Custom Heroes – Supported by Back Street Heroes
Regular readers will know that we hold our very own show-within-a-show at Birmingham’s Motorcycle Live, the UK’s biggest motorcycle show, with Custom Xtreme holding its own for not far short of the last twenty years.
For 2019, however, we’re doing something a little different, and not only having some of the very finest custom motorcycles in Christendom on display by the BSH stand, but we’ll also be playing host to a select few craftsmen who ply their trade in the world of customised motorcycles. For this, we have a new title for the segment of the show – Custom Heroes. The name encompasses not only the folk who build their own, stunning custom bikes, but also those who help with the process, facilitating specific techniques and talents that so many of us will never, ever be able to even contemplate undertaking.
With this in mind, not only will there be the winners of this year’s Back Street Heroes Custom Bike Championship (the dates for which are on page 84-85), plus a varied selection of some of this year’s very best custom bikes, but there’ll also be the new addition of a specific demonstration area within the display for our four invited artists, who will each be displaying their talents on different days of the show.
We’ll be introducing you to the artists in question over the next four issues and, this month, we’ll start off with the person who’ll be responsible for the backdrop to the display area, which you’ll be in with a chance to win after the show has finished!
Joeby’s Airbrush Art
Aside from the physical creation of the parts required for a custom machine, a great part of customising is in the final finish – whether that be highly polished or anodised aluminium, chromed steel or, of course, the vastly-variable world of custom paint, the final look of a bike is dependent on the finish.
Of course, this applies to every single form of motorcycle, and not just custom bikes, although those folk involved in painting motorcycles get to cover a huge variety of machinery – from race replicas to classic restorations to full-on psychedelic custom jobs with every single creative product and technique known to mankind thrown in – metalflake, gold leaf, true flames, pearls, candies, realistic, characatures, and everything else.
In this respect, Steve Slight, known to all and sundry as Joeby, is certainly no exception, and it could be said that he covers a greater variety of styles and finishes that most airbrush artists, as a quick look at his portfolio will show.
While he runs the eponymous Joeby’s Airbrush Art, Steve actually started painting his friends’ helmets back in 1974, when he was just a teenager, with much of his inspiration coming from the at of the late, great David Mann, as well as having a long-term fascination with British fairground art. Today the shop is run with the help of his wife Helen, located amidst the beautiful Somerset levels, in the historic and stunning city of Wells.
Being based where he is, there’s little surprise that Joeby caught the attention of one Larry Hougton of Lamb Engineering, with the result being that many of Larry’s show-winning machines were painted by Joeby – the Spirit of Endeavor JAP vee twin, Norton café racer, Circus of Speed Bonneville and the bonkers little nitrous-huffing Road Runner Honda. And you’ll also have seen Joeby’s work on a significant number of NCC bikes as well, thanks to Joeby initially paining a bike for his mate Jerry, an NCC member whose only instruction was to “Do what you like, as long as it’s not pink!”. As you’ll see from the pics hereabouts, Joeby’s work is not only of a standard that is amongst those at the very top of the world’s stage, but is also incredibly varied, and you’ll be able to see this quality, and variety, in person as Joeby takes centre stage at Custom Heroes in November.