Motorcycles. Means of transport or rolling works of art? Auction house Bonhams will aim to prove that they can be both when three bikes customised by multimedia street artist Dean Stockton, aka D*Face, cross the block at the Modern & Contemporary sale at its New Bond Street address in London on Tuesday December 17.
The 41-year-old Londoner, who worked in advertising until gaining recognition as an artist during the early 2000s, is best known for creating brightly coloured urban images crafted from graffiti, stickers and posters that have appeared in cities around the world.
Although influenced by the punk and skateboard culture of his youth, D*Face is also a lifelong motorcyclist who has used his artistic talents to customise the trio of machines, which are modestly estimated to fetch up to £25,500 between them.
Working at his Shoreditch store Rebels Alliance, D*Face began with standard bikes that he stripped down and extensively reimagined. One of his early projects, completed in 2012 and named First Born, started life as a 1978 Honda CB550, which now takes the form of a classic-looking café racer style with a hand-beaten fuel tank, a leather-covered sports seat and a red, black and gold paint job. It is estimated to realise £10,000 to £15,000, while Spoiled Brat – a 1978 Yamaha SR500 tipped to sell for £5,000 to £7,000 – has been given the pared-down look of an American-style flat track machine, its slim lines, minimal appearance and punchy, single-cylinder engine making it ideal for use as a cool-looking urban runaround.
The final bike, estimated at £2,800 to £3,500, is based on a 1970s Honda CB125, a commuter machine ubiquitous the world over – but this one is unique. Called Green Terror, it has been fitted with a seemingly incongruous sports-style seat and race-style dropped handlebars and denuded of the practical, heavy chrome mudguards, prominent lights and direction indicators with which it left the factory. All three machines have been ridden by the artist, and are described by D*Face as being “rideable, functional sculpture with the ability to be rolling artworks, fit for the museum but also the road and track”.