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Artist Interview: Jeremy Berger

We've been in contact with Jeremy Berger of Blaken Press for a couple of years now, we sold some of his screenprinted artwork and patches, and he designed our latest short sleeve, the Two-Tone T-shirt. To mark its recent release we interviewed Jeremy (that's him in the check shirt, with his flat track mad dad) about art and motorcycles, with a smattering of his artwork dotted throughout..

SIDEBURN: Where you from, where you at?

Jeremy Berger: California born and raised. Originally from Bakersfield, grew up in Fresno, and now live in Los Angeles. I Just turned 40 years young, have an amazing wife that I have been happily married to for five years. We have a 12-year-old wiener dog named Butters that helps keep everybody sane and is a beloved member of the family.

You were helping your dad sell some beautiful flat track bikes, what's your history with the sport?

Yeah, my dad has been racing and collecting flat track bikes on and off since the '70s. I got into the sport with him in the early '90s when I was about 13 years old. Flat track has been a hobby that I have enjoyed with my father most of my life.

Do you, or have you, raced?

Yes. I started racing pretty young all over California, mosty Bakersfield, Willow Springs and Tulare. Started out on a Honda XR100 that we made quite the lil flat tracker.. we put the 120 kit on it, had road racing rain tyres (which worked pretty well for the clay tracks I grew up on) a Supertrapp pipe and a Mikuni carb and was such a fun little bike, one I wish I still had. I raced different bikes and races all the way up to high school, when a supermoto accident forced me to finish my Junior year on independent study because I couldn’t sit in a school desk! Needless to say, my parents got pretty worried and I made a deal with them that I would trade my race bike for a 1967 Triumph Bonneville street bike. The deal seemed pretty sweet being that I just got my drivers license and at that age, that was all that seemed to matter! I later went to art school and focused on my education and just recently made a come back to racing and enjoy racing every once in a while with my dad.

Do you still own a bike?

I do, I have a 2005 Harley Sportster that I have made into a little hot rod and love riding to the Southern California beaches and canyons. I also have a 1968 Bultaco El Bandido flat tracker that was recently given to me by my dad. He raced it for many years and after a spine and neck surgery is stepping away from racing at the age of 66. Looking forward to keeping it on the short track!

What was the inspiration for the graphic style of the Two-Tone T-shirt artwork?

Printmaking and vintage motorcycle posters. I get a lot of my inspiration from printmaking aesthetic and I love the old Ascot-era motorcycle posters that were printed using letterpress and screen-print. In art school I took a huge love to printmaking. I loved the analog technology of the printing presses, the texture and imperfections. Maybe because I spent a lot of time in the garage as a kid, I loved working with my hands, getting dirty etc, it just seemed to fit my personality a lot better than sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer screen. I do work digitally as well, but find that the printmaking aesthetic informs my design process across most mediums.

What method and medium did you use to draw it?

This design was drawn digitally on the iPad. Nowadays its pretty standard for me to start a project on the iPad and then apply it to different applications whether it be a Lino-print, screen-print or T-shirt. It's just a very streamlined way of getting a design started and worked out.

What are your current three favourite songs?

I’ve been going back to classic country music lately… Buckaroo by Buck Owens (Bakersfield hometown hero); I’ve Always Been Crazy by Waylon Jennings; Making Believe by Kitty Wells

Favourite book?

Lord of the Rings

Favourite instagram feed?

I can’t get enough @jimhmadison and @Junktype right now.

Finish this sentence: A motorcycle is a freedom machine, but…

...Simultaneously a leg breaking machine that will have your respect.

Thanks Jeremy! Follow his work, and Bultaco build, at @blaken_press

Buy the limited edition Sideburn Two-Tone T-shirt


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