29 November 2012

T.W.O. - Chicara Nagata's Art 1 Bike

Chicara Nagata is Japanese designer and artist renowned for his extraordinary line of 'Art' motorbikes, which are considered as stunning works of art in their own right. For the past 20 years, this Japanese artist has been dedicating his entire energy to the creation of these insanely detailed masterpieces.
But Nagata's ambition to design and build his own machines was almost ruined when he was involved in a near-fatal bike accident at the age of 16. Nagata spent 8 months in hospital fighting for his life. But thanks to the skill of the medical staff and multiple blood transfusions, he survived the terrible ordeal.

In 1992, at the age of 21, he launched his own design studio, Chicara Inc. and started creating Harley-based custom motorcycles a year later. In order to honour the machines that nearly took his life, he describes his art as an expression of gratefulness to the people who donated their blood and worked to save his life; his way to give something back.
In 2004, he took his passion one step further, elevating his work to what can be considered an art form. He started a series of unique pieces he now named Art bikes (I to IV) which garnered 6 consecutive awards at shows in Belgium, France, and Germany in succession before garnering global recognition at the AMD Championship of Bike Building (the most recognised custom bike award worldwide.) Chicara Nagata became the World Champion of Custom Bike design when he took the 1st place for Art 1 in 2006 and 2nd place the following year with Art 2, both in the freestyle class of the AMD.

If you picture Chicara as a bosozoku- a member of a rebel Japanese bike gang, hairy, tattooed, driving around with a bad boy style, you'll be wrong. Nagata is actually a peaceful and passionate artist who lives in Kyushu island, 18 hours away from Tokyo; his mindset seems to be one of a perfectionist, which shows in his creations.
Nagata's style uses the details of the vintage engines to figure out a look that matches, and then beautifully finishes and blends it with as many as 500 components he manufactures himself. He draws, crafts and assembles close to 500 components that he adds to a vintage engine. The amount of pieces and time spent on each machine gives a completely different dimension to the motorcycle. His obsession for detail is not surprising when you consider his graphic design roots; he spent nearly 3 years into the completion of Art 1, which is based around a 1939 Harley Davidson V-twin, in which he invested 7,500 hours of work.
The combination of a classic engine with his distinctively-styled frames, drive trains, steering components and suspension systems give rise to creations that could be described as retro-futuristic. Thinking about Chicara Nagata’s motorcycles as a simple mean of transportation is redundant; You could ride them on the road, but unfortunately, they're no longer road legal, adding to the art exhibit ethos of the bikes.
More in the rest of the Nagata Art bikes in due course.

Let's take a tour around the Art 1 bike; the level of detail really is staggering.

Man & Machine - Chicara Nagata with Art 1 at the M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva

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