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The Art Of Harley-Davidson


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"Thunder On A Wall" by Fritz

I recently had the opportunity to roll in to Rancho Santa Fe, California and witness the unveiling of Scott Jacobs latest painting, "Photo Finish". All three champions depicted in the painting, Chris Carr, Scott Parker and Jay Springsteen knelt down for a photo opportunity in the setting California sun in front of Scott's latest masterpiece. The crowd of media representatives was dazzled by his precise workmanship once more.

jacobs signing

That did it. I felt that I needed to share with the brothers and sisters of Bikernet the history of Segal Fine Art and the motorcycling eye-candy that accompanies it. The story is one of a passion for Harleys that comes alive in so many creative forms. Perhaps I can simply give you a taste of some of the aspects of this wonderful history in words, like a man separated from his woman for a long period, the sensation he has when he first touches the delicate fuzz on her forearm and feels the comforting sensation rush through him. A custom bike or the art that represents it can afford me that rush.

south of clever

South Of Clever" by Fritz

Ron started this business in 1984 representing two talented artists Ting Shao Quan and Marco Sassone. By the early '90s Ron had acquired 60 employees and established Segal Fine Art and Gregory Editions. When I asked Greg Segal, Ron's son, the ingredient to Ron's success he said, "He is a very good businessman and he treats people fairly." The business consisted of representing these art talents, selling their originals and determining which art pieces would be good material for limited edition prints or lithos.

Ron was riding an eye-candy wave that began in his Woodland Hills, CA garage, but the professional art world wiped out in the '90s. Segal split off from Gregory Editions and began to ride out the poor economic conditions.


"Bob Wire" by Tom Fritz

In 1993, Scott Jacobs owned an art gallery and was a Segal customer. His representative was Ron Copple who visited Scott from time to time. Scott owned a Fatboy and had been a dirt bike competitor since he was a kid. Scott painted portraits of famous people, when Ron suggested that he paint his passion, motorcycles. He did and his second piece was "Live To Ride" which the Segal group decided to print. They hit on the road and went to Sturgis where they set up a 10 by 10 booth on Main and woke up to a 9:00 a.m. opening, working the booth until midnight. Amongst their visitors were a few H-D execs who were moved by Scott's abilities and the Segal presentation. That helped open a door at the factory that had never been ajar in the past. Scott became the first Harley-Davidson licensed artist.


"FatBoy 2000" by Jacobs

An evolution began to take place throughout the dealer network. In the beginning, dealers did not purchase the prints for sale, but generally to decorate their dealerships. The Segal group began a training process to teach dealers how to sell prints of limited edition, fine motorcycle art. It wasn't until '99 that 400 dealers carried their art. There are 85 pieces currently available, some dealers carry a stock of 30 or more and some buy every new piece that becomes available. As your eyes wander through some of these works you'll understand why some dealers want at least one fine example of each creation. They currently have three motorcycle artists creating masterworks of Harley-Davidson related art. In a standard edition they print 100 small sized prints, 150 medium sized prints, 100 large and an additional 100 deluxe prints on canvas.


"Jivin' About Dreams" by Fritz

You can imagine that with each creation comes a certain amount of notoriety. The launching of each piece is tantamount to having a child or building a new bike and having it recognized with a feature. I don't know if I can explain accept by example. If a dealer annies up to buy a particular package of prints, a representative of Segal and one of their three artists will hop a flight out to the dealership for a special event. Recently, such an occasion took place at the Wild Boar H-D in Hudsonville, Michigan near Grand Rapids. Greg was impressed by a every day looking rider who entered the shop with his wife. They immediately fell in love with David Uhl's Enthusiast and without blinking plunked $2,550 for the 100th anniversary canvas. Before the night was over, they purchased another piece of art and an '03 two tone Heritage Springer. As it turned out the man has been fighting bone-marrow cancer for years. The treatments had rendered him too weak to handle certain situations on his bike. Instead of giving up on riding, he switched to a side car. Now his cancer is in remission and he feels strong enough to ride, thus the Springer. "That was a couple was everything that I love about this job in a nutshell. They were passionate about life, riding, the artwork and each other."

Fork it

"Fork It Over" by Jacobs

That same night another couple came into the dealership and the mister was moved by one of the pieces on display called "Catch of the Day". As a matter of fact, he must have stared at it for half an hour. Uncomfortable with spending the $700 plus for the piece he shrugged his shoulders and left the dealership. His wife snuck back in and dropped a credit card on the counter. Scott made a point to personalize the print, and later that evening the couple returned to the dealership. When he saw the "Sold" sign on his piece, he was crushed. Upon looking closer he noticed that the sign was actually an anniversary card from his wife. He was so moved by the inscription, the art and his wife's efforts that he and everyone around got a little emotional.

Another time Greg flew to Oaxaca, Mexico to celebrate a once in a life time HOG rally in the small mountain community. Each year the Mexican HOG Group travels to another city to celebrate the rally. The


"Ruby" by Uhl

Segal group shipped lithos and canvas prints unframed to the dealership. The locals framed each selection in the traditional bold, bright green and blood red frames. "The choice of the frames had nothing to do with bringing out subtle highlights in the image," Greg said cringing, "but the people loved them." Willie G. and Jeff Bleustein rode in the parade through town which drew people out of the hills who had never seen a Harley in the community that was home to Mayan ruins. "The response was an incredible experience. Everybody on a bike was treated like a celebrity." Greg said.


"Live To Ride" by Jacobs

As you will see, we have examples and biographies on each artist. This year is obviously special with the 100th anniversary and four fine art lithographs to represent this historic birthday. "Growing up around the art business, I got to know the stereotypical artist...high maintenance, egocentric, a little nuts," Greg said of the typical artists' mentality, "It is a priviledge to work with Tom, David and Scott, who don't fit the artist mold. Each one is good people, down to earth and a delight to work with."

For the 100th anniversary each piece was printed on 250 framed canvas presentations graced with the 100th logo--all of which have sold out. Still they printed 1200 lithos of each creation in one size. They are all triple matted and framed with a 100th anniversary logos and only available through Segal or your local dealership.

Segal Fine Arts is now housed in a 60,000 square foot building in Louisville, Colorado. Doug Komhyr of Van Gogh Again Editions handles all of their printing and happens to be their only tennant. They are located under the looming Continental Divide between Boulder, Colorado and Denver. Five dogs and two Harleys accompany the crew of 11 on a daily basis. While they make a living in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, it's representing motorcycle art that makes a grown man cry, others wish for the open road and women understand why we ride.


100 Years

Scott worked closely with Willie G. on project: Willie selected all bikes from the archives. Each bike has special significance in H-D's history. Scott used 000 brush (pencil point size) resulting in over 400 hrs. time spent on actual brush to canvas. Prospective is that all tank logos and tops of engines exposed for historical accuracy. Scott's most challenging work to date with detail so acute he even used Metallic inks on some of the tanks for visual accents. This work is considered a major accomplishment in the Photo-Realistic Style of fine art. Given the complexity of the detail of the bikes, this painting is the benchmark by which all other photo-realistic works will be judged. (Note: Years of the bikes from earliest; 1905, 1915, 1921, 1933, 1936, 1981, 2002.)

A Model Champion

Depiction is from H-D's archives; circa 1914. Scene shows first race bike, which had just won its maiden race. Important from this standpoint: Bike models that won races = bike models that sold well. Discussion around bike is by H-D execs and Press praising innovations of bike and talking about how to improve capabilities. Difficulty from a technical standpoint: Lighting on an indoor painting is crucial due to its refraction off the different objects in the room. Painting from a poor quality black and white photo presents no keys to the artist as to gradations of shadows or intensity of light. Notice that a subtle light embraces each of the subject's expressions constituting the character of the painting. The best part: "SEPARATE FROM THE PACK", the modern mantra of Today's rider can be traced back to 1914. Notice that every person is wearing a different style of hat; a commentary on individualism.

Great Doings

Tom's palette is rich with color and imagination. Depiction is a father and son at a board-track race. Strength and determination are the themes of this work. Lighting is key to the composition; Looking off into the sunset, feel the warmth as it is absorbed by the central subjects. Tom uses shadow to accentuate the rays of sunshine gleaming from the bike. This is a painting that could easily be over-explained so we'll summarize: Harleys, racing, lineage, patriotism, awesome painting, good job Tom!


Classic "Light and Shadow Painting"; main subjects (woman and bike) are enveloped in warm sunshine as the background serves more as a suggestion to the story. Colors dance in the shadows and disappear into atmospheric shapes. Out for a ride on a splendid day, she stops by the post-office and picks up the latest edition of ENTHUSIAST magazine. As she kicks back, the viewer is reminded of what it's all about: Sunshine and Harley-Davidsons. The issue is circa 1953 so we are at the mid-point of the centennial. As we begin to gravitate from the main subjects, the focus becomes the diminutive gas attendant cowering next to the pump wondering what to do now. Or maybe he's just admiring her from afar; we are simply left to wonder. All good art is just a window to our imaginations. Masterpiece of epic proportions; enough said.

Bios on the artists:

For those who are not familiar with this award-winning artist, it is easily seen that he is extremely passionate about his work. Tom has a particular style and brushstroke, which allows him to bring his subjects to life. The way he integrates intense colors and soft lines makes his images jump off the canvas.

His work can be found in many private and corporate collections around the world, including General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Pittsburgh Paint and Glass, and Petersen Publishing Company. In 1999, Fritz completed a four-painting commission for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, depicting their colorful history. The finished works were published in the 1998 Annual Report and were later reproduced as a highly successful limited-edition series of prints.

Tom draws much of his inspiration from his family. He shares a home with wife Molly and their two children, daughter Emily and son Wesley. Without their support and encouragement he could not jump on board the wild ride that an artist's life seems to dictate.

David Uhl is an artist's artist. His technique, realistic with an impressionistic flair, breathes fantastic life into even the most ordinary of subject matter. He is now among the select few officially licensed fine artists of Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

An avid rider since 1988, Uhl's passion finally coincided with his artistic talent. Upon viewing his work, Harley-Davidson allowed him into their guarded archives, to research vintage photos for his paintings. Captivated by Harley's extraordinary history, he has set out to memorialize the legacy. David Uhl's work reflects his ability to place himself into eras past and capture the prevailing pioneer spirit witnessed throughout Harley's rich history. Some day we will all be saying "I knew him when..."

Although Scott Jacobs drew pen-and-ink illustrations for his school newspaper, he actually began his career in art by purchasing a failing gallery at the age of nineteen. At twenty-one, Scott opened Reflections on Canvas Gallery in Westfield, N.J., a gallery that he turned into a stellar success. After receiving a set of paints from his wife for Christmas, Scott became passionate about painting. He now has a body of work that confirms the wisdom of that gift.

Scott merged his love of motorcycles with his tremendous abilities to become the first ever officially licensed Harley-Davidson artist. Scott's motorcycle work as been featured in VQ Magazine, American Iron, Art Business News, Easyriders Magazine, U.S. Art, Art World News, as well as a host of other publications. Jacobs is one of todays most sought after artists and his work sells throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Art from Ron Copple

Century Canvas Available From Segal

Just a quick note to say we have a few Phase I canvases available on Drae's 100th Anniversary artwork: "Century". Any customer with a 2003 Fatboy is a prime candidate for this very limited piece. It comes with 100th frame package; while they last.

--My best, Ron Copple 800-999-1297

For information on ordering, contact your local Harley-Davidson(R) Dealer or Segal Fine Art directly through their website: www.motorcycleart.com or at 800-999-1297.

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