WRITER Al Clark
Every great artist knows that truly special ink requires a precise blend of planning, design, aesthetics and character. In the world of custom motorcycle fabricators, those characteristics are also of paramount importance to create powerful machines with enough attitude and edge to satisfy the riders who mount them. Dave Perewitz understands both of these dynamics as one of the most sought after cycle fabricators in the country who also sports a canvas of tattoos that inspire his work and family on a daily basis. Through his work with Allstate and its Once is Never Enough program to encourage everyone on the road to look twice for bikes on the road we caught up with Perewitz to talk about the intersection between tattoos and bike building
Inked: As an iconic motorcycle designer, we know you’ve seen your fair share of ink. What’s the coolest tattoo you’ve ever seen?
Perewitz: I’ve seen a lot of wild tattoos, but the coolest might be a guy I know that had his eyelids tatted up with eyeballs, so when he closed his eyes it looked like they were open. It was pretty wild, but he has fun with it and that’s what really matters.
Inked: And how about yourself? We hear you’ve had work done by some of the greats—Don Nolan, Julie Moon, Tattoo Wayne—what’s your favorite art and why?
Perewitz: My favorite piece is one Don Nolan is currently doing on my left leg. It’s a Japanese tattoo with a coy fish that will eventually wrap around my entire leg. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while now. We’ve done about four sittings, but it will be a couple more years until it’s completely finished—being dedicated to art like that makes it all the more special.
Inked: This has become a bit of a family affair for you, right? Tell us how ink has provided an opportunity for you and your daughter to bond and how that came about.
Perewitz: It has definitely become a family affair for my daughter Jody and I. She grew up around (Don) Nolan who has been a very close friend of mine for the last 20 years. When Jody was old enough to get a tattoo, she was anxious. I remember the first time we were in Nolan’s studio together, she was getting her foot tattooed and she kept squeezing my hand harder and harder. Looking back on it, that really was a special moment for us.
Inked: Well, you’re definitely an artist yourself after designing bikes for everyone from Hulk Hogan to Aerosmith to Tony Stewart. What are the similarities between the art on your body and the art on your bikes? Does one ever inspire the other?
Perewitz: Absolutely—some of the artwork that we’ve done on motorcycles over the past year or two has actually been tattoo art. When you look at it, you immediately recognize it as art from the tattoo world. People can really relate to it because tattoos have become so mainstream. I imagine we’ll continue using tattoo art as long as it there’s a demand for it.