The Shooter: The Concept for The Shooter came to my brother while playing pool in a friends garage. This friend kept complaining about folks drinking or knocking over his beer, and besides that, he would lose track of which beer was his. He also complained about losing track of his pool stick, chalk, and ball rack. When a friend sat on his cool old cowboy hat, he just about lost it. So we made him Shooter. Our friend is an old biker who actually looks like Shooter, but about 5 times as big. Shooter is approx. 5' 3" and weighs about 100 lbs. He provides a place to put a pool stick, hold your beer and chalk. The chalk is connected to the Harley Sportster gas tank cap by a cable and retracts when not in use. The ball rack holder is a old Harley seat spring. Shooter rotates and has a cone powder holder on has back when needed. Last but not least, you can put a hat on shooters head to protect it. We had a hard time giving up Shooter ... We found ourselves talking to him while he was in our shop ... he never talked back or complained ... and we could always find my beer. He’s a big hit, not only at pool games and barbeque’s, but he’ll be there for you when you simply need someone to talk to.
The Broken Heart: The Broken Heart was one of our first ideas for using Harley tanks as an artistic expression. It all began when my brother had to sell his first Harley (a 1942 Knucklehead). This broke his heart and he quickly went down hill after that. Coincidently, he started to have heart problems after awhile and took to creating metal sculpture to communicate his pain and show the sometimes lighter side of it all. His Cardiologist turned out to be an old closet biker. When he related his heart breaking story to him and a desire to create something unique to convey his feelings, he guided him along making sure the heart was as anatomically correct as possible. We call this piece Harley Running for the following reasons:
- The Heart is broken.
- The Heart is shot through from the back.
- The Heart is stabbed in the Back.
- The Heart has plugged arteries.
- The heart has multiple by-passes.
- The human heart has 4 valves, and so does this one. But they are burned. (I used Harley valves & springs to depict this).
- The heart has a hand crank pump.
- The Heart has a pop-off valve (to prevent blow out).
- The Heart has a pressure gauge (to monitor Blood PSI).
- The Heart has an RPM Meter to monitor pulse rate.
- The Heart runs off electrical current/impulses (this is a Stewart Warner gauge).
- The Heart has a kick starter (I need this every once in awhile).
- The Heart is made from a Red Tank /Black tank (black depicting the darker side of the heart).
- All parts are made in USA, which is the only reason the Heart is still Harley Running.
- The Heart has just a little spring left in it (I used a small Harley seat spring - but can use any size spring).
- The Heart has rusty pipes.
- The Heart has stainless steel aorta arteries extending from the gas tank filler holes.
The Heart depicted in the slide show is the original. It is 5' - '2" tall and weighs approximately 175 lbs. A close copy resides in our Cardiologist’s den. We also made one for an acquaintance who laid his first Harley down and completely totaled it. He salvaged the tanks, which were red to begin with, and asked us to make a broken heart for him. He told us the Heart reminded him of the anguish of losing not just his bike, but his wife too. While he was recovering in the hospital, his wife left him for his best friend. So he ordered the sculpture with the heart crack and a big Bowie knife embedded in the back (presumably because his wife and best friend stabbed him in the back). He said he didn’t need the bullet holes in the tank - he was “going to make a few of his own in someone else’s tank” ... We’ve been getting a lot of interest in this theme. Some of the stories are hard to believe, but we go along with them because on some levels we can relate … We used Harley tanks and parts that were dented, scratched or broken to keep in line with the theme.
The Predator: Once, while drinking some home made wine and watching the movie “Predator” over and over again, the idea of the Fishing Predator started to materialize. This guy was a lot of work. He stands about 5 feet tall, not including the fishing pole and spear, and weighs approximately 200 lbs. He is riding a boat impeller shaft that goes between his legs and is attached to a bronze propeller that is full of bullet holes. We acquired this prop from an old one-eyed fish poacher (admitted), who told us the holes came from a game wardens gun, shooting at him while he sped away with a boat full of fish. We wanted to believe him, but on closer examination noticed the bullet holes entered the prop from the front, not the back. The Predator is steering his craft with an old bronze boat wheel. The lure on the end of the pole line is a distraught little guy with his hat on backwards. We removed the treble hooks to prevent any children from getting hooked. This dude is scary! He has red and green running lights on the sides and a white one on the stern. We used old telephone insulators for the lights (hard to find in green and red), that are powered by a solar panel that has the size and look of a fish finder. These lights glow real nice on dark, foggy nights. His dread locks are made of stainless steel lathe scraps. We built this for a big game fisherman who went nuts when he saw it. He has him tucked back in the bushes of his back yard, glowing at night. On the way to delivering this bad boy, we stopped by the local bait shop to get a few more large treble hooks and the owner of the store tried to talk us out of him. He wanted to display it in his shop. Except for the solar panel and isolator lights, it is all steel ... the scuba tank body was used in 1950 by an old surfer dude in Hawaii. While this guy was diving, a huge shark, or other big fish brushed by him and scared him so bad he gave up scuba. Now, almost sixty years later, he donated his tanks to our Fishing Predator. This piece is for the discerning fisherman that has almost everything, or nothing.
Bonnie & Clyde: The inspiration for this piece came about 35 years ago. While flyfishing, my brother found two doors from a 1931 Ford Model A sitting in a field up in the Hat Creek area of California. For years, drive-by shooters had shot up the vehicle. Except for the bullet holes in the doors, they were in surprisingly good condition. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw them was Bonnie & Clyde. We took the doors home. We started and stopped this project for years, and then finally the whole thing came together. Clever art work like this sometimes is spontaneous and other times it take years of sleepless night and dreams to conjure something up. We made Bonnie first, with her famous shot gun pointing at you while she plays with her hair and smiles. Next came Clyde with a Tommy Gun staring at you and waving the peace sign. This piece looks great tucked way back in the yard and sounded by trees and scrubs. It stands 67" high and 29" wide. It weighs approx. 100 lbs. and is all steel construction. It has lasted 79 years to date and may last another 79. Wow! that would make it 158 years old.
Birdhouse Biker: These were fun to make. The Biker Birdhouses accommodate a lot of robins in our hood. We made the bird house’s out of left and right side Harley tank halves. We prefer to use dented and scratched tanks, though the birds never seem to notice. The tank is supported with a heavy duty, custom 1/4” steel bracket and a receiver to accept a pole up to 1" diameter. A 2” hole was cut into the side of the tank, and a bushing installed to keep the biker birds from cutting their feet. Below this opening is a Harley foot peg to allow perching. On the backside of the tank, an access hole was cut to provide a way to clean out the old nest material and give Peeping Tom Cats an observation window. On the top side, a clear, round skylight cover was installed in place of the gas tank fill hole. We have two of these in our yard and birds have nested in them for the past 5 years.
Captain Swiney: This is probably our most unusual piece. While shopping a flea market one day, my brother bought a Berkeley Police Department Harley tank from a former officer. The officer told him the department let him have the tank after he laid it down in the parking garage ... (the tank has a big dent on the side and lots of scratches). He asked if my brother was going to restore the tank. He thought for a few seconds and then told him he was going to use it to build a Harley dude with a hog or pig head, police hardware, and Harley forks for legs. He was just winging his response and hoped he didn’t offend the guy. The officer got all excited and said he was not offended at all and would like very much to see the work when done. With that said, we started collecting parts to make the Captain. This took quite awhile (almost 6 months). The project kept growing as we obtained parts and chatted with other motorcycle officers, always asking if they would be upset with the theme. They loved the idea and gave us a lot of input, like all the bullet holes in the back. Highlights: When you pull the left arm down (which is holding a .45 pistol), the shotgun tucked in the middle of the tank automatically springs up. The right hand is in a fixed, HALT position. The upper body rotates and is mounted on forks made from Harley rear springs. The Idea for the front wheel (unicycle cop}, came after Mike, from Walnut Creek Harley Davidson donated the wheel. The pursuit lights were harder to find, but a must in our vision of this guy. The rear license plate holder is a genuine police marker bracket and we added a tombstone tail light. The forks have foot pegs. We eventually intend to add a motion detector to to power up all the lights, and perhaps even a siren. Imagine this puppy going off in your backyard if a intruder unexpectedly dropped in. He would no doubt mess his pants in his hurry to leave. The applications are endless. We first built the head to look like a 40’s/50’s/60’s bike cop, with the old time billed hat that was in use before helmets became standard issue. But we also made a hog head with the current police crash helmet. Please do not take the position that this art piece is meant to show any disrespect for our police. The hog head has long been a Harley icon for the Harley Owner’s Group, NOTED BY THE ABBREVIATION (HOG). This work is meant to be whimsical. Our Police have one of the toughest and risky jobs imaginable. This sculpture is heavy, approximately 200+ .lbs., and stands 5’ 6” high at the top of his hat.