Friday, December 25, 2009

Hoping for Merry Christmas For All!

Its a cold rainy Christmas morning here in the Carolinas. If it were a bit colder, there'd be a foot of snow out there. But instead the wind chimes are singing as wind and rain pelts The Chopper Compound. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. And hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The sun threatened to come out for a little while this morning. But no, the clouds are taking over once again. And it is colder than yesterday. I really shouldn't complain as I talked to my buddy Tony with SATA Spray Equipment up in Minnisota and it was 23 below zero there.
Today I'll be finishing up the paint sample for Tony Schumacher's bike and airbrushing real fire. The other half of the shop will be finishing up the prep work for the Constitution bike. That bike is going to be so cool. I like doing projects that make people think about things. I'll be posting updates about that project here as it gets worked on. Some very classic and timely words will be airbrushed on that bike.
So for now, I'll share a few cool pictures I've collected.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

and here in the rain forest

The weather dude said the Carolinas have gotten more rain in Dec so far than in all of Oct and Nov. After living here for over 14 years, I can say, I have never seen this many cloudy mucky days. Normally we have more sunshine than clouds.

This is worse than Seattle.

But we all keep working.

I still have a bunch of holiday shopping to do. I did make a cool decoration. All you a wine bottle, emptied and dry. A shirt strand of miniature lights, and some glittery garland. Stick the garland and lights in the bottle and plug in the lights. It looks so cool.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meanwhile in the woods............

It was a very nice day here at the Compound. I started the smoker up first thing this morning. I got this Brinkman Smoker about 12 years ago and never used it. Today is the second time it has been used. Living in the Carolinas, there's no getting away from BBQ. They have these very intense BBQ competitions and these guys are very serious about it. They'll start the night before and cook all night.
Well 14 years of Carolina living has inspired me to try my hand at smoking BBQ. I had a Boston Butt soaking overnight in a tasty brine of water, white wine, soy sauce, Kosher salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Got the smoker going good, added water soaked wood chips to the coals, slapped that roast on there and let it go all day. I had a mixture of water, white wine, marinade and more fresh thyme in the smoker's water pan.
It was a perfect day for cooking outside. Sunshine streaming through the woods, a light breeze to take the smoke away.
And there was more smoke in the studio as I airbrushed real fire flames. I'm using Artool's True Fire2 Shield's from Mike Lavalle and they totally rock. I loved his first set of True Fire Shields, and combine those with the newer ones...I'm getting great results. Pictures to be posted soon.
Off topic, there is a lost golden retriever dog in our neighborhood. Roxie was on vacation with her family in a park just down the street and got lost. Its created quite the search and we've even been looking. People all around the country are following this search online. Local folks have been checking the shelters, everyone is pitching in and there's been Roxie sightings. But so far no one can catch her. Now National Geographic is filming a documentary on the search for Roxie. They might be stopping in here Saturday to talk to us.
And Saturday is also the big holiday sale at a local Potter, Marshall Art. And I am taking Saturday afternoon off to bake cookies with my godsons. So Saturday looks to be a pretty hectic day here in the backwoods of Waxhaw.
Kris Krome has been hard at work on the Tony Schuacher bike, welding and welding. AndI'm getting some great ideas for the paint. You can see pictures of the build progress at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cold, rainy day here in Waxhaw. It feels like winter. Working in the warm shop. Tried out a technique for painting a parchment effect basecoat. I'm pretty happy with the results. The samples are almost ready to get sent out to the customer. I'll be taking photos throughout the paint precess, so they can put into a how to feature. There was realy only one product that made this effect possible. Water based automotive paint. I used Auto Air. It dries slower than solvent based and it easy to manipulate and mover around on the surface.
Lots of new products arriving in the shop. Having the right tools makes such a difference in how a particular technique is done. I think all the years I worked without a computer, no printer. Knowing the location and hours of every copy machine in a 30 minute drive from my studio. SATA hooked me up with quality spray guns in '04. Until then I sprayed with anything I had and many times, I paid dearly for it in wasted time and materials. I finally got a plotter in '05. And little by little my shop gets more goodies that make the job so much less of a hassle.
I know there are some shops that start out with a big budget for tools and such. But for most of us, it takes years, buying little by little, to collect the tools that make your workday more effective.
Ok back to work.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Chopper is Famous!

Well sort of. Actually it did appear on the Sept 2004 cover of Easyriders. But that was a long time ago and most of the time, I forget just how neat a bike it is. I mean, I love my chopper. But I don't treat it like some kind of priceless artifact.
It does not sit in the living room, pristine and spotless. It sits in the shed with a sheet over it. There is usually road grime on it. I'll take it out once a month and ride the snot out of it as it is a total blast. Last year I rode it 150 miles to the Smoke Out and rode it back in the rain. It has seen quite a few rain soaked miles and even a nightime hailstorm in the Black Hills. At the Sturgis Rally it is my only form of transportant there and I'll put around 1500 miles on it during Rally week. Aaron Stevenson took some pretty incredible photos of the bike during the Easyriders photoshoot. I used one for the cover of my first book.But that was over 5 years ago. I don't enter the bike in shows, in fact I only ever put it in one bike show, the 2004 Easyriders Show in Charlotte, where it went up against 158 other bikes in the Judged Class. I took home a second place, which was very good considering there were only 13 trophies. But every so often I get a surprize and a photo of the chopper will show up someplace. I was reading Cyril Huze's blog and saw a banner ad for Motorbooks. And wow, there was my bike.
There was time when I could not even dream of having a bike like this. And there it is, 100 feet from me, outside the door, sitting in a shed. Maybe I should display it in the house. Naw, too much trouble to take out and ride.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Adventures in Painting

Its always an adventure in this line of work. That is, if you look at it the right way. Things are happening so fast here. We are working with some great companies this year, House of Kolor, SATA and Artool to name a few. These companies are coming out with some great new products and our shop is trying them out. I just unpacked some shields from Artool and I am so stoked to play with them. House of Kolor is hard at work on their new Shimron2 line of VOC Compliant paint and we'll be testing that too and posting how it is working here for us.My buddy Kris Krome is hard at work on the bike he's building for drag racing champ Tony Schumacher. He's under a welding helmet most hours of the day and I'll be seeing him in two week when I fly up to Flint for his big birthday party. My buddy Stogie, just got back from his 9 month long cross country m/c adventure and he'll be there too. I can't wait to hear his road stories.I updated the Links page on the website. You can go there to check out the sites of the companies and people I talk about.
But today is another day of painting flames and paintwork in general. The sunshine has gone away for the weekend and there's talk of snow in the Carolinas.
Tonight I'm taking my 2 godsons to downtown Waxhaw, for pizza, christmas lights and hot chocolate. I'll try and take some pictures of the lights as it is absolutely wonderful.If you live near Charlotte, NC, please make time to visit Waxhaw to see the lights and enjoy our little antique town. We have some great restuarants, cafes, a kickass coffeehouse, and lots of cool little store full of crafts, antiques, jewelry, and neat stuff in general. These pictures posted are of Downtown Waxhaw.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good day for Airbrushing.

After a few wonderful days of sunshine, the Carolinas is back to its regular schedule of rain and cloudy days. I'm sitting here, laptop perched on my lap, sipping a cup of tea on this damp cold day.
Last night was the last night of Sons of Anarchy until next season. We went all out, ordering pizza and wings. Yes that is all out around here. Its been turkey city for the past week. I can't believe the way they ended. Brutal cool and totally unexpected. Jax freaking on the dock as the boat pulls away and Gema on the lamb with Unser. Oh and it was brutal cool how that box truck pulled up to block the Mayans and it said, "Unser Moving and Storage."
The FXRG gear article and photos are safely in the capable hands of Chris Callen and on the way to the colorful pages of Cycle Source. We just got the new issue of Cycle Source and as usual, it kicks ass with wicked bikes features but the issue is an end of the year wrap up with their Top 10 of 2009, as in Top Builder, Top Bike, along that line. My vote for Woman of Year helped the lady I picked, win! Chris has built up an amazing magazine.
In fact there are only 2 magazines that come to the Chopper Farm and get read cover to cover. Garage magazine is one and that brutal cool mag deserves its one blog entry. But Cycle Source is the other. Chris has such a passion for what he does and it truly shows in the end result. Check out Chris and the gang at

Late last night, I watched the season finale of Sons of Anarchy. It was an hour and half long and FX fit in 45 minutes of commercials. So I played on the computer during them and made banners. One for my photography work.

One for my buddy Kris.

One for my awesome friend Athena.

And one for me.

So today its back to painting fire. Lots of work in the shop and come very cool projects coming up. New stencils and shields from Artool arrived this week. And Mike Lavallee's Tru Fire 2 Shields will be getting a workout today. I can't wait to try them. Very soon there will be a new section of the Crazy Horse website that will be showing how tos as we go through projects. I'll also be doing a series of How tos for publication. More on that later.

Monday, November 30, 2009


It wasn't a bad Monday. It was gray and cloudy. rain clouds threatened but I took the chopper out for a ride. I ride the sporty most of time as it has saddlebags and I can carry groceries or whatever I need to. I'll ride the sporty in the rain. But I fuss over the chopper and try not ride it in bad weather. Besides, cleaning spokes is not my idea of fun.
So with the chopper not getting ridden much, I tend to forget just how fun that bike is. I only spend the morning riding, and then came back to the studio to work. And just as I stepped on the porch, the first rain drops fell.

It was an interesting afternoon. Talked to Chris Callen of Cycle Source and bike builder Kris Krome. Chris C has some pretty neat stuff coming up in Cycle Source. His Indian Larry issue should be incredible. I can't wait to see it. They've been working pretty hard on it. I finished up my first round testing of HD's FXRG gear. I'll be writing up my thoughts on it and sending it into the magazine. Round two starts the next time I get on a bike. Which lately has been everyday.

Kris Krome is hard at work on the Tony Schumacher bike. I did a wicked photo shoot of him and his AMD bike while I was in Vegas. Kris is updating his website and using some of my pictures. Kris is a funny guy and I love talking to him. He always make me smile.
The great thing about the past week, is I have been riding so much. My friend Genevieve Schmitt of wrote a post on her website about how we should always find time or a way to work riding into our days, as it is the best stress reliever there is. I agree. We tend to get so busy in our lives, and have to rush here and there. But lately I have been using the sporty for most of that "here and there" stuff. Yesterday we did a short ride just over the South Carolina line, not even an hour of riding, just as the sun was setting. But it was a great way to end the weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Scenes from Friday

It did not get above 50 degrees yesterday. But we went riding. I'm getting ready to leave to ride to town. I need to get some holiday lights, cat food and cookies. I'll be riding the sportster. Its 30 degrees outside.

And in the shop today

I like painting real fire. I don't to get to paint nearly enough of it. The job I am working on now is all real fire with wicked tomented faces in the flames. What is even cooler, is that I got to improve my flame style over the last few months. So it will be very interesting to see just how this looks after I am done.
And seeing all that custom paint in Vegas was very inspiring. I think this HD softail will be the best real fire I have ever done on a bike.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day yesterday. Lots of great food and we ate alot but did not overeat. Hopefully my friend Lindsey and her boyfriend Zack will be coming over for lunch or dinner today. There's lots of food here and we need help eating it.

Its a cold morning here in Waxhaw. It went down to 30 last night. This is significant as I will be testing out my new Harley Davidson FXRG riding gear today. Ihave to go into town to the Post Office and maybe take a ride to a friend's house. I'm testing the gear for Cycle Source Magazine. We're going to see just how good HD's line of heavy duty riding gear is. Is it all its cracked up to be? I get cold very easy on the bike. I'm always freezing. So I'm a great person to test out this gear that is designed for all kinds of weather, hot and cold. This will be a series of articles in Cycle Source over the winter, seeing how the gear works for me. I'll be riding all winter long, in all kinds of weather. Whereever I go, whatever I do, if I can do whatever chore I need to do and fit whatever on my sportster, I'll be riding and my truck will be parked. Rain, cold, sun. I've got about 150 miles on the gear so far, so I'm looking forward to putting on some more miles today.

I'll be turning in my first article next week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From Zero to Drizzle

What's happening here at Crazy Horse this week?
First question - how the hell did it get to be "The Holiday Season" again so frickin soon? I mean, I love this time of year. I love the lights, the shopping, the food. I do not love how big my ass get sfrom the food. But whole holiday thing just comes faster and faster each year. Kind of makes it harder to enjoy. Maybe we should just do this whole thing every two years. But then the retailers would have fits.
The holiday thing comes up as this is a short work week for most everyone. But for the selfemployed? Here at the Compound will we be taking Thursday off and that's it. We'll be working this weekend. Our project this week is a real fire HD softail. This thing is going to be pretty evil. Check back next week for some pictures.

Its a drizzlely gray day here in the Carolinas. Which means its a great day for airbrushing. I'll be tucked away in our warm shop happily airbrushing away.
The teaser photo today is a from a photo shoot I did of a Zero Engineering bike out in Las Vegas. More news on that next month.

Ok, back to work.

Friday, November 20, 2009


On Monday our boxes from Vegas arrived. One of the great things about going to trade shows is seeing just how much swag (freebees) you can pick up there. Now you don't want to get all piggy about it. How many keychains do you really need anyway? But usually at each show there is the choice swag such as seen in this picture. It would be hard to pick which piece of swag was the optimum at SEMA this year.

One of the coolest things was the chrome skull keychain that Scooo products was giving out. What does Scoo make? I have no idea, I just knew I wanted one of those killer skulls to hang in the shop.

Another choice swag was the chrome SATA Spraygun keychain. It looks so real. Very detailed. The choice thing to have if you re a custom painter or play one on tv. SATA also gave out very useful ice scrapers.

The hardest to get swag was actually the invite to the Coast Airbrush party. It was a super wicked Iwata airbrush keychain. It looked just like an actual Iwata airbrush. There were only 100 of those.
Then there's useful swag like the Grip Twists that the Grip Twist company contributed to the SBN Speed Networking Breakfast goodie bags. They are like these super heavy duty flexible twist ties.

Ebay Motors gave out useful swag. Red shop rags and funnels. Can't have too many of those.

One of my favorite swag items was the purple magnetic super duty clip from Mystik Lubricants. There are never enough clips for clipping chip bags closed. Lincoln Welders gave out these cool clippy magnets, I got a few of those.
Artool gave out this killer sweet stencil shield. Now that will come in very handy in our shop.
House of Kolor's best swag was their scarab logo pin.

And sure there all were all kinds of pens and markers that companies gave out. In fact we ended up with so much swag that we shipped it home as it would have made our bags weigh too much.

When we unpacked the 2 boxes, the swag score filled the kitchen table. Lifetime supply of pens, but not nearly enough super duty magnetic chip clips.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pictures from SEMA

The House of Kolor booth at SEMA. They had artists airbrush all kinds of items this year. There were the water coolers, trash cans, giant fishing lures, pinball machine. You could actually play pinball at the booth. In fact, the House of Kolor booth was probably the one of the most interesting booths at SEMA. It was definitely sensory overload. There were artists airbrushing, pinstriping, it was amazing. There was a charity silent auction, foot massage machines for tired SEMA feet. Then of course there were all the new HOK products, like their new Low VOC Shimron2. People could spray a test panel of the this new product. There were the new pearl colors. Famous artists and car builders like John Dagostino had autograph sessions there. Plus what was very cool were all the painters and builders who came by and hung out. Gene Winfield spent alot of time in the booth. Darryl Starbird was there. House of Kolor even had their first ever Induction for the House of Kolor Hall of Fame. It was a place that many people came back by every day.

Here's a teaser shot of Kris Krome's AMD winner. The full article will be appearing in Cycle Source.
On location at Mondo's shop, Denver's Choppers. Mondo was letting us us his shop to shoot the bike. Mondo has come out with this new wicked cool powdercoating. He can do nearly any color or effect including this very cool black chrome. Check out Denver's for more info.

Shooting Joe Gregory's wicked '66 Impala SS up at Red Rocks outside of Las Vegas. We had to get up at 5am to be there for sunrise shooting. More pictures on my website.

I even got to drive the Impala to the shoot. I was nervous driving this car, I went slow as hell and everyone was passing me.

Airbrushing at the SATA Spray Equipment booth.

Jon Kosmoski inducts Gene Winfield into the House of Kolor Hall of Fame.

David and I with super incredible airbrush artist AD Cook and pinstriping legend, Gary Jensen. AD is based in Vegas and you can see his art at

Our friend Mitch from Jus Cus Custom came down from Canada to show off his wild spray gun tattoo. I'm so jealous. Maybe I should get one.

Criag Fraser airbrushed a panel of the Lucky 7 airplane bike we painted. HOK had artists doing panels and those panels will available on the HOK website. People can go and bid on them and the proceeds will go to the Kyle Petty Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Craig airbrushing the airplane bike.

There weren't that many prototype dream cars at SEMA this year. This caddy was one of the few.

These guys came down from Montana to show off their brutal John Deer powered rat rod. take a close look, this thing start with the crank you see on the side of it.

Jack Giachino airbrushed and striped at the SATA Spray Equipment booth. SATA debuted their new spray gun, the Foose gun, at the show. Chip displayed a truck at the booth and people lined up all over the place to get his autograph. of course I did not get a picture of Chip or his truck. SEMA was one big blur for me as I had to so much to do while I was there. Not much playtime.

Cool painted transmission.

Fraser's Clipboard of Doom. This dude is so super organized and ran the artist end of the House of Kolor booth. He kept right on top of things, and it all ran like clockwork.

David and Mitch. Mitch is not high, he just kept blinking when I would take a picture. Notice the black banner in the background that says SCOO?
They were giving out these super cool chrome skull keychains, and unlike other booths than never bring enough cool giveaways, they had plenty. David and I searched all week for the Scooo booth and could not find it until Friday when I took this picture and saw the banner in the background.

Mike Lavallee's unreal fridge. Mile had a few wonderful things displayed at the HOK booth. Mike is just way too talented. He makes airbrushing look easy.

Gary Jensen with his panel that I did not win.

Me with the Lucky 7 bike. I need to get cooler shop shirts. The polo thing just ain't doing it for me.

Very sweet bobber at SEMA.

Kris at the Heavy Metal booth with his AMD winning triumph.

HOK pinstriped panel.

Probably the coolest truck parked in front of the convention center.

Vegas has a serious hot rod scene. This merc ( I think its a Merc) was part of a weekly hot rod gathering as my friend Robert's restaurant.