Exhibitions » 2017 Old Iron - Young Blood

OLD IRON - YOUNG BLOOD - "You’re crazy!” That’s what I was told in August of 2016 when I first presented the idea of devoting the Motorcycles as Art exhibition of 2017, just one year later, to today’s up and coming generation. "It can’t happen,” "They’ll never show up” and a barrage of epithets were quickly hurled in my direction. At the same time, younger builders and artists that I mentioned it to were very excited about the prospect. I’ve learned a lot over the year it took to put this exhibition together with one of the most important things being that "Millennials” hate being called "Millennials!”

The fact that 37 builders, 10 helmet painters, 6 graphic artists and 4 photographers created their respective works and got them to the gallery before the public opening on August 5, 2017, in itself testifies that the stereotypes around the "Millennial” term don’t fit, at least not for this group of artists. Most of the builders built their bikes just for the exhibition and none of the bikes were more than a few months old other than Ross Thomas’, which was built not long before he died in 2014 (he would be 23.) For that matter, almost all of the bikes were unveiled to the public for the very first time right in the gallery.

This exhibition reminds me of an interaction during the 2004 filming of the Dave Perewitz - Billy Lane "Biker Build-Off” when early before sunrise on the first morning, as I was standing by myself next to Billy’s orange "Down N’ Dirty” drop saddle chopper in Jacksonville, FL, someone not much older than me came over and simply said, "I don’t get it.” In an effort to help, I asked if he had any kids and he said, "Yes.” I then asked if he liked their music, to which he quickly said, "No!” and that he wasn’t interested in it either. It didn’t matter whether we were talking music or bikes because it was really the exact same thing. We all have choices to make, and while I don’t think we have to like every new flavor that comes along, it seems important to be open minded. So this is what I ask of you today as you take in the "Old Iron - Young Blood” exhibition on these pages; take your time looking over the bikes and the art and try to fathom the creative energy and talent it all represents. If you can, try to put yourself in their shoes. Hopefully, if the exhibit was a success, we will all better understand what this very capable group of artisans is about and what will be coming around the bend. Lastly, watch this group closely over the next few years because I guarantee some of these artisans will emerge as the superstars of tomorrow.