You could hear it before you see it. Tucked away in the usually still laneways of Collingwood, lay the body-reverberating motorbike mecca – Oil Stained Brain.
The event was marked by a street-line-up of gleaming easy riders among a gathering of serious beards, impressive ink, rockabilly vibes and denim galore.
Falling in through the door, out of the darkness rose a cavernous workshop housing 30 of Australia’s most outstanding custom built motorbikes. Alongside our very own Levi’s® Tailor Shop, lay a smorgasbord of choppers, cafe racers, trackers, scooters, bobbers and land speed racers. Ones that could easily have been plucked from the set of Mad Max or Alien and even ones you could attach your skateboard to.
Think art, think engines, think collaboration – think creativity that happens to move at 100+ kilometres per hour. Each hand-picked bike has been painstakingly built in backyards and man-caves across the country or at Kustom Kommune, Australia’s first communal motorcycle workshop and venue for Oil Stained Brain’s third exhibition.
The masterminds behind the two-day event and founders of Kustom Kommune are Geoff ‘Richie’ Baldwin and Jimmy Goode.
Goode has his own prodigy racer: “This bike took me five weeks – a very quick build. It’s actually a new Harley Davidson that’s about to hit the market next year. It’s the first one in Australia. They gave it to me and said: ‘Do something cool and race bike inspired.’ I modelled it on a XR 750 70s Harley Davidson race bike. I used a lot of parts from different generation track bikes – so it’s a call to the past but with a modern twist.”
Goode also points out a bike that he considers the epitome of Kustom Kommune’s collaboration: “Harley Davidson donated the bike to the workshop and asked our community to build something with it. This bike has had about nine different sets of hands working on it. A lot of blood, sweat and tears! It was an incredible build, it went crazy online and has been featured in a number of magazines.”
Goode describes the Kommune workshop like a gym where people can use equipment and teach each other skills.
Kommune member Mike ‘Micro’, the tallest man in the room, shows us his custom built ‘shovelhead’ masterpiece, emblazoned Make Mischief, which took him two years to make. “It was designed to go fast. I built it to take to the Salts for land speed racing,”
Having made bikes for twenty years, Micro says: “Building is all about the people and relationships. You have to be able to get over every part of it. You can’t do that alone – that’s why you need the community to help you out.” Micro also says it is a joining of the left and right brain: “It’s about pulling together your engineering and artistic skills.”
One such artist is Karl Stehn, from KDS Designs who is responsible for a number of the custom artworks on the bikes on display. “I’m a commercial artist by trade, and been custom painting and air brushing for the past 15 years. The last five years I’ve been working specifically with bikes.”
Often working on very detailed hand painted work, Stehn says: “Sometimes the creative work is off the cuff.” He is enjoying the challenge and says: “It’s a great hub for people to meet and create.”
Amongst the line-up of creatives was our own talented tailor Anthony Wicks, who was offering free patches to be sewn onto jackets at Oil Stained Brain this year.
Wicks says: “We source our patches from the states, the vintage patches are a big draw card. People can spend a good half an hour trying to find patches they identify with. We also have the ability to create one-off flat-stitched pieces and event patches. People go crazy for them. It’s a great way for us to connect with our audience, it’s a natural fit and people really appreciate us being here.”
As always, it was a pleasure partnering with the guys from Kustom Kommune. To check out previous shows jump on the event’s site: https://oilstainedbrain.com.au/ or head to Kustom Kommune online: https://kustomkommune.com.au/