I'm beyond excited to show off my latest collaboration! Friend and Studiomate Taras Kravtchouk was asked by British brand Belstaff to build two custom sister motorcycles for their Los Angeles and New York City stores. Thanks to super talented photographer Ryan Handt for these gorgeous photos of the final builds!
Taras brought me onto this project to paint logos and racing numerals on the tank and side plate of each bike. I had been practicing hard with my one shot enamel and pinstriping, so the timing was perfect for a high-stakes project like this.
Taras hunted down a 1973 Triumph and a 1964 BSA for the builds and got to work on the Triumph first. He had just three weeks to build each bike, which limited my painting time by quite a bit. I excitedly awaited the first tank's arrival to my studio where I would paint it. First came the number plate:
While Taras was in the garage working hard I would send him text messages with photos of my progress so he could confirm placement and colors. The number plate was a cinch: nice and flat! I busted that out in an evening and Taras brought by the first tank. On second thought, he realized the color was off (see the dark grey in the above photo) and wouldn't match the hardware on the rest of the bike. In a quick decision, he painted it silver himself and brought it back to me (below).
The lettering was both heart-attack inducing and incredibly fun. To get those fine lines I had to use a very fine brush, which would show any sort of quivering in my hand. I used striping masking tape to get nice, sharp edges on the ends of certain letterforms. Peeling off the masking tape was extremely satisfying.
Taras whisked away the Triumph tank with-still wet enamel paint on it and mounted it to the frame that evening. By that night he had the entire build completed and it was ready to be photographed by the super talented bike photographer Ryan Handt. It was shipped to Los Angeles just a day later.
The BSA tank and the Triumph tank are visually sisters but not twins. So the hushed silver with gloss black lettering on the Triumph would have a completely different look to the glossy black BSA tank that Taras requested gold lettering for. The gold paint was definitely harder to work with because the consistency was a bit grittier from the metallic flakes. Luckily, on the glossy surface, the margin for error was a bit wider and I could use mineral spirits to wipe away any stray flecks of gold. I again used the masking tape to get nice hard edges on the tops of certain letters.
The finished tank has a great cafe style with the gold practically popping off the black. It had a few days to cure before It was picked up to be mounted on the in-process build. I got to work on the racing plate.
We wanted something a little more muted than big white block letters, and this gold outline was a solid compromise. The finished build, again photographed by Ryan, looks fantastic.
As soon as it was finished, it was brought up to 68th street on Madison Avenue here in NYC, where the flagship Belstaff store is located. The bike is sitting pretty surrounded by plenty of fancy jackets and other motorcycling lifestyle wares.
I feel super lucky and am very grateful to have been brought onto such a fast-paced, high-energy project. Thanks to everyone involved at Belstaff, Taras, Vax Moto, and Ryan!