by Dave Maresca
October saw more come to New York City than just the cold weather. After a successful showing in Santa Monica in February, Harley-Davidson brought its “Art of Rebellion” art show to the Big Apple at la.venue in Chelsea; featuring prominent rock-n-roll artists displaying their craft, talent, and rebellious nature with a portion of the proceeds going to support the CUE Art Foundation (http://www.cueartfoundation.org/). This was the second installment in what Harley-Davidson expects to be an ongoing series of shows aimed at both reaching out to a new generation of Harley riders as well as supporting artists and the art community at large.
Bringing together an array of talents, both emerging and legendary, the event dripped rock-n-roll. Complete with a live DJ, refreshments, and all the art and music anecdotes an MP3 memo recorder can handle, the event was truly remarkable, bridging the world of traditional art and the world of music. Your friends at NVMP were there to bring you the stone skinny.
In attendance were the likes of Brian Ewing, who’s work would be recognized most by any who attended Van’s Warped Tour within the last 5 years, (most notably the 15th Anniversary poster featuring his signature skulls), and living legends John Van Hamersveld (his “grinning Johnny” image worn on a t-shirt given to Mick Jagger evolved into the Rolling Stones “tongue logo” and also responsible for the Grateful Dead’s “skull tongue”graphic), and Frank Kozik (known throughout the art community for reviving the “lost” art of rock-n-roll concert posters). They were joined by 7 of their contemporaries to display the custom painted Harley Iron 833 fuel tanks they painted specifically for this event.
Each artist painted one Harley-Davidson Iron 883TM fuel tank, and displayed two of their signature posters for the show. The Iron 883 is part of the Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom family, which revives a vintage feel through a more minimalist design, harkening back to the days of World War II motorcycles and those that followed in the 50s and 60s. Arguably, this was the time when the American rebel was born, riding a motorcycle, rocking to Jimi Hendrix, and sticking it to the man simply by tearing up the open road. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate it.
NVMP had a chance to sit down with several of the artists at the event, who were cool enough to let the gloves come off and give us the real stories behind their work. We will be releasing portions of these interviews in an upcoming series of articles, each one highlighting a different artist and their stories of rock-n-roll legendre. So be on the lookout for these upcoming stories, photos, and more, and as always, keep it poser-free.
“We want to be free to ride our machines without being hassled by the man.” – Harpoon, quote from Heavenly Blues, The Wild Angels