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.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where am I?

You would think the job of a writer or editor at a motorcycle magazine, would be the ideal job. I remember when I used to read Rip's Run in Easyriders. I used to think Rip had the best job in the world. Ride around the country on a motorcycle, meet lots of great people, have adventures and get paid for it.
But is it really?
Having Joe (who is managaing editor at American Iron) staying here with us, was an eye opener. You would think the managing editor of the largest circulation m/c magazine in the world would be the best job there is. And in many ways it is. Joe gets to ride all kinds of bikes. Testing bikes for nearly every American m/c company. Trying out new riding gear. Everyone wants to be his friend and get favor with the magazine.
I've known Joe a long time. He is one of the funniest people I know, always making me laugh my ass off. Actually I have more fun with Joe than almost anyone else. His way off looking at the world and the people in it, is priceless. He has this lightning fast wit, and zaps people with it, so fast, they don't even know exactly what happened.

But it seems like Joe is on the road constantly. Home life? Sure, there is that, if you only want to be there half the time. And that's great, if you don't have too much of a life at home. Like what if you have kids, or pets or a spouse?
I had a chance to teach airbrush classes and make better $$ than I do in the shop. I turned it down. I like my mornings here at the house. Waking up and going to work. Work being a mere 15 steps from the back door. I like my routine, seeing the sun pass across the sky, the afternoon sunshine streaming through the hardwoods in the back. Spending weekends with my godsons, watching them grow.

It seems everything is a tradeoff. No easy way. No perfect life.

And those days I spent wishing I had Rip's life? Those were the years I lived on Connecticut River in a 200 yr old farmhouse. I'd wander the riverbanks, soaking up the essence of the day. And I wouldn't trade those priceless days on the river for anything. Of course at the time, no way did I see it that way. I wanted to be Rip, on the 2 wheeled road to adventure.

Maybe most of us are where we are supposed to be. Joe riding Indians in the Western Mts, sizing the the strengths and weakness of their motorcycles. Jim wandering around The Chopper Farm, dreaming up the next killer custom sportster build, David insulating the sporty shed, the bratty siamese cat lazing on the porch. The dog protecting the yard from rogue squirrels and me: doing drawings with Photoshop while the sunlight streams through the incredible fall colors of the backyard hardwoods, the doors to the studio open, the warm breeze drifting through.

We had a great time with Joe Knezevic hanging at the Compound. We went over to the Chopper farm. And Joe liked the low rent hardtail sportsters Jimmy is building. Jim's latest went together for less than $5000. That included the cost of the 1999 1200 donor bike ($1500.)
It was a low key weekend here. And that is pretty easy as we live way out in the country and there ain't shit around here. If you're looking to relax and get away from it all, this is the place. Joe got in Saturday morning and somehow followed the lengthy, obscure directions to the Compound. "Follow the road for a few miles, and after it changes names, take a left turn at the old feed store that burned down last year." As Joe is from the NYC area, he is good at that kind of stuff.
Saturday we toured the Compound and went over to the Farm, then it was into town to check out the take out food. We settled on Mexican and managed to get out of town before the local gestapo arrested us for grand theft habanero sauce and sugar cookies.
We had the best intentions of actually doing something on Sunday. It was a beautiful, sunny warm Carolina day and the sporties called out from their shed. But as Joe had to ride 300 miles on Indians on Monday, he was not motivated to move from his spot on the couch.

This picture? The customers wanted it to look like pink marble with blood running back across it.
The CBA Swap Meet at the metrolina was kickass this year, BUT we did not go as that would have taken far too much effort for men. Ah, I only would have spent $$ I didn't need to spend.
But seriously, it meant alot that Joe enjoyed himself while he was here and this place makes it easy to relax.
What is it about a football game on tv that makes a man sleep? I look up from the computer and both David and Joe were both sleeping away as the Panthers played the Falcons. I think NASCAR races have the same effect.
We finally managed to get out of pajamas and into street clothes and went into Charlotte to watch a Checkers hockey game. We almost didn't get to the game as we first went to the wrong stadium, not knowing that the team had moved to the NBA arena in uptown Charlotte.
The arena looked like it has less than 1000 people in it. Kinda sad. The Checkers won 6 to 4. And David and I were on the "kiss cam." They pan around the arena looking for couples and they show on the jumbotron and you're supposed to kiss. Good thing David wasn't sitting next to Joe. Joe is a funny guy. He had us laughing all weekend with his stories.

And now it is Monday and Joe is off to ride new Indian Motorcycles for next 2 days. He wants to do 500 miles today, but will be happy to make atleast 300. He's wearing the new nylon HD FXWG gear and its cold this morning. They'll probably be heading to the NC mountains, so hopefully the FXWG gear will do its job and keep him warm.
As for me, I'm warm and cozy in my old paint spattered HD sweats. I'm about to hit the studio and start working.
I'll try and post some pictures from SEMA in the next few days.
Oh and Rich Evans, custom car and bike builder from California, will be arriving here today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back to Reality

I am back from Vegas and its a week since I wrote the first blog entry. I've been updating the website. I do the work myself and it takes time. Mike Lavallee's girlfriend, Nick was constantly working on their website while she was at SEMA. Every time I saw her, she had her face buried in her Ibook. Now I know why. But little by little I will be adding pictures of new work.
And there is alot of it since the site was last updated over 2 years ago. The main task of today is working with Photoshop on drawings. I have 3 drawings to get done. I was going to do them on the plane out to Vegas, but I realized, I really need to use my touch screen monitor to get the best out of these drawings and my Wacum Cintique does not fit in my carry on bag.

And later today, Joe from American Iron Magazine will be arriving here. He's here to check out the new paint shop and stop by the new Crazy Horse Chopper Farm. The Chopper Farm is a full service chopper shop does everything from oil changes, sheet metal fabrication, weld-on hardtails and full on custom bike builds. Go to the Custom Bikes page on my website for more info on the shop and what we offer. The new chopper in the photo is currently for sale $14,000. Email us for more info.
And next week, Joe will be road testing the new Indian Motorcycles for the magazine.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Las Vegas Tales

(This blog entry was written last Saturday night, while I was in Las Vegas.) Does anything normal ever happen in Vegas during SEMA week? Or is it all just endless days and nights of adventure ? One twisted escapade blending into the next until you lose all track of time, and you find yourself asking people what day it is. For most, the week starts out on Monday, setting up the display booth, planning meetings, making lists of tasks : people you need to network with, the desired goals of those meetings, work related research to keep up with what’s current in the industry. It all starts out as serious business. Go forward, get the job done, task accomplished… next.
But somewhere around the middle of the week, the nights of little sleep in a town that truly comes fully alive after dark, takes a toll. Your body running on adrenaline, your mind only half cognizant. Go to dinner with clients or business associates or friends. You tell yourself, ‘After dinner, I’ll go to the room and check emails, then straight to bed to get up early for the show.’ But you’re not really all that tired and decide to make a quick stop by the Circle Bar at the Hard Rock. Just to have one drink and see whose hanging out. Be back at the room by midnight. Good plan. Then suddenly its 3 am and you have to get up at 6:30. By Friday afternoon you realize you haven’t even looked at those lists you made and SEMA will be officially over in less than an hour. Unless of course you are Craig Fraser and carry the Clipboard of Doom with all those lists neatly organized, tasks precisely checked off as they are accomplished. But I am not Craig Fraser. I am the opposite of Craig, making it up as I go along, flying by the seat of my pants and somehow against the laws of the universe, accomplishing the tasks on that forgotten list. An anomaly dependant on fate and luck.
So here I sit on a post SEMA Saturday night in Vegas, boyfriend sleeping peacefully next to me. I’m wide awake as the exhilaration of the week has not yet worn off. Too wired to sleep, too tired to do much of anything else.
Visions of the past week running through my head. Sitting at a table with Kris Krome, his dad telling wild stories. Running into Rich Evans crossing Paradise Rd. Chip Foose standing in front of the convention center, no crowds around him, just another guy looking around, trying to figure out where he needs to be.
We’re in the Earnhardt Suite at Casa Del Gregory, an expansive adobe house on the edge of the mountains west of Vegas. We arrived at 9pm to find a box of cookies and candies on the bed. The cookies were badly needed. What had been planned to be a morning interview today, turned into an all day debacle, complete with interview and 2 photo shoots. I felt guilty taking up so much of Kris Krome’s time, but when you get a great story, you have to run with it and get the most of out it. Sometimes you get one chance and to wait is to lose that chance. The opportunity to tell someone’s story. And when that story is as good as Kris’s, you grab on and don’t let go.
Trying to write about it makes me realize I need to reread some Hunter Thompson. Only the good doctor could truly capture the essence of such an experience. To depict it in words. But that’s how this whole week was.
SEMA is the best of the best. The best car and bike builders, the best painters, the best wrenches, all displaying their hard work. I was overwhelmed by the talent, the artistry at that show. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Not tonight anyway. Its 11 pm here. 2 AM back home in NC. But time doesn’t mean much right now. For those who attended SEMA, it will take several days at home to feel normal again.
So until I have enough displine to write another blog entry, it’s good night from a quiet spot on the edge of the desert. The lights of Vegas sparkling in the distance, a place where time is just another illusion.