Chris Callen and His Band of Bikers with Easels
They pile into vans with their equipment and hit the road in search of the next show. They perform live in front of crowds. Venues request them for major events. This group, unofficially known as the Smoke and Mirrors Guild, take their craft seriously, pouring their heart into each stop on their tour. Through all the excitement, they scrape through their travels and get by on the day-to-day.
The Guild lives the rock star lifestyle as much as any band. However, they carry canvas and palettes instead of six-strings. They are artists- ones that have spent lives entrenched in the motorcycle industry and spirit. They extract it from themselves through painting, enamel, and other visual mixed media.
When Chris Callen, Seth Leibowitz and Darren McKeag start to paint anything, people watch. As I wandered the spectacle of Willie’s Tropical Tattoo at Daytona, there were many sights and smells of creativity. Alone, next to blaring speakers of blues band, Callen laid down his first layers of another tribute to our culture. The audience watching the guitar solo faced the audience of Callen’s paintbrush, like a flying-circus yin-yang. Even with ear-splitting commotion on all sides of us, the silent painting still demands attention of the crowd.