Latest art shows you participated in? ~ Any shows in the near future? ~ The
last art show I did was the Oil & Water Art Show that was put on by “Us
Versus Them”, and I will be displaying some work at the Oil & Water exhibit
at this years David Mann Show. I also will be painting live at this years
International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo, CA and will have tanks on display
through the whole show circuit.
9. Biggest challenge you faced in your line of work? ~ The biggest challenge I
face in my line of work is to keep the doors open. What I do is an extreme
luxury and not necessarily needed to make a bike or car go down the street.
Seems like nowadays the overall look is not important. People feel that if they
paint their project it becomes a trailer queen or too flashy. I feel that if
you put a lot of hard work, time and money into your project then why not get
the most out of your investment. I've never seen a bike or car that was painted
to the 9's get less money than a ratty old whatever. Pride and showmanship has
gone out of style for some. Maybe it's not what's cool, but then if everyone
takes that approach it's as trendy as anything else. I believe in standing
apart and bringing your "A" game to the best of your abilities. They
don't call us starving artist for nothing, so support the artists!
10. What are your goals for the near future? ~ Same thing I did last week Pinky...try to take over the world! Seriously though, if I can continue my art on my terms and keep the bills paid then I'm satisfied. Everything else will come when it's my time.
11. Did you have any formal education for art? ~Well that's tricky because all through school when they said "What elective would you like?" art was always the go to...maybe I should have took Spanish, but I thought, “How useful can that be?! Hahaha I spent some time in a Visual Arts Academy in high school, but fucked that up worrying about when my boys and I were going bombing and fuckin off....another life lesson.”
12. Current motorcycle you own? ~ I currently have a '67 Triumph chopper that I'm trying to sell, and my '95 Sporty 883 cafe.
13. What's the scoop on the Sportster you built for yourself? ~ Well this was a random quick buy I picked up from a buddy and decided that I wanted to do a few small mods and flip it. Since it has been finished I think it's a keeper for now. I rode it on this years El Diablo Run and it made it like a champ. My buddy James Banuelos of Us Versus Them wanted to get involved on EDR and decided to sponsor the sporty. Great collab and I enjoy working with them boys!
14. Any plans to build another motorcycle soon? ~ Oh yes!! I really enjoy the thrill of the build. Figuring it out, making my style show through and learning from talented friends that help me out. I have a long bike in the works for myself and a 1970's Honda 400 I'm doing for a friend in Maui. All at a pace of money and time, so stay tuned!
15. You got any hot rods? ~ My wife and I were recently handed down my dad's 1955 Chevy 1st Series pickup that he has had since I was 5 or 6. Now, 30 years later it’s undergoing a face lift and some Head case stylin and it'll be hitting the streets soon.
16. Were cars and motorcycles around you when you were growing up? Was that a big influence on you today? ~ Growing up my old man and his buddies were always into hot rods. Out in the garage hanging with them was my intro to California's custom car and bike scene. At an early age I was customizing anything I could get my hands on. I guess that's the influences I took into my life. Everything is better customized and personalized!
17. How has running your own business been for you? ~That’s a tough one... It's a blessing and a curse. It's good when it’s good, but sucks when it's bad. It's a lot of pressure from so many directions...a lot of hats to wear ya know. If you would have asked me even 5 years ago I would have told you I have no desire to be my own boss. The stress and pressure can take the fun right out of it sometimes, but then I remember that I love what I do and as they say "Do what you love and you never work a day in your life." I’m not going back now.
18. Do you do any advertising to promote your business or is it a lot of social media and word of mouth? ~ Social media has been my friend for sure! Word of mouth has changed so much over the years and with the net. So as long as it's free and works I'll take it!!!!
19. How hard is it to balance family life and your career? ~ That's not tough as of now. It's just me and the wife and she is as supportive as anyone could ask for. She is what drives me to be the best I can. As our family grows they will always be first.
20. If you were to win the lottery would you keep doing what you are doing now? ~ Man, I fuckin wish!!!! Yes, I would still do what I do because I eat, sleep and breath motorcycles. It would just ramp up what I do and help me concentrate on what I love doing. Money can make or break your dreams sometimes, but when you love something so much you find ways to make it work. It's the American way!
Thanks Casey for letting me come down to your shop and shoot some photos and hang out. Look forward to seeing your next creation and paint job.
Where were you born and raised? ~ I was born in Sierra Madre, California and
raised in the Pasadena area aka the SGV...
2. How long have you been painting? ~ I've been in the biz for about 11 years
and have been painting for about 8 years.
3. What got you started in painting? ~ I had worked at a custom body shop called Custom & Classic in Pasadena and was exposed to a few custom paint jobs and loved it! I come from a graffiti background and have been an artist for as far back as I can remember. Since then I've worked with some of the best painters in the game and have had to pay a lot of dues to learn from these greats. My love for bikes and classic custom cars seemed like a great platform for my art to take shape.
4. Who are your influences? ~ Influences are tough because they span over a whole life time. From my old man and his buddies wrenching in the garage, going to swap meets on Sundays, running the streets with the homies and people I have meet and worked with. So for me I'd say my life and passions are my influences. Artistically, I'd say Danny D is my biggest influence, but I try not to look too hard at what other people are doing so that I can keep my art mine as much as I can considering that in this day in age we are all just emulating the past greats in our own way.
5. How did you get your job at West Coast Choppers? ~ Like most people, a friend got me in. I needed to work and had a chance to work with crazy talented people, which was an amazing experience.
6. What was the biggest thing you learned there? ~ I'd say that I learned what real talented tradesmen are, and that not everything is how it seems.
7. What projects do you have going on now? ~ Work wise I have a Buick Rivi that I'm painting for tattoo artist Tim Hendricks, a job for Zero Engineering, a couple of sets for Spitfire Motorcycles, and a couple bikes for some friends.
Joyrides Art Company showcases the photographic and design work of Mark Kawakami. Specializing in the hot rod, choppers and tattoo industry. Our goal is to find those people who love to ride, drive and create art as a way of life. We aim to bring that love to you through photographs and design.