Thunder Press Aug 09 : Page 102

ART IN IRON Low brow meets high art Chardonnay, cheese and choppers by “LoDown” Dan Parker SEBASTOPOL, CALIF., MAY 16—The basic premise behind the Art in Iron event held in this bastion of fine wine, haute cuisine and laid-back Northern California lifestyle was rather simple: let’s see if opposites attract. More importantly, let’s see if that juxtaposition of custom motorcycles and the realm of the fine arts can attract an audience and raise some money to support the sponsoring Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Linda Galletta, executive director for the SCA, told THUNDER PRESS that for the past 19 years the center has held “a standard Chardonnay and cheese fund-raising func- tion in May.” But, for the 20th gala this year, she said with a chuckle in her voice, “We decided to think outside the box.” Just how far outside the box came literally, Linda disclosed, as a “jaw-dropping” surprise to many members of the art center’s board of directors. Why not, the proposal went, invite some top Northern California custom motorcycle builders to show their work in the center’s art gallery in the same manner traditionally reserved for painters and other fine artists? Yes, they would still have a silent auction of local artists’work, a cash bar— replete with white wine and martinis—a tasteful musical combo, and some upscale grub. But center stage was to be reserved for custom motorcycles. to vineyards. There is some light industry here, but to say that wineries dot the region is an understatement. Poultry and dairy production still factor into the area’s economy and Sebastopol re - tains its small town charm and still hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival. Politically and culturally, the area is unapologetically left of center, having declared itself a “Nuclear Free Zone” and insisted that the police department, at least in one instance, purchase a hybrid vehicle. The potent mixture of the area’s kicked-back bucolic vibe together with its proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area has long made Sonoma County in general and Sebastopol in particular a desirable destination for writers, musicians, painters, potters, and those just seeking fertile ground for a counterculture lifestyle. Google Sebastopol and many famous names pop up, like Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Les Claypool of Primas, cartoonist Charles Shultz, and a long list of other actors, artists, and publicly-known personalities who at one time called Sebastopol home. The iron artists included Satya Kraus, Kirk Taylor, and Brian Shimke And, not coincidently, along with the usual supporters of the arts, the event would likely draw a whole new crowd: namely, bikers and motorcycle aficiona- dos. Not only was this idea a little outside the pre-existing box, it was hard to even see the old box from there. The discussion that ensued was, no doubt, spirited. But in the end the board became convinced—influenced, perhaps, by the prior success of bike- centric events like The Art of the Motorcycle at the Guggenheim Museum— that Art should meet Iron in Sonoma County. Galletta’s husband Steve Wheeler, himself an ardent Harley-Davidson rider and backyard bike builder, stepped up to ramrod the rounding up of the custom bike-making talent. He did not have to look very far. Harvest of chains Sebastopol is about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It sits on the western edge of Sonoma County and only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Historically an apple-growing region, in modern times it has become part of the California’s lauded wine-producing region, with many orchards giving way Don’tLet Them Keep You Out 102 nAugust 2009n The region around Sebastopol is criss- crossed with great two-lane back roads, and the postcard-like vistas make it a nat- ural draw for motorcyclists. Where there are bike riders, there are custom bike builders like Satya Kraus and his Kraus Motor Company, located just northwest in the tiny berg of Cazadero. Part of the tide of young Turk bike builders coming into their own, Kraus has been featured on television bike-build shows and has gained recognition for his work at important bike shows. (www.krausmotorco.com) Getting the wheel rolling for the Art in Iron show, Steve Wheeler called on Kraus who, in turn, contacted builder and friend Kirk Taylor, whose Custom Design Studios is just south in Novato. A custom bike and car painter and builder who’s been around since the late 1980s, Taylor’s work has won more awards than can be counted. His name is spoken in the same sentence as the top bike builders in the world. (www.customdesignstudios.com) Next to get on board was Brian Shimke, another young builder, whose TPJ Customs is located about an hour east in Lodi, California. His entry scored in the top 10 at the 2008 AMD show in South Dakota, shooting his name onto the bike builders A-list. (www.tpjcustoms.com) The Art in Iron field had 11 bikes in the gallery and nine more outside. It have a right to be there. Where is there you might ask? Church! Before you shut me down, give me a chance to explain. Much of called Christianity is far from what GOD intended. In one Scripture the religious leaders were called “white-washed sepulchres, dead men’s bones.” They were men that focused on what was on the outside and neglected the true content of a man. Things have changed much since Jesus’ time; many Christians still practice this. have a right to stand next to a suit-wearing, shoe-shined, Bible-toting Christian. GOD receives us with or without patches, with without suits. One of the greatest prophets of the Bible wore a camel hair coat and ate wild locusts and honey. He was a wild man and eligious leaders were afraid of him. Man’s institution of acceptance is not GOD’s design and I believe that those of us that under- hat need to stand and address the issues within the church that keep good people out. Don’t allow cowards who hide behind doc- keep you out of the kingdom. Many churches today would kick Christ out, because He would be too radical and non-conform- Conforming to religion is not a good thing! id not, nor will I, conform to what someone else says is right. If there is a GOD (and there is) He will direct and guide me. never have known that if I conformed or allowed the average Christian to keep me out because I did not fit in. the most part they still try. My church is labeled as a bunch of rebels. We are called “THAT CHURCH” and I love it! I ride my motorcycle to church as often as I can; get in the pulpit wearing jeans, boots, and flying my colors. My message is simple—you do not have to give up anything or try to ‘get right’ first—just keep coming and you will be amazed at what GOD does with you and your family. Religious leaders may not like what He is doing in your life, but they didn’t like the prophets or the Son of GOD either. Remember what they did to Him. Some Christians may not like us in their church, but they better get used to it because heaven is going to be full of what they call misfits and rejects. Interestingly enough much of the feedback I have received from these articles is from offended Christians. To them I say, “Back at you, get over it; it is time for you to change.” Don’t let them keep you out. Go to church! Change the face of it and fill it with real people. Ride in 10, 20, 30 strong, thundering in on a Sunday morning. Walk in, smile, and stand there knowing that you got a right to be there. See you on Sunday. GOD has always been, and still is, looking for wild men. Are you wild enough? EL SHADDAI MINISTRIES 565 E. Lewelling Blvd. San Lorenzo, CA 94580 Mailing address: 15934–311 Hesperian Blvd. PMB 311, San Lorenzo, CA 94580 510-481-5200 •www.el-shaddaiministries.com Pastor Mike Cambra 510-385-6176 See “Art in Iron,” page 121, column 1 was rounded out with bikes from Doran Benson, Xtreme Custom Iron in nearby Rohnert Park, Penngrove Motorcycle Company’s Dale Christianson, and master metric customizer Jim Guiffra of AFT Customs in Martel. Mouse roars Taylor, Kraus, and Shimke had often worked collaboratively and each has great respect for the others. Together the trio brought nine bikes to the SCA show; five from Taylor, three from Kraus and a single bike from Shimke. Of those nine, Kirk Taylor told THUNDER PRESS, he had painted eight. Each bike was dis- played in the well-lit SCA gallery in much the same way conventional sculpture would be. Steve Wheeler had built elevated platforms of vary- ing heights that put many of the bikes right up where attendees could take in every detail of the build.

Art In Iron

“LoDown” Dan Parker

Low brow meets high art<br /> <br /> Chardonnay, cheese and choppers<br /> <br /> SEBASTOPOL, CALIF., MAY 16—The basic premise behind the Art in Iron event held in this bastion of fine wine, haute cuisine and laid-back Northern California lifestyle was rather simple: let’s see if opposites attract. More importantly, let’s see if that juxtaposition of custom motorcycles and the realm of the fine arts can attract an audience and raise some money to support the sponsoring Sebastopol Center for the Arts. <br /> <br /> Linda Galletta, executive director for the SCA, told THUNDER PRESS that for the past 19 years the center has held “a standard Chardonnay and cheese fund-raising function in May.” But, for the 20th gala this year, she said with a chuckle in her voice, “We decided to think outside the box.” Just how far outside the box came literally, Linda disclosed, as a “jaw-dropping” surprise to many members of the art center’s board of directors. <br /> <br /> Why not, the proposal went, invite some top Northern California custom motorcycle builders to show their work in the center’s art gallery in the same manner traditionally reserved for painters and other fine artists? Yes, they would still have a silent auction of local artists’ work, a cash bar— replete with white wine and martinis—a tasteful musical combo, and some upscale grub. But center stage was to be reserved for custom motorcycles. <br /> <br /> And, not coincidently, along with the usual supporters of the arts, the event would likely draw a whole new crowd: namely, bikers and motorcycle aficionados. Not only was this idea a little outside the pre-existing box, it was hard to even see the old box from there. <br /> <br /> The discussion that ensued was, no doubt, spirited. But in the end the board became convinced—influenced, perhaps, by the prior success of bikecentric events like The Art of the Motorcycle at the Guggenheim Museum— that Art should meet Iron in Sonoma County. Galletta’s husband Steve Wheeler, himself an ardent Harley-Davidson rider and backyard bike builder, stepped up to ramrod the rounding up of the custom bike-making talent. He did not have to look very far. <br /> Harvest of chains <br /> <br /> Sebastopol is about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It sits on the western edge of Sonoma County and only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Historically an apple-growing region, in modern times it has become part of the California’s lauded wine-producing region, with many orchards giving way to vineyards. There is some light industry here, but to say that wineries dot the region is an understatement. <br /> <br /> Poultry and dairy production still factor into the area’s economy and Sebastopol re - tains its small town charm and still hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival. Politically and culturally, the area is unapologetically left of center, having declared itself a “Nuclear Free Zone” and insisted that the police department, at least in one instance, purchase a hybrid vehicle. <br /> <br /> The potent mixture of the area’s kicked-back bucolic vibe together with its proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area has long made Sonoma County in general and Sebastopol in particular a desirable destination for writers, musicians, painters, potters, and those just seeking fertile ground for a counterculture lifestyle. Google Sebastopol and many famous names pop up, like Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Les Claypool of Primas, cartoonist Charles Shultz, and a long list of other actors, artists, and publicly-known personalities who at one time called Sebastopol home. <br /> <br /> The region around Sebastopol is crisscrossed with great two-lane back roads, and the postcard-like vistas make it a natural draw for motorcyclists. Where there are bike riders, there are custom bike builders like Satya Kraus and his Kraus Motor Company, located just northwest in the tiny berg of Cazadero. Part of the tide of young Turk bike builders coming into their own, Kraus has been featured on television bike-build shows and has gained recognition for his work at important bike shows. (www.krausmotorco.com) <br /> Getting the wheel rolling for the Art in Iron show, Steve Wheeler called on Kraus who, in turn, contacted builder and friend Kirk Taylor, whose Custom Design Studios is just south in Novato. A custom bike and car painter and builder who’s been around since the late 1980s, Taylor’s work has won more awards than can be counted. His name is spoken in the same sentence as the top bike builders in the world. (www.customdesignstudios.com) <br /> <br /> Next to get on board was Brian Shimke, another young builder, whose TPJ Customs is located about an hour east in Lodi, California. His entry scored in the top 10 at the 2008 AMD show in South Dakota, shooting his name onto the bike builders A-list. (www.tpjcustoms.com) <br /> <br /> The Art in Iron field had 11 bikes in the gallery and nine more outside. It was rounded out with bikes from Doran Benson, Xtreme Custom Iron in nearby Rohnert Park, Penngrove Motorcycle Company’s Dale Christianson, and master metric customizer Jim Guiffra of AFT Customs in Martel. <br /> <br /> Mouse roars <br /> <br /> Taylor, Kraus, and Shimke had often worked collaboratively and each has great respect for the others. Together the trio brought nine bikes to the SCA show; five from Taylor, three from Kraus and a single bike from Shimke. Of those nine, Kirk Taylor told THUNDER PRESS, he had painted eight. Each bike was displayed in the well-lit SCA gallery in much the same way conventional sculpture would be. Steve Wheeler had built elevated platforms of varying heights that put many of the bikes right up where attendees could take in every detail of the build.<br /> <br /> Complementing the bike displays in a showing that could have stood on its own were original paintings and print work by the legendary Stanley Mouse. If that wasn’t enough, Mouse, who now lives in Sebastopol and is active at SCA, was on hand to sign his prints. With roots in the hot rod culture that emerged in the 1950s and ’60s, the so-called “low brow” Monster Art originated by Mouse produced many iconic images of that era. Later, his work with partner Alton Kelly designing album covers for Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, Lead Zeppelin and other rock stars of the psychedelic era garnered him a wider audience. Mouse’s internationally recognized skull-and-roses icon of the Dead was created during this period. <br /> <br /> Many Harley-Davidson riders will also recall the more than a dozen Love Ride posters Mouse Studios has created. His work has been shown at the Smithsonian and the New York Museum of Modern art. Today Stanley spends much of his creative time leading fine art painting classes at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. At Art in Iron, Mouse’s work fit like a Panhead engine in a straight-leg frame. (www.mousestudios.com) <br /> <br /> Canapé, anyone? <br /> <br /> But the Art in Iron event was more than just a static show. Many participants met at 10:00 in the morning at Michael’s Harley-Davidson in nearby Cotati to take a riding tour of much of western Sonoma County. The group that included Satya riding a bike he built on national television in 12 days, his dad Richard, and Bryan Schimke, made multiple stops at SCA supporters like the Korbel cellars. <br /> Dismounting at the art center in the early afternoon, participants (including lots of folks who didn’t do the ride) were treated to great food like the pulled pork sandwiches donated and served by Ken Silveira, the Harley-riding owner of the local Pacific Markets. Volunteers manned the door or circulated with platters of dainty goodies and small slices of gourmet pizza while the Rhythm Rangers cooed pop tunes. Later in the afternoon, to help raise support for the art center, there was an auction of items like ceramics, paintings, clothing, and even a four-hour, six-course meal to be served in a garden that had been featured in Sunset Magazine. <br /> <br /> When all was said and done, how did canapés mix with choppers, albeit choppers displayed art gallery style? The answer from nearly everyone involved was that it worked out very nicely, thank you (the range of attendees was apparent in their dress, which ranged from denim and leather to silk blouses and pressed chinos). <br /> <br /> Kirk Taylor said the gallery setting for the bike displays beat the pants off having a bike show “out on the hot asphalt in some parking lot” as often happens. He commented that the Art in Iron show demonstrated on a local level that custom bikes had “crossover appeal” and that the general public was “hungry for this type of event.” He said the show was a good example of the “think internationally but also work and show locally” philosophy he and other area builders—a kind of confederacy of NorCal builders and bike enthusiasts—have come to share. <br /> <br /> Linda Galletta told THUNDER PRESS that she had a great time, and it was one of the best events they’d ever had. She described the show as “a win/ win event, because we were able to raise money and we attracted a new audience.” She said the Sebasto - pol Center for the Arts had a wide array of programs and, although “showcasing bikes as a piece of art was a radical departure” for the center’s 20th anniversary, it was one that worked well indeed. <br /> <br /> “I really appreciated the support of Pacific Market,” she said, “Diane Albracht Catering, and Chantal Vogel and Steve Wheeler who were a twoperson dynamo and defacto committee, in addition to the wineries and businesses that made donations to help make this event happen.” (www.sebarts.org)

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