enjoyed painting the patina and all of the interesting shapes.
For 2017, I decided to do two pieces. “Black Hills Ballad” features my friend Pat Simmons of Doobie Brothers fame. Pat was kind enough to sign all of the prints in the edition.
“Fuel for the Soul” features Elizabeth. This piece checks off a lot of boxes, with the original paint truck, the gas pumps, the Pegasus sign and other visual delights.
My 2018 Sturgis contribution includes two pieces. “Ironhorse Escape” provides the closure to Bean’re’s Black Hills escapades. “No Smoking” provides a unique perspective at night.
For 2019, I shifted gears a bit. I wanted another piece without people in it and used Spearfish Canyon as my background.
For the 80th Anniversary, I offered three pieces – something for everyone! “Get Your Kicks” has double duty, serving as the first piece in my Route 66 Seres as well. “Is This Spot Taken” was based on a photo I took in Deadwood a couple of years ago. “Antiquities” is a favorite of Indian motorcycle lovers.
For the Sturgis and Daytona pieces, 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! Typically, we set up a gallery at the Gold Dust Casino in Deadwood. The announcement email tells everyone where we’ll be each year.
Categories: Sturgis art, motorcycle art, harley-davidson art, biker art
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