Monday, June 30, 2008

Back in the day: Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's decal collection

harley made in milwaukee, originally uploaded by COOP666.

Milwaukee. That's my town. Was born there, lived there a bit, lived in about eleven other places, then back in Milwaukee for awhile, and am now coming up on three years since moving out of the city again. Can't say I feel like it's my home town - but I've never felt I had one of those. It's a natural consequence of moving several times in the first six years of my life, especially since it was between two countries (England and the U.S.).

Now Ed Roth -- in 1975 his influence had spread everywhere - we all had stickers, posters, tshirts, and the water-applied decals like the one pictured. Just Google "Rat Fink" if you're still an outsider on this one. The image above definitely speaks of that style and feel from the 60s and 70s - loud guitars, loud machines, airbrushing, surfing, drugs, gang fights... Well, OK, I was pretty young. Mostly I remember the style of art. And I remember those Harleys from the streets and highways around Milwaukee. Those old, tough, fix-it-yerself-or-walk cycles, almost always ridden by outlaw bikers (in the case of Milwaukee, Outlaws with a capital O, in many cases). Now, of course, Milwaukee and pretty much everywhere else is bike crazy all over again. Then or now, this sticker is one cool and down-dirty chunk of Americana, especially with that great skull logo.

Image: From a gigantic collection of decal art from Roth's collection, posted on flickr by fellow lowbrow artist Coop. Found via the BooBerry Alarmclock. Thanks Billoney!
Warning: um, yeah. It's Roth, and especially, Coop. Look for long enough and you will find something with 'adult' content. Or offensive. You've been warned.

Note: edited post -- misidentified the decal. Roth DID draw this one. I mistakenly thought some of the material at Flickr was simply part of his collection (i.e, of other Kar Kulture folks). All of the decals at the above link are Roth creations.