Grace Roselli

©Grace Roselli

Imagine you’re scrolling through Instagram, casually checking out where all your favorite moto babes rode to that weekend, and you are stopped dead in your tracks by something so incredible that you’ve never seen it before and all you want to do is see more of it. That is how I discovered Grace Roselli, her art, and The Naked Bike Project that connected with me so immediately and naturally that I have been drawn to it ever since. Read on to learn more about Grace and her mind-blowing art.

 

© Grace Roselli

What do you ride?

A  Ducati Hyperstrada

What is your next motorcycle going to be and why?

I’m loving the Duc right now, i wouldn’t turn down a hovercraft.

Why did you start riding?

Motorcycles were a step up from roller-skates.

What were you most afraid of when you started riding?

I think I was most afraid of the fear of actually riding. I didn’t want to give myself a head trip every time I got on the bike.

Use 1 word to describe how you feel when you ride.

Conscious

What is one of your favorite rides and where do you like to stop along the way?

I don’t really have a particular favorite, but I prefer the longer rides into beautiful places.

Do you have a special playlist for road trips? Who’s on it?

if I listen to anything, it’s usually audio books: science fiction and fantasy.

What’s your favorite piece of gear right now?

My bluetooth Sena, when it works!

What gear or tool do you never leave home without when hitting the road on your bike?

Zipties and duct tape.

© Grace Roselli

What keeps you motivated, or what gives you the power to take your incredible ideas & passion and express them?

Motivation’s never really a problem for me-I absolutely love what I do— and am always pushing to make my artwork more powerful, as complex as possible with the simplest of means. However, I don’t always have a clear idea of what i’m trying to get at in a piece, and that becomes extremely frustrating.

For anyone considering learning to ride, what would you say to encourage them to finally go for it?

I generally don’t encourage or discourage, just be there.

Riding isn’t for everyone— I’ve had friends follow my example, and the reality of actually riding, like on the street, in traffic, controlling a machine 3, 4 times their body weight sinks in and they never ride again. It takes a particular blend of courage and crazy to stick with it.

What do you want to learn next (whether in relation to riding or otherwise)?

I need to learn to wrench, but I’d like to learn a form of martial arts, how to code and how to work with augmented reality. None of which I have time for at the moment!

What is one of your favorite motorcycle memories?

There are so many gorgeous ones- riding in the Alps, rounding a corner off Cape Breton seeming to drive into a big blue— but the most fun was probably having sex on the bike in the middle of the night in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Tell me about a series or project that really challenged you and why it did.

It will always be the project I’m either still working on, or just completed. If I’m not seriously challenging myself, and getting very frustrated at points- I’m probably wasting my time. So the actual challenge about about anything I make is the challenge itself— How to make a concept more powerful, elegant in means of execution and completely owning the idea presented.

© Grace Roselli

I was absolutely captivated by The Naked Bike Project and would love to hear about how creating those pieces made you feel and what they meant to you.

Naked Bike touches on so many issues that i’m interested in and involved with- I’ll keep the project going in some form—at least until it stops talking to me!

Motorcycles are traditionally associated with men, sexuality, rebellion, freedom and danger.  I’ve always felt that riding while female can be a performance, and created Naked Bike to address that.

Concepts of good/ evil, victim/ aggressor change through time, but are somehow always mediated over the territory of the female body. My artwork in general reimagines archetypes and stories that come out of that mediation and have followed women all the way into contemporary culture.

The Naked Bike Project begins when the ride ends and the woman walks into female. I’d ask the woman riders volunteering for the project what protects them, or not, after they shed their protective riding gear and the neutral space of the ride. Some responded, ‘My own body’, for others it was a fetish object, a lipstick, tattoos—responses as varied as the women themselves. The motorcycles portrayed cease to be mere moving vehicles but become an extension of  female agency. It’s curves echoing the form of the body, the motorcycle functions as a lover, a prop, a site for the expression of utter physicality.

Women riders and machine can be one—cyborgs rejecting the boundaries and social mores that separate human from machine.  In some pictures the women are covered in gear for the sport, but also can function here as armor, a mysterious shell, a hidden space. In others, that protective layer is gone. Naked, the women project what protects them, or not, as female.

Do you have a favorite random object that you use to create or make part of your subjects’ “costumes”?

Industrial materials-I shop for my costumes at Home Depot. I also use body paint whenever possible.

Has your creative process changed over the years?

I like to think it’s gotten way more focused, sharper, deeper- or maybe I’m just older and seeing the passage of time much too clearly.

© Grace Roselli

What excites you most about your upcoming shows?

This past spring I presented ‘Naked Bike’, along with Susana Rico’s tintype project, ‘Viragos’ in a working-female owned- motorcycle shop, MotorGrrl in Brooklyn, NY. Our event, “A Night of Motorcycles and Art”,  championed community, adventurous spirits, feminism, female owned small business, the growing numbers of women in the sport of motorcycling, and most of all, the coming together of the two very different worlds of biking and art.

MotorGrrl’s owner, Val Figarella and I will once again host “A Night of Motorcycles and Art”, with many new biker/artists In April of 2018.

 

You can see more of Grace Roselli on her website or follow her @gracerosellistudio!

xJW

Loryn of RIDEWELL

Photo by @brandon_lajoie

Meet Loryn! Some of you may know her as the creator of her super informative and highly relatable blog RIDEWELL; which she started to share how she views motorcycling: “as an incredible, fun way to experience life, that is also challenging, and requires dedication, maturity, and commitment.” Loryn wanted a lifestyle blog that is all motorcycling, all the time, but also incorporates aspects that aren’t regularly talked about (and we LOVE the way she talks about them!). Her stylings include “How I Learned to Ride,” “9 Ways Learning to Ride Changes Your Life,” and “Learning to Work on my Motorcycle.” Loryn is also the proud owner of The Little Rat, one of the most recognizable motos out on the road. Read on to learn more about The Little Rat and why we love Loryn so much!

 

For those who aren’t familiar with The Little Rat, do you want to talk a little about it and what you love most about it?

The Little Rat is my 1980 Kawasaki KZ440, which was rebuilt and designed by Sofi Tsingos of GT-Moto in 2015. The short story is that I bought the KZ when it was a piece of junk, and Sofi and her dad George rescued me and transformed it into the stunning piece of artwork it is today.

There are so many reasons I love this bike. I love that a badass female builder designed it for me, I love its size and the shape of the tank, I love its quirks and eccentricities, and I love that it’s an heirloom I’ll have for the rest of my life. Also, it has miraculously un-finicky carbs.

But the thing I love most is how it feels to ride: the loud exhaust, the pull of the engine, the crouched-forward riding position… newer bikes are great for reliability and speed, but they can’t quite match the visceral feeling of riding an old bike.

Photo by @ridewell

 

In your article “9 Ways Learning to Ride Changes Your Life,” I literally lol’d at this snippet from Way #6: “… yes, one motorcycle is cheaper than one car… but who only wants one motorcycle?” So…what is your next motorcycle going to be and why? 

Heh, funny you ask… I actually just purchased a new bike: a 2016 Yamaha FZ-07. Counting my ’82 XL250R that I’m rebuilding, I have three. Oops 😉

I love my KZ with all my heart, but I still have a lot of room to improve as a rider, and my fear of damaging The Rat was keeping me from pushing the limits and doing what I needed to do to learn. In short, to become a better rider, I needed a bike I didn’t care so much about 😉

After a year of research and deliberation, I chose the FZ-07 for its size, weight and comfortable riding position. I’m looking forward to conquering new challenges with this bike, and maybe even a track day or two!

 

Photo by @ridewell

In that same article, you mention in Way #4 how women’s dressier clothing can become obsolete if they decide to choose dressing for riding over dressing cute. What’s your favorite piece of gear right now and does it make you feel both ready to ride and cute? Has your idea of dressing cute changed at all because of your love for riding? 

My attitudes about fashion have changed quite a bit since I started riding. I used to go in for a lot of fast fashion, always looking for something new for newness’s sake. But since I started riding, I now value clothing that is well made, functional, and classically styled – as in, not necessarily “trendy” fashions, but ones I’ll want to wear for a long time.

As for my favorite piece of gear, I think I’d have to say my Knox Covert gloves. I bought these gloves more than two years ago, and they hit all my criteria: they’re functional and have the protection I require for my hands, they have low-key styling that fits with my vintage ride, and they’re well made – after two years of almost daily wear they’re still going strong!

 

Why did you start riding?

Like many women, it started with my boyfriend. He had always wanted to ride, and at first I really resisted it. I had only ever seen motorcycles as a risk – and an unnecessary one, at that. Highways were dangerous enough, why would you want to put yourself out there with nothing between you and the concrete but a bit of foam?

Eventually, he asked if I wanted to take the motorcycle safety course with him, and I agreed. I figured that if I didn’t like it, I would never have to put my butt on a bike ever again, but at the very least it might help me understand why he wanted to do it. Of course, I ended up loving it 😉

 

What were you most afraid of when you started riding? 

I tend to get overwhelmed easily by motion that feels uncontrollable – I still can’t ice skate properly – so the new feeling of moving quickly over the asphalt combined with learning the controls and balancing a heavy two-wheeled vehicle was too much for my me at first.

On top of that, my MSF course was cut short by an freak November ice storm (that’s early for Texas!), so I didn’t have as much practice time as I had hoped. After the course, I wrestled for months with my desire to ride, my fear of making a large financial commitment, and my fear of overwhelm.

Eventually, I discovered a compromise: a 2012 Piaggio Fly. It was lighter and less expensive than a motorcycle, and it allowed me to get used to riding and balancing on two wheels without the added stress of shifting gears. For anyone who is struggling with the early stages of learning to ride, I highly recommend getting a scooter.

I rode my Fly for about a year and a half, and that’s when I decided it was time to upgrade to a motorcycle. After months of searching on Craigslist, I found and fell in love with The Little Rat at first sight 😉

 

What gear or tool do you never leave home without when hitting the road on your moto? 

When I’m on my KZ, I always bring a small portable jumpstarter. The charging systems on these bikes are notoriously weak, and my headlight can run the battery down pretty quickly, so the jumpstarter is just good planning. I also keep a tire gauge, Leatherman multitool, screwdriver, and metric allen wrenches in my backpack, although to be honest I rarely need them 😉

As far as gear goes, I always wear (at minimum): my full-face helmet, an abrasion-resistant jacket with full armor & back protector, gloves with a hard palm slider and knuckle protectors, and either specific CE-rated motorcycle shoes, or at the very least boots with a rigid sole. Also, if they’re not dirty, I’ll wear my Worse for Wear riding jeans ☺

Photo by @brandon_lajoie

 

I’m in love with your Moto Role Model blog. What did/do you enjoy most about talking to all those incredible moto ladies? 

Thank you! It’s so inspiring to talk with women who have turned their ideas into reality. I always get overwhelmed by the magnitude of things I’d like to do – how long it will take, how much it will cost, the skills I’ll have to learn, and so on. Talking to these women, listening to their stories and their struggles, reminds me that dreams can come true – with persistence, planning, and good hard work.

 

What keeps you motivated?

Hands down, it’s the community. I like to think that I’d still be writing RIDEWELL even if nobody read it, but if I’m honest with myself I think it would have fizzled out a long time ago if it hadn’t been for the connections I’ve made with readers all around the world. Talking to other riders, getting their support and feedback, and working through difficult topics together makes it all worthwhile.

 

Photo by @bradholt

When working on your bikes, what do you like doing the most and what was the most challenging to learn?

I like… completing projects! Hahah. My proudest moment was when I repaired my KZ’s starter myself. Watching it spin on its own for the first time in months was immensely fulfilling.

As far as challenges go, I’d have to say the hardest thing is staying motivated enough to see a project through. Right now my XL rebuild project is kind of in a slump – the exciting teardown process is long past, and I’m just doing a lot of cleaning, researching, and waiting on powdercoating.

But, I’m starting to get to the point where I can see the finished project in my mind, and so I just have to keep reminding myself that every hour I spend on it now, I’m an hour closer to making that vision a reality.

 

What do you want to learn next (whether in relation to riding or otherwise)?

Welding! I took a community college class in basic metalworking last spring, and I quickly grew addicted to sticking two bits of metal together. I have so many ideas for things I’d like to make, so I’m hoping I can get a small MIG welder to play with at home. Unfortunately, my garage is small and now houses four bikes (mine plus my boyfriend’s). But hopefully I can figure something out!

 

To read more about Loryn of RIDEWELL, check out her website, follow her @RIDEWELL, and sign up for her emails

xJW