Back before tattoos were mainstream and you couldn’t get them at shopping malls to go with your venti cappuccino, they were badges of honor sported by sailors, outlaws, and people who actually were edgy, versus people who just wanted to look edgy. In 2016, Trevelen Rabanal built this awesome Shovelhead chopper for Michael Lichter’s “Skin & Bones” exhibit with just that “remember when…” in mind. He called this bike his last build, and here’s what he had to say about it at the time.
“Tattoos were cool when convicts and outlaws proudly displayed them on their bodies. Now it has turned into another bad fashion trend and a useless form of art in society. The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Samoan word ‘tatau.’ A man could only wear his ‘Pe’a’ after he was blessed by a high chief from the village. In prison you wore a tattoo as a badge of honor and pride with bragging rights if it had a political connection. Who you were, how long you did, or what neighborhood you were from told your story. This motorcycle I display is named ‘Huero Loco’ and pays homage to a very close friend of mine who had a big influence on me and my career. With all that has been said, this is my last show and motorcycle I will ever build—for any event. My time has come to take a bow and leave gracefully from motorcycles. So enjoy this last build and my final show. It’s been an incredible journey.”