One of the coolest things about having friends who are multi-talented artists is that, occasionally, you get some REALLY awesome presents. I've been the lucky recipient of some wonderful pieces of original sculpture over the years, done with Sculpey (the oven-bake clay), by artists including Kevin Eastman, Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, Steve Lavigne, and Ryan Brown. I thought you might like to see some of them.
First up is one of my favorites. This is a portrait of me by Jim Lawson. Back in the 1990's, Jim and I, and a few other guys, would regularly go for trail rides on our off-road motorcycles on a roughly six mile woods loop near my house. It was a great place to ride, with all kinds of terrain -- washed out gullies, rocks, mud holes, huge puddles, stream crossings, logs, etc..
For some reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to upgrade from my trusty four-stroke Honda XR200 to a two-stroke Honda CR250. (It might have had something to do with the fact that the riding we were doing was rapidly wearing out the drum brakes on the XR200, and the CR250 had long-lasting, powerful disc brakes.) The two bikes could not have been more different. The XR was a mild-mannered, docile trail bike with a low seat height. The CR was an actual off-road racing machine, with a VERY powerful motor (even with the modifications I had done to it to make it more "trail friendly"), long-travel suspension, and a high seat. The thing flat-out RIPPED. It was really way too much motorcycle for my skill level, and I only rode it for a couple of years. But I must confess I had a lot of fun even within MY limited skill envelope, as that CR would respond instantly to a twist of the throttle and take off like a rocket. Wheelies on that bike were a simple matter of "Twist Throttle Hard".
In this sculpture, Jim captured me and the CR perfectly in his inimitable style. I love the paint job, with the well-placed paint spatter perfectly illustrating the way we would look after a ride, splashed with mud and dirt. And the pose of my body reflects the exhausted-but-happy state I was usually in after a ride. Jim also got my riding gear correct, right down to the motocross boots and the red chest protector.
Jim even added a poem, almost a haiku, to the base of the sculpture. It reads:
"A wooded path
To Eden led
The red CR
Will roost and shred."
("Roost" and "shred" were -- and still are, I guess -- common terms you would see in the motorcycle mags when they would review a dirt bike. They refer to the stuff that the rear tire would throw up under hard acceleration -- dirt, mud, water, stones -- and the way such hard acceleration would literally carve up the terrain over time.)
It's one of the best presents I've ever gotten, and I still love looking at it. Thanks Jim! -- PL