“Beach Run” photograph by Richard St. Clair– Meet the artist Richard St. Clair and see his collection of oil paintings in person at the New Hope, PA TSY shop Saturday June 17th 6-9PM. You’ll see 12 of his original oil paintings alongside his original photography.
“Beach Run” original 34″ x 34″ oil painting by the artist Richard St. Clair
When I first met Richard St. Clair at his home outside of Philadelphia I was immediately put at ease by his disarming demeanor and quick smile. Soon Dick was leading me to his studio where I was instantly absorbed in his paintings, the layers of mementos from years on the road, and all his incredible photos taken during his years of traveling the country. Seeing the photos behind the paintings in person made me appreciate the paintings more, as the authenticity and honesty in the photos are staring you in the eye.
Richard St. Clair on his 1961 Harley-Davidson Panhead, AKA Queenie. “The bike came to me in 1975 at the time my wife was expecting our first child. So we sort of had twins — one for the barn, one for the crib.” (Come meet Dick and see his work at TSY June 17th, 6-9pm.)
“If you don’t know Richard St. Clair– you don’t know Dick!“
The first time I tried-out this line on Dick St. Clair– he cackled with delight. Not one of those forced, polite laughs– this was like a kid facedown in birthday cake kinda laugh. You see, Dick to this day is simultaneously amused and annoyed that something as honest and simple as going by the name Dick (his given name, mind you) makes certain people uncomfortable. Some people will wince, others kindly ask if they can call him by another name. Yes. If “Dick” makes you uncomfortable, please call him– Biggus Dickus.
Now that we got that outta the way.. Seriously– You really don’t know dick about biker art if you’ve never experienced the works of Richard (Dick) St. Clair. Dick is the real deal– having spent a good many years logging countless miles on his Harley in the ’70s – ’90s riding cross-country to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Daytona Bike Week, Harley Rendezvous, and everywhere in between. He took photos that captured the life of free-wheelers, outlaws, and strays living life on their own terms. Many of these photographs gave birth to his epic paintings. There are many sides of Richard St. Clair to discover– he’s a storyteller, writer, photographer, and yes– one amazing fucking painter.
On June 17th, TSY presents “Live Cheap– Never Die” The Art of Richard St. Clair.
John Harman (and I believe, brothers Harry & Bill Holland) in the early days of H & H Cycle which was born from John Harman’s revolutionary design for an internally sprung girder that was not only easy on the eyes– the performance and quality far exceeded what was commonly found on the market at that time, setting a new standard that others tried to followed– but there really was no other like Harman.
Pulsating Paula tapped TSY with her eye-popping photographic archive of the New Jersey bike and tattoo crowd she shot back in the ’80s & ’90s. These images speak of authenticity, grit, and good times. Looking at these raw, honest shots what speaks to me is that life itself is f’ing good, if you have the nuts to truly go out and live it. It’s not the stuff. You need to show up, be authentic, truly appreciate family & friends, where you are and what you have. When you do that you realize you have all you need.
“Born in Jersey City. Moved to New Brunswick when I was 8. Got married to my first lay in 1973. 10 years later he bought me a camera, a Canon AE1. I still have it. Started taking photos of biker parties and tattoo events. Sent them into ‘Biker Lifestyle’ magazine who later Paisano publications took over. They came out with ‘Tattoo’ magazine first of it’s kind ever. Between the Biker and Tattoo magazines I had thousands of photos published. The 10 minute set up of my photography studio consisted of 2 flood lights that burnt the shit out of any poor person in front of them, and a 6×9 foot black cloth I got from Kmart that was tacked onto a wall. Never considered myself professional ever. I just loved doing it with every fiber in my body. I know the wonderful people I met and places I been in this journey will live on forever in my photographs. I’m so glad I was there with you.” ~Paula Reardon (aka Pulsating Paula)
“Hell’s Angels love to fistfight. There’s never a shortage of drunks or foolhardy motherfuckers willing to take us on, and a lot of times we’ll take on each other. Armond Bletcher stood 6″8″ and weighed 350 lbs. He was so strong he could pick up a couple motorcycles and put them on the back of a pickup truck. In the early ’70s Armond could bench 705 lbs., but he had to arch his back to do it. He was never in competition, but he took steroids and was unbelievably big.”
~Ralph “Sonny” Barger
Jesus-H-Christ this was a big ass dude. Depending on who’s telling it, Armond Bletcher was somewhere between 6′ 3″ – 6′ 8″, and tipped the scales around 300 – 350 lbs. A friend of the Fresno Hells Angels, and a feature favorite with the staff at Easyriders magazine, Armond was literally a giant among men and a controversial figure to this day. There are many colorful tales– It’s reported that as a doorman he got away with shooting a man to death, that he was a known hitman, also Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard, and that he took horse steroids to achieve and maintain his enoromous size.
Kind and patient persistence does pay off. Ann Simmons-Myers, the photographer behind these amazing images that follow, finally after 3 months agreed to allow TSY to publish her Biker series dating back from 1983-1985. It’s very close to her heart, understandably, and I’m so grateful to be able to share these with you now. Ann, thank you very much. And Corrina from LA, thank you as well. These images are just incredible glimpes of authentic “livin’ the life”, taken I believe in Tucson, Arizona– my hometown back in the ol’ school days.
From the archives of Nostalgia on Wheels comes this lil’ peek at Barred Outlaw Motorcycle magazine– a biker exploitation rag written not for riders, but for voyeurs looking for what makes those bad boys tick. Think of it as a primer for squares on bikers. There’s just enough laughable, inaccurate and hyperbolic writing that when they do actually mention the true 1%’er MC’s it kinda lacks any sting. Hell, they can’t even get the year right for when The Wild One (the Godfather of all biker exploitation flicks) was filmed… ca. 1960??? What I do love about the magazine is the use of images, the layouts, fonts, etc. It is pure gold for the design-minded among us. It’s kinda refreshing compared to all the stripped-down aesthetic out there right now.
BARRED OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE SPECIAL– ANGELS FROM HELL! Today’s rebels on wheels, living a legend of violence and excitement. Their love is hate…for everything and everyone– but each other!
In 1959, theChosen Few MC officially formed out in LA on the cusp of the chaotic ’60s. As they tell it —“The 60s was a hell of a time. With the Civil Rights Movement, The Viet Nam War, Flower Power & Free Love. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. Also the Crazy World of the Outlaw Bikers…When you talk of the Outlaw Bikers you automatically think of ‘Them Crazy White Boys’ doing what a lot of folk wish they could do. Live Life Like You Want & Fuck You And Your Rules. Well Guess What? There was some crazy Black bikers who felt the same way, and didn’t give a Fuck. Thus was born the Black Outlaw Bikers!”
Now there is a documentary film on the Chosen Few to be released that tells their story. Hearing these guys speak about their brotherhood and love of riding in the above trailer gave me chills. If you like what you see, like their page, follow them on twitter, leave a comment on their site— all that social media shit that says YES, GIVE IT TO ME! I WANT TO SEE IT!
‘Yosemite’ SamRadoff started customizing cars at the tender age of 12 yrs old– way before he was even old enough to drive! That was back in the mid ’50s, and he went by handle ‘Little Sam’ then. Some 45 years later Radoff is one of the most respected flamers (I love his ol’ crab claw flame jobs), pinstripers, and metal sculptors the kustom kulture scene has ever known. Dr.‘Yosemite’ Sam,PhD (Phlame Doctor) has also produced custom motorcycle and pinstriping shows across the country.