On a steamy night in July, hundreds of Denver’s chopper fans gathered for loud music, amazing art and beautiful motorcycles. At 238 Santa Fe, The Equilibrium Clothing & Boutique and Super Screen Print Companies transformed into a rockin’ garage style studio. Sweet custom bikes, beer, food, hot girls and guys all joined together in celebration of one thing, the love of the chopper.
Coordinators Sean Yontz and Lucas Creamer wanted to have more of a chopper party than a typical art show, so they told all their friends to build their own and ride it in. “Come, hang out, have fun and meet others doing cool shit,” they said. The only rule they gave is, “No prizes. Every chopper is f*&king cool and original.” They invited several motorcycle-loving artists, such as internationally recognized photographer Curt Lout, to come display their photography and artwork alongside the custom rides.
Love Thy Chopper was born, and Yontz and Creamer got the up-and-coming Denver-based band, No One Wins, and one of Denver’s best punk bands, Love Me Destroyer, to set the mood. The screaming, hard rock and upbeat rhythms kept the friendly crowd full of hungry fans of all ages, rollergirls, tattooed men and women, rockabillies and bulldogs entertained and jamming out all night long. The party was accompanied by tons of custom bikes, several of which were painted and airbrushed by Mick “Rev!” Mulder of Kustomixt Kreations, and live pinstriping done by Art Institute of Colorado student Devin, the “One Shot Slinger.”
Zombie and skull sculptures by Patrick Simmons of Simpatico Art Studio hung on the walls above shovelheads and custom choppers with stretched-out front forks. Paintings, sketches and drawings by the Art of Chop and photos by Curt Lout and Jacob Ware were some of the main attractions inside the studio. Each artist had a different take on the same subjects – beautiful bikes, sometimes accompanied by beautiful women. Tight shots of engines and belt drives were framed in sandblasted chrome and displayed on the painted brick and concrete walls. Gorgeous wood-framed paintings and lively ink cartoon drawings mixed in as well, each professionally and artistically done. Outside, over 20 bikes were on display, and all were ridden – not trailered – into the show. There was even a small chopper with a rider of about ten years old taking it for a spin, with his dad close by of course.
Some of the photographs Ware put on display were from the El Diablo run in Mexico, which he was psyched to be able to ride. “I usually do weddings and portraits, but I’ve been riding since I was 16 and had a Harley since I was 18, and was just always taking photographs.” He worked for a number of news outlets including The Associated Press, The St. Louis Post Dispatch and The Aspen Times, and now he has his own company, Concept Photography Inc.
Shooting bikes for covers and feature stories for several magazines keeps Lout busy, but he took time away from all his fans at the Love Thy Chopper show to tell Cycle Source a bit about how he got started taking photos of bikes. “My first assignment was for IronWorks and [editor] Dain’s first question to me was ‘what do you ride?'” Lout remembered. He’s been riding for seven years, and after that first assignment, his portfolio grew and grew. Now he said, “I shoot for Cycle Source, Street Chopper, Hot Bike, American Iron and more. Every different bike goes with a different magazine.”
Four years after first getting published, Lout started focusing on the business aspect of the industry and started his own Studio 9000 on Santa Fe and Evans in Denver. “I share space with a motorcycle shop, so I just started getting into shooting a lot of hot rods and cars getting fixed,” Lout said. That led to more photo opportunities. “I shoot tattoo stuff for Savage and also for the Girls of Bikernet. Whatever helps me keep my knees in the breeze,” the fun-loving entrepreneur said.
Close-ups of custom pieces, alluring women and fancy paint jobs are just a few things one might see at a showing of Lout’s work, which are popping up with increasing frequency. “I like to connect with the industry so people see my stuff more and more,” Lout said. He’s got a true love for what he does and finds something unique and new to showcase in each project. “My favorite part of my job is that I get to show a view of motorcycles that most people normally wouldn’t spend the time to look at in a show or a bar. I use different angles, and I like to shoot the handmade parts that go unnoticed.”
More than just taking pictures of bikes, Lout has also begun building them. “I just built a rigid shovelhead last year, but it runs like shit,” he said. Here’s hoping he sticks to what he’s good at – the photos. Cycle Re-sources:
- Curt Lout www.studio9000.com.
- Jacob Ware www.concept-photography.com
- Patrick Simmons www.SimPaticoArtStudio.com
- Mick Mulder www.kustomixtkreations.com
- Art of Chop www.artofchop.com