Fine art meets motorcycling for charity (photos)

The avant-garde art scene and motorcycle road racing culture come together at the Celeritas art exhibit at LA’s SURU Gallery, raising funds for the Riders for Health charity. On exhibit until August 16, the Celeritas show features 14 helmets painted by fine artists, a set of leathers reworked by DRx, and a Suzuki Hayabusa mounted on Pirelli tires and painted by artist Barry McGee.

The show, sponsored by Pirelli, Suzuki, Alpinestars, Oakley, and Troy Lee Designs, opened Saturday night, July 11, with a silent auction of the artworks that raised $66,000 for the Riders for Health charity, the official charity of MotoGP. Although the original artworks have been sold, all items will be on display for the duration of the exhibit, and Ts and other items relating to the show will be on sale until supplies run out.

Of special interest to motorcyclists, helmet painter Troy Lee participated in the exhibit by prepping and clear-coating the helmets as needed, plus he donated a helmet of his own concept, showing a depth of originality that does all motorcyclists proud. The helmet that Lee created for this exhibit is a work of fine art on its own, and is something completely different from what anyone might have expected from a "helmet painter."

Pirelli congratulates John Hensley of the FX Channel’s Nip/Tuck and Joe Hahn of the band Linkin Park, for conceiving and curating this exhibit that has already proven to be exceptionally successful. Because of this mixing of subcultures, non-biker attendees are enthralled by the works of art and by the road racing leathers on display for an added touch of motorcycling culture. Many of them have to ask what these strange and colorful yet beautiful items of bizarre clothing are for, considering them to be peculiar works of art in themselves.

The artists participating in the Celeritas exhibit are a who’s who of the current fine art scene: Alex Pardee, Jeff McMillan, Stash, Barry McGee (aka Twist, the artist who painted the Hayabusa and who is also featured on the cover of the latest issue [#14] of Swindle magazine), Futura, Mark Dean Veca, Usugrow, Joe Hahn, Jim Lee, Jesse James, Troy Lee, James Jean, Audrey Kawasaki, Darren Romanelli, aka DRx, Nathan Cabrera, Mike Shinoda, and Estevan Oriol. The SURU Gallery is located at 7662 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California. The Celeritas exhibit is open through August 16.

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