Following on from the best Sideburn photos of 2023, here are my choices of favourite art and illustration from the last 12 months. They're from the four issues we made this year: SB52-55. We have sold out of SB52, but our friends at Adventure Spec have stocks of all this year's issues in their UK, EU and US warehouses.
When choosing I try to pick artwork we have commissioned, but I usually break my own rules. Issue 52 was our first (and last) art and illustration special, but it was mostly filled with existing works we requested to use, not illustrations we commissioned.
If you ever bought anything from Sideburn you helped us support these artists in a small way.
Click these links for previous 'Best of' posts.
Thanks for your support over the years. Keep tuned for exciting Sideburn stuff in 2024.
1. Erik Gundersen by Ryan Quickfall
Sideburn 55 is a round-up of greatest stuff from Sideburn's wider orbit, while we were trying to not be too predictable. Hayden Roberts chose the Danish speedway rider, Erik Gundersen, who he idolised as a boy growing up in the English West Midlands. I knew I wanted Ryan 'Roadkill' Quickfall in the final quarterly issue of the mag and Ryan supplied this full-page action shot of 'Wunder Gunder' in action, with an industrial background.
2. Tokyo Connection FTR by Cheetah
This project cast a long and glorious shadow over Sideburn's year. This is the original concept sketch sent by Cheetah, long before he started cutting metal, and the finished FTR was incredibly close to the sketch, only the front fender didn't end up being made. Indian Motorcycle made the sketch into stickers, cap, T-shirts and a cool tote bag. The stylised 'I' on the tank was refined and also found it's way onto a range of collab merch we made with Indian Motorcycle. A dream project from start to finish.
See the last few bits of Indian x Sideburn x Cheetah merch we have in stock
See the finished FTR in Sideburn 54
3. Tommy Duma by Mark Ward
UK artist Mark Ward nailed it with this image of national level flat track racer turned jeweller, Tommy 'Thom' Duma for Sideburn 52. Bejewelled hot shoe and helmet, wheels made from the championship rings Duma makes for the AFT National Champions, plus a roost of precious gems. I love the Marvin the Martian style eyes on the prize too.
4. Herald Brute by Andy Garside
Sideburn's art editor, since issue 44, Andy Garside is also a talented illustrator, and created this self-portrait to accompany a Herald Brute 500 road test he wrote for Sideburn 52, the Art & Illustration Special. He's even wearing an almost stitch-perfect Hebtroco Pata Negra denim vest
5. Dirt Quake USA by EBoy
Eight years old, but included in the Greatest issue so it can be included here. This is the greatest motorcycle event poster ever (IMO). Thor Drake of See See/One Show and our partner in the rollicking, unhinged, unforgettable Dirt Quake USA events came up with the idea of approaching Eboy to create the poster for the second DQ USA. To my surprise they agreed. We spent more on this poster than any other in Sideburn's history, but it was worth it.
6. Shinsuke Takizawa by Maxwell Paternoster
Maxwell is far better known for his more cartoonish and surreal illustrations, but I knew he'd make a great job of this portrait of the founder of Japanese streetwear juggernaut, Neighborhood. We featured 'Sin's' stunning XR1000 street tracker in Sideburn 54, and had Death Spray Custom write a brief, personal bio of Neighborhood to accompany the bike feature.
7. Riding with the Wolves by John F Malta
The cover of Sideburn 52 had to be an illustration, because it was the art and illustration special. I hadn't heard of John F Malta until I saw his Icon helmet included in the 21 Helmets exhibition (and also in the 21 Helmets feature in the SB52). I had no idea what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect this. There is no much derivative motorcycle art, people blindly regurgitating other styles, or worse, ripping them off. This art came from so far out of leftfield it didn't look like anything else I'd ever seen in the moto world.
8. Burt Furnace by Lincoln Design Co
Thor Drake's dummkopf alter-ego is an underground cult hero. Pacific Northwest Design agency, Lincoln Design, had created this beautifully simple artwork and we borrowed it for our greatest issue, that Burt contributed too.
9. Jason by Chris Watson
One of Jason's bikes was featured in Sideburn 1. Chris Watson's art was featured in Sideburn 1. It was nice to round out Sideburn 55 with Chris Watson art of Jason, on the BSA we featured in Sideburn 46.
10. Sportster Dude by Jeremy Berger
We featured a portfolio of art by Californian native Jeremy of Blaken Press in SB54. This playful cartoon ticks all my boxes. The art is so simple, but strangely accurate that I can recognise that the bike is a new-gen Sportster S; the cartoon is mid-century goofy and the hand-drawn text is perfect too. I wish this was a Sideburn T-shirt design (but Jeremy has done one for us in the past and that was great too).