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Best SB Artwork of 2020

Following on from last weeks Best SB Photos of 2020 post, here are my ten favourite illustrations of the four issues we made in 2020. Sideburn has always used a lot of illustration, with some artists have only one appearance in the mag, others becoming regulars. Eight of these pieces were commissions, two were supplied as part of portfolio features.

I've purposely only chosen one piece of work from each artist, and not included artwork we've used on our merch (which we also love, like Lucky Luke's KR750 Cat). GI

1. Sam by Lennard Schuurmans

We ran a regular series of motorcycle flash characters drawn by artist turned tattooist Lenny Schuurmans, accompanied by potted biographies Lenny dreamt up. In a nice cross-pollination, Sam the snake is riding a Dax short tracker based on those built by one of our other columnists, Cheetah. It also answers that perennial lying-in-a-dark-room-at-four-in-the-morning question: how do you draw a snake's hands?

We featured a portfolio/story on Lenny way back in Sideburn 11.

Sam featured in Sideburn 40.

2. Anthony Brown by Stay Outside Studio

I'm never sure if I should refer to the artist as Toria Jaymes or Stay Outside Studio, whatever, the Brit, now living in British Columbia, Canada, is a regular and seems to be the most versatile of the artists we deal with, and it's hard to impossible to pin her style down.

We changed the briefs of these one-page artworks that accompany our regular interviews, specifically asking for the subject to not be wearing a helmet (we had previously run quite a few with helmets). So when the artwork of DTRA founder Anthony was delivered I asked about the bandana. Toria responded, 'I wanted to use the bandana for a number of reasons. Symbolically indicating this hidden figure in some ways, the man behind so many events, behind helping so many people in all the plethora of ways Anthony does. The don of the DTRA! It also adds some power and mystery to him. Those that know him well will see the joker/prankster goofing in the mask and will recognise those cheeky smiling eyes.'

3. Nichole Mees (Cheza) by Kim Thompson

Another full-page interview accompanier, this time from Kim Thompson, an artist we'd never used before, and one who is definitely not a regular motorcycle artist. I love the Nottingham-based artist's interpretation of Nichole Mees in her racing, and Cheza, days. The roses were a link to Nichole and Jared's wedding at the Springfield Mile in 2013.

4. Untitled by Jim Koch

This is the first time we've published this full artwork because we gave it a radical crop on the opener of Sideburn 41's Jim Koch portfolio. We met Jim at the 2020 One Motorcycle Show in Portland. He'd created the poster for the One Pro Races, and I loved it. We ran the portfolio in the mag, then had Jim supply artwork for our Raceface T-shirts, pin badge, patch and tote bag.

Buy Sideburn 41 to read Jim's back story and see seven pages of his work.

5. Silver Dream Racer by Raid71

We've featured 14 bike-centric films over the years (is that all?), and most recently it was our deputy editor, Mick Phillips' reappraisal of Silver Dream Racer. It's always a treat for me to commission Raid71, who we had a portfolio of in SB23, and his painterly feature opener was given room to breathe, looking like an alternative poster for the 1980 film.

6. Larry Pegram by Ryan Quickfall

We have watched as Ryan 'Roadkill' Quickfall transformed from a hopeful amateur illustrator, making ends meet as a graphic designer, into a commercial artist working with, and for, household names. And it hasn't changed him. I can't count the amount of jobs since his debut in Sideburn 12, there have been so many, but we continue to use Ryan when we can. The opportunity arose for him to create his version of AFT veteran Larry Pegram, mixing Larry's nickname of the Worm, with his new day job as owner of the biggest medical marijuana farms in Ohio.

7. Motorcycles Saved My Life by Nick 'Fartco' Simich

A reader contacted me wanting to write about how much motorcycling, and the friends at the track, have helped him deal with his depression. It was absolutely something I wanted Sideburn to cover, and needed the right illustration to accompany it. There was only one person for the job - Nick Simich. Fortunately Nick was willing to do it and not only that, he donated his fee to a teen suicide charity in his home country, America.

8. Cory Texter by Prankur Rana

We introduced a new column for 2020. C-Tech is a column written by the then American Flat Track Production Twins champ explaining, in plain language, what different set up choices make to a flat track race bike. I wanted to bring on new artist on board to illustrate the column and chose Prankur from India. Prankur tweaked his own style from issue to issue and this one, from Sideburn 42 was my favourite, Cory in his Nicky Hayden tribute leathers and his bike rolling on Prankur's trademark tyres.

9. Werewolf by Brusco

The second of the pieces chosen from an artist's portfolio feature, rather than a commissioned original, this is by Brusco from Barcelona. The Universal Pictures classic monsters on bikes is a regularly mined source of inspiration, but I loved the texture in this one.

Buy Sideburn 43 to read our portfolio piece on Brusco

10. Chad Cose by Mark Ward

London-based Mark Ward has worked for huge companies like Pepsi, Nike and Microsoft, and put so much thought into our original suggestion of a play on the California flag that he elevated this artwork into best ever category in Sideburn territory. Did everyone notice the engine is the shape of California?


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