Viva Viclas: The Art of the LowRider Motorcycle


Experienced by Leon Brittain, Photos by Throttle Life

Downtown Raleigh, NC, introduced a new scene earlier this month as some of the most influential personalities, artists, and builders in the lowrider community rolled in for a unique display of Chicano/Chicana influenced “low rider art and soul” at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM).

But this is no ordinary lowrider exhibit. This electrifying display celebrates the rich culture and paintings of our Chicano and Chicana brothers and sisters dubbed “Viva Viclas: The Art of the LowRider Motorcycle,” which is on display through February 9, 2020. An opening party welcomed bikers and guests on set to the musical backdrop of West Coast rhythms such as Santana, War, Archie Bell, and a little Suavecito as the vibe was poignantly set.

The legendary Denise Sandoval curated the theme, Ph.D., professor of Chicano/Chicana Studies at California State University Northridge, who not only retains a wealth of knowledge and experience in this arena but also lives the life. This is the first exhibition on the East Coast to spotlight the colorful and diverse tradition of lowrider culture and focuses on the art of the lowrider motorcycle, otherwise known as la Viclas.

The artists in the exhibit include industry icons and trailblazers OG Able, Adriana Avila, Eren Cannata, Mister Cartoon with Fire and Desire, Yely Diaz with Viclera, Justin Favela, Elrod, El Moises with Chicanindio, and super cool Estevan Oriol. Hollywood celebrities and personalities included Emilio Rivera and Danny Trejo. Showing off the 2-wheel works of art are renowned, influential builders La Vida Customs along with the famed Firmosa representing California, Texas, and New Mexico.

Also, paying homage to the Viclas style was “El Chapo,” a bike built by the award-winning Da Performance Baggers and painted by Kyle Morley of Xecution Style. “Pretty in Pink” was also on display sitting low and sexy by Chris Edler and also painted by Xecution Style.

Before the kickoff evening was over, Gab Smith, CAM Executive Director, took time to recognize Denise, the talented artists and builders, and the contributors along. Special recognition of gratitude was extended to Tobacco Road Harley-Davidson for playing a valuable role in supporting the exhibit.

So do yourself a favor and mount up on your 2s or slide into your cage to check out this cultural experience of la Viclas tradition, style, and influence.

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