By Nicki Kasper
The Southern Oregon Custom Classic art show I put on at Off The Map NW a couple of weeks ago turned out to be pretty cool… It was the biggest event I’ve organized, and I was pretty nervous for it. I had five artists and nine bike builders involved. When I do something, I do it to the best of my ability. I give my all, and leave no detail to chance. I was afraid of letting the artists and builders down. I was being trusted with something pretty big. Not only organizing the event, but the bikes specifically. I was picking up bikes for days. Not just bikes… Show pieces. I was humbled by the faith these bike builders had in me to take care of their prized possessions. I desperately wanted to make them all proud to be a part of it…
The gallery looked amazing. I ended up with 27 custom bikes, and the walls were full of bike themed paintings by Jeff Gogué, Christopher Gay, Mark Hannah and Canyon Webb. Tom Strom sent us five custom bicycle helmets that were sculpted and painted for the show as well. It looked perfect.
We had food catered by Fulcrum Dining, and my friends at Ninkasi Brewing not only donated a keg to me for the show, they also showed up with their mobile beer lounge and stayed for the event to represent their brand, and help us drink the keg!
The work that led up to the show was almost the easy part… time consuming, and stressful – yes. But the real test was at show time. Would people actually show up? Would they enjoy the show, or was it dumb? Would they have a good time? Was it all for nothing?
To my surprise, the place was PACKED. There were at least 250 people at the show, and the really cool part was that every single bike builder showed up to support the show. Most of them had to travel to see it, and because of that, I didn’t expect them to come. Mark Hannah and Christopher Gay also traveled from out-of-state for the show. I’m an observer of people, so I was very in tune as I mingled with guests with what was going on around me… who was there? Who were they interacting with? Were they interested in the art and the bikes? Were they having fun? Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they drank and told stories, as they asked the builders about their bikes, and stared at paintings… seeing them laugh… that’s when I knew it was a success. And then, as the night was winding down, and the builders and artists started to leave, they each came up to me to personally thank me and tell me I did a great job. I left feeling very proud of it, and with a better understanding of what I’m capable of.
I’d like to thank:
- Jeff Gogué of Off The Map for hosting the show, providing paintings, and helping me promote it.
- Christopher Gay of ArtCore Studios in Seattle, WA for not only providing art, but for making the trip down and bringing friends. I had a great time hanging out with you guys over the weekend!
- Canyon Webb of Off The Map for providing art and helping me unload my car many, many times!
- Tom Strom of Uptown Tattoo in Minneapolis, MN for sculpting and painting some amazing helmets for the show last-minute. I appreciate you doing that!
- Nic LeBrun of Off the Map for helping me promote the show, carrying the heavy ass keg in for me, and cleaning up the huge mess the next day. You’re amazing!
- Haley Gogué of Off The Map for helping me hang the show. You rule.
- Fulcrum Dining for helping me make it amazing.
- Ninkasi Brewing for donating the keg, and being there to support the show.
- Ryan Wiebusch of ArtCore Studios in Seattle, WA for being awesome.
I’d also like to thank the follow people:
Mark Hannah of Thiefit for not only giving me six custom bikes to display, but also doing a painting for the show.
As well as two amazing hobby builders, Jason Puls, and Jason Stupe, both of Medford, OR. Without all of you, none of this could have happened. Thank you! We’re already thinking about next year’s event and how we can make it bigger and better!
Until then… Cheers!