The One Man Art Show

        The Fast Lane Art Show

       Borrowing from the momentum experienced by the Guggenheim exhibition “Motorcycles as Art,” a two man art show featuring more than what the motorcycle culture is noted for, was prepared to appear at Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, Virginia. Featuring not only a colorful variety of hand painted pinstripe design styles the versatile artist, Dave “Letterfly” Knoderer, has a command of but the “Low-Brow” 50’s & 60’s graffiti images of Andre Wombat. The exhibition goes beyond just bikes and includes other paintings, panels, illustrations, cartoons, posters and even a circus side show banner that commemorate the versatility of the artists.

         The exhibition began with a reception at 4 pm on Saturday. The artist “Letterfly” was present to demonstrate traditional “old school” pinstriping. The delicate nature of the hand painted pinline design is the result of years of practice and developing finesse with the ungainly, specialized brush. The creation of each motif is an exercise in playful meditation where the artist opens himself up to possibilities as each stroke occurs, only to reveal the intention as the last connecting stroke is made. The collection of hand painted artwork, photographs, posters, signs, cartoons and painted panels with intricate pinline designs showcase the varied and interesting career of the artist/entertainer. Many designs have electrical qualities with an ever present energy as the circuitous lines are connected, overlapped, mirrored and finally become ready to contemplate.

          Also included in the festivities planned for during the show was the educational and enlightening seminar entitled “Rolling Art,…Why a Mural?” for the benefit of anyone interested in finding out about traditional hand painted artwork, especially from the standpoint of what it can do to enhance the motorcycle experience. Dave discussed the historical aspect of pinstriping and what goes into the creation of the traditional manner of pinstripe designs, the variety of flames that are in abundance today, how a simple hand lettered inscription can communicate a statement, serve to identify a cause or provoke an emotion. Also included was the discussion of the process of creating a custom image for the bike starting with the interview, when the concept for the idea is explored and the initial sketch is drawn, the image development and the considerations from the numerous manners of painting the bike are selected.  An especially informative portion of the talk involved discussing the steps, materials and components that go into the creation of spectacular custom paint jobs with an opportunity for questions from anyone interested in the technical aspects of this interesting facet of the biker culture.

         Dave “Letterfly” Knoderer began creating as a child and apprenticed the hand lettering sign painting trade as a teen. A penchant for adventure lead him to many interesting projects among them, painting theatrical background sets, performing with the circus, antique fire engine restoration, gold leaf gilding, pinstriping and ornamentation, amusement park scenery, entertaining signage, Trompe L’oeil effects for the interior of the home and award winning store front décor.

        When the computer began to erode the bread and butter portion of the business of the sign painter, Letterfly was in the right place at the right time and mixed lessons learned while traveling with the tented circus as a teen and began an itinerate career as a creator of high quality murals on luxury motor homes for an emerging clientele of RVers across the country.

         One motor coach owner just happened to own a Harley-Davidson dealership and enticed the artist to come and create murals inside and outside at his motorcycle store. This lead to traveling to yet other H-D stores to create large murals that enhance the retail environment. While at these job sites it became impossible to avoid requests for delicate pinline designs and custom images of all kinds from the motorcycle enthusiasts that frequented these sites and today the artist enjoys a seven month route of customer dedicated Harley-Davidson stores nationwide, that enjoy the Letterfly value added service.

       The vast repertoire of the artist is the result of the many changes that have taken place in his interesting career as technology changed the relationship of the artisan that creates by hand and demand in this specialized niche gave him direction. Truly a renaissance man, the timeless manner of creating a unique design by hand fuels the desire to keep alive this fast disappearing form of art.

          On display will be many of the panels originally created and used on the road tour as flash, or an example of a design to decorate a motorcycle, as is evidenced by chips, knicks and scratches. As new ideas are constantly being developed, old panels are taken down and enter the growing collection of spontaneously created pinline designs.    

 

         Milestones also included in the exhibition are examples of artwork created to decorate the retail environment of Lazydays where Letterfly was the artist in residence for fourteen years, the cover illustration for Family Motor Coach Magazine, airbrushed the same way that thousands of murals on motor homes were created, a new twist on the family crest, a side show banner that commemorates his role on the circus as a teenager, cartoons, some antique circus posters from the artists collection, a comic cover he created, classic examples of the old time sign maker and lots of what the motorcycle culture enjoy: inspiring pinstripe designs.

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