More California updates from my trip earlier this month. Not long after landing I received a message from Nico, the Ornamental Conifer, asking 'Any chance of meeting up?' It made my day. For some reason I thought Nico was so busy that I didn't try to set something up in advance. What was I thinking? He's an artist, course he has time for a chinwag.
After visiting Biltwell, I jumped on the Indian Bobber I was borrowing and headed for Downtown LA.
The street Ornamental Conifer HQ is on is full of independent clothes and shoe shops selling stuff like green ostrich skin shoes and knock-off Versace and T-shirts with Pablo Escobar on, styles I've never seen anywhere else. None of the local car parks, all with attendants, would let me park the bike in them, so I stuck the Bobber at the kerb, while Nico asked the next door shop if he could keep an eye on it. 'You're ok to park there, it's a public holiday,' the shopkeeper said. 'What?' replied Nico, 'Why am I at work?'
It turned out to be Columbus Day, a holiday very few people seem to observe.
We took the lift up to his fourth floor studio, and I immediately regretted not having a tidier office/work place. He told me some news and parish notices from east London (100 miles from my home, 5400 from his) that I hadn't heard. Nico described the direction of his more experimental art (above), and the processes it goes through from found scrap of paper to painted piece.
Old and new style.
Nico has consciously moved away from creating too much motorcycle-related artwork, to avoid being pigeonholed as a motorcycle guy, but there are still hints. He also admitted that riding in LA wasn't the dream many think it is, and he prefers cycling about at the moment.
You can read about the Tracy-bodied Triumph 5TC Nico bought when he moved to LA in Sideburn 21. That issue also has an Ornamental Conifer decorated Harley WR on the cover and featured inside.
We then walked out for a pint, and spoke about his latest work, a couple of four wheelers for a husband and wife in Texas who are big fans of his work.
Nico reckoned the Porsche was the best work he'd ever created, which is saying something.
The Pinzgauer (at the top of this post) was completed at the same time.
If this post hungry for more OC art you can go to his Ornamental Conifer tumblr.
You can also read about one of the first bike he ever painted, Sideburn's Royal Enfield, in Sideburn 10. Or buy SB10 as part of our super Sideburn back issue deal 4 issues for just £10 plus post.
Great to see you Nico!