PASSION BUILT - As we do every year with these annual themed exhibitions (our 10th at the Buffalo Chip and 18th year since inception), we focus on an idea and hope that in addition to presenting incredible new custom motorcycles and artwork to the viewers that pass through this gallery, that this exhibition series gets people thinking and if we’re lucky, challenges the status quo. With this years "Passion Built - Garage to Gallery” exhibition and its 53 participants that make a living from something other than the craft they are presenting here, don’t you wonder "What drives these artists to make these creations?,” "How do they have the energy to put into their craft after a long day at work?, or perhaps "What exactly is Passion?”
Many would say the word "Passion” is overused, but this could be that an increasing number of people pursue and experience it each year, as we become a more affluent society. With most people’s basic needs met, are we at that point where the unalienable right of "the pursuit of Happiness” so clearly stated in our Declaration of Independence almost 250 years ago has become real? Isn’t there a correlation between Happiness and Passion? As I see it, the happiest people I know are also the most passionate. They seem to live life with enthusiasm and excitement, without care for the amount of time and money that goes into their craft, because it is just something they HAVE TO DO. It charges them with energy and the self confidence to not only keep going, but to push themselves and take risks trying new and creative ways to express themselves.
The builders and artists represented here have been brought together for their shared passion for motorcycles and the art behind them. Some are at the beginning of their professional lives and others are close to, or already in retirement, but each supports themselves by other means and each creates work at a professional level. They have chosen to keep their passion separate from their day-to-day job for reasons that range from their career being too lucrative to give up to wanting to keep their passion pure and without commercial influence. The funny part is even if they were to go "Professional”, when your passion is your work, it is hard to justify calling it work anymore!
The exhibition participants represent diverse backgrounds. There are more than 60-years between the youngest and oldest. Some work in the trades, some are engineers or sales people. There are tattoo artists and others who are at the highest levels of traditional businesses, yet all share an absolute need to create. Their accolades prior to coming to this exhibit hall were likely some bike shows and bragging rights at the local bar, but something keeps them at it in the evenings, on weekends or while on their holidays. You can certainly sense their love for what they do in each of their machines and pieces of art.
I highly recommend you take your time as you walk through the gallery and then consider coming back a second time to help soak it all in. The sum of what you see represents years and years of effort. Reading the artist statements that accompanies each piece will give you greater insight into the artists and their creative process. It may even help answer some of the above questions, especially the one about what makes these artists tick. If you are receptive, you may just leave with a shot of encouragement to discover and pursue your own passion.
Special thanks to all 53 participants for the outstanding effort they put into getting their bikes and artwork done on point and on time. Leah Whaley, you were awesome when I invited your husband Dan to join the exhibition way back in October and so quickly after hearing my ideas, you offered the fitting title "Passion Built". To the more than twenty industry sponsors that make this exhibition possible, many that have supported us year after year, we are deeply indebted. Thank you Rod "Woody” Woodruff for the support you and the Buffalo Chip have given in building this gallery and hosting the exhibition. Your time, financial support and staff help bring this show to light year after year. A special callout goes to some members of this staff including Nyla Griffith on publicity, Lon Nordbye and Jesse Ziebart on sponsorship, Wally Walczak watching over it all and of course, the great gallery crew led by Melissa Mason and Jason Daniel, who have worked countless hours on installing the art and bikes. Marilyn Stemp did an extra special job again working with the builders and shippers to ensure all the bikes arrived safely and on time. Thank you to my crew - without Shannon Kerr, Melissa Shoemaker and Sean Lichter, there wouldn’t be any exhibition, and special thanks and love go to my family, Catherine, Kiera and Sean, who deal with me as I pursue my passions for photography and motorcycling, as well as coming up with new themes for this exhibition every year.
Passion Built Full Bike Features