When it comes to tattooing, one wouldn’t think of doing it to a motorcycle, but the talented Game Over Cycles did just that!
Photography by Tomasz Pulsakowski
Model is Kinga Majchrowska
Words by Tony Matthews & Game Over Cycles
Just sit back and take this incredible creative project in for a few moments. It’s a custom motorcycle which has been tattooed! Yes, tattooed! How crazy is that hey! Well we have major respect for the guys over at Game Over Cycles, especially after we featured their mind-blowing Behemoth project, which if you missed it, you can check it out here.
The project has been named “The Recidivist” and is a machine inspired by the art of permanent body adornment. Motorbikes are commonly adorned with tattoo motifs using an airbrush, however the uniqueness of The Recidivist lies in the fact that the bike’s entire construction is covered in tattooed skin branded directly onto the bike’s tires, tanks, seat, rear fender, lamp and many other smaller elements.
Light colored cow hide leather – similar to the color of human skin – is engineered onto the bike. Artists from Polish tattoo studios applied traditional works of tattoo art onto the bike using. All of that makes The Recidivist world’s first tattooed motorycle. The worlds of motorbikes and tattooes have long been kindred spirits. The theme of the The Recidivist relates to this traditional relationship.
In the USA, bikers used to tattoo for personal reasons – to express their character and lifestyle – as well as their social attitude. The Recidivist as an artistic vision references those traditions and through its construction and decorations presents a story of a man with strong character – a person, who values individuality, personal expression and sense of freedom.
References to the traditions are expressed not only in bike’s theme, but also in its construction. The motorcycle’s construction include elements that draw from the look of tattoo machines. All of these parts are fully operational elements of bike’s construction, and the mechanisms of these elements operate in the same way as they do in the original tattoo machines:
– bike’s front suspension has the look of a traditional coil tattoo machine
– the exhaust pipe looks exactly like a modern tattoo machine, including the tattooing needles which when you start the bike, move exactly as they do when the tattoo machine applies ink under skin
Further more, the machine’s design is based on a number of technical solutions drawing from the turbulent lifestyles of post-war bikers.
– the lever starting the bike has a shape of a bomb detonator lever.
– the rear light indicators look like brass knuckle-dusters
– front wheel caliper brakes have the appearance of handcuffs
– front clutch and brake handles are formed in the shape of “butterfly” knives
– the break pump lever is shaped in the form of a section sign.
The Recidivist’s sidecar was created in 2017 and will have its world premiere at the Sturgis 2017 rally. The sidecar is fully tattooed, both outside and inside. Sidecar tattoos relate to motifs present on the bike, but as it is with tattoos on a human body, with time they change together with the person they are tattooed on.
Given elements get bigger, change colors, shapes and meanings. That is why on the sidecar there are tattoos paralleled with the ones on the motorcycle, such as the Themis or handcuffs, but it also includes new motifs in the form of relations to the abstract art of H.R. Giger and Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, as well as inspirations taken form the real life, such as selected images from the history of Harley-Davidson company.
Construction of the motorcycle and sidecar took 3000 hours. Tattooing of the bike and sidecar took over 2500 hours.
Watch the full documentary on the build below,