As we head into this weekend’s Pikes Peak event…
Chris, your website is called TheDucatiArtist.com. Tell us about your choice to specialize in our mutual favorite brand and how that came about?
Sometime in the late Seventies I picked up this book from the bargain bin at the mall. It was one of those, “Little Golden Books” for kids, except this one was written by Rich Taylor and it was entitled, “Cafe Racers.” On one of the pages is a picture of a round case 750 Super Sport. From that point on I judged everything else by that pinnacle of excellence. I’ve been painting watercolors for about 30 years now and I used to do a lot of automotive subjects. So after finally becoming a Ducati 748s owner about a year and a half ago I decided to focus on Ducatis and I love painting them.
Good answer, we share your love of round case Ducati’s. Speaking of which, you obviously have a special relationship with the Pikes Peak Mountain as well, your art has a “love letter to the mountain” feel to it. Could you tell us about that?
I’ve lived my whole life here in Colorado Springs so I’ve spent a lot of time on or around Pikes Peak. Just about anyone that has spent anytime with the mountain gets pretty attached to it’s spirit. It has a deep heritage with the Native Americans, the early settlers, and of course motorsports. A lot of the best moments of my life have happened up there. One of my favorite things to do is ride my bike to the top, buy a couple donuts and a cup of coffee and just sit there at 14,110 and watch the Ravens fly around in the thermals coming up the face of the mountain.
Lucky you, and it’s worth mentioning that the home made donuts he is having on the mountain top with coffee are worth the ride alone! Your latest piece, Moto Icarus, is of Carlin Dunne on his race winning Multistrada last year. Why did you select that subject to paint?
I kind of accidentally met Carlin in 2011 when he won overall as a rookie. Early in the morning of practice his truck broke down half way up and was parked right next to me. I don’t think they had a flashlight so I did flashlight duty so they could get the bike out and going. After that the Ducati art spark kind of took off with me and I did a painting of Carlin Dunne and Greg Tracy on their Multistradas. I contacted the Spider Grips team and shared my painting with them and it was Carlin that called me because he and Rod wanted to come over to see the painting. The whole Spider Grips team is great.
As I watched Carlin and Greg push each other last year I just thought, what I’m seeing here is special. Watching these guys rip through those corners was mind boggling. At the end of the day it was Carlin with the record. I was just so inspired with Carlin’s effort on the Multistrada that I wanted to capture the feeling and magnitude of that moment. One of my favorite places on the course is the view looking down from 16 mile. I wanted to capture the mountain dropping away below him as he skirted the gravel strewn edge at 140mph. It just reminded me of Icarus and his wings flying toward the sun… except for the crashing part, Carlin didn’t crash.
No he didn’t, but he really did fly, great analogy. How does somebody buy your art and what’s coming next?
Right now the place to see what work I’ve done is on my website/blog TheDucatiArtist.com. The “Ducati Art” tab at the top of the page will take you to the information about originals and prints. I’ve also just fired up “The Ducati Artist” Facebook page. Give that a like and I’ll keep everyone up to date with my latest artwork and events and maybe what kind of trouble I’m getting into. Next year I plan to start attending
As far as what paintings I’ll soon be working on? I really like painting not only Ducati motorcycles but the spirit of owning and riding a Ducati. Paintings really do that better than photography, or should anyway. That and I’m thinking there needs to be a painting of Nicky on my list. This isn’t going to be a championship year for Nicky Hayden but talk about the spirit of Ducati, that’s the guy.
Vicki Smith: Thanks Chris, have fun on the mountain this weekend. Carlin’s gone “electric”but we are rooting for him of course and the Spider-Grips team is now Falkner/Livingston Akrapovic Team and we are rooting for them as well.
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