David Mann (artist)
September 10, 1940|
Kansas City, MO
|Died||September 11, 2004(aged 64)|
|Training||Kansas City Art Institute|
|Patrons||Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Easyriders magazine|
|Awards||Kansas City Custom Car Show
1963 "Hollywood Run"
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
National Motorcycle Museum (Anamosa, IA) Hall of Fame – Promotion Category
David "Dave" Mann ( was a California graphic artist whose paintings celebrated biker culture, and choppers. Called "the biker world's artist-in-residence," his images are ubiquitous in biker clubhouses and garages, on motorcycle gas tanks, tattoos, and on t-shirts and other memorabilia associated with biker culture. Choppers have been built based on the bikes first imagined in a David Mann painting.September 10, 1940 – September 11, 2004 )
In the words of an anthropologist studying biker culture in New Zealand, "Mann’s paintings set ‘outlaw’ Harley chopper motorcycles against surreal backgrounds, and distorted skylines, colourful images that celebrated the chopper motorcycle and the freedom of the open road [...] Many of his images captured the ‘Easyrider’ ethos – speed, the open road, long flowing hair – freedom." Most of his works were for the motorcycle industry, especially for motorcycle magazines.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Mann began drawing and painting at an early age. His first passion was custom cars and his first job was as an automobile painter. After High School, he left Kansas City and settled in California where he became interested in motorcycles. He became immersed in biker culture and motorcycles supplanted cars and pin-up girls in his artwork.
In 1963, Mann brought some of his artwork to the Kansas City Custom Car Show. There biker/artist Tom Fugle took an interest in his artwork, and with Mann's permission, showed a photo of the painting "Hollywood Run" to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, an artist and custom car painter, who was then the publisher of one of the first custom motorcycle magazines, Choppers. Roth loved the painting and commissioned 10 (or as many as 14 or 20, according to different sources) original posters, which were made available in the back pages of Easyriders for many years. In 1965, Mann joined Fugle's El Forastero Motorcycle Club, becoming one of the founding members of the Kansas City Charter. In 1971 he answered an advertisement for a "motorcycle artist" in the back of a new motorcycle magazine called Easyriders.
After 1972 his artwork began appearing regularly in the magazine, and Mann's relationship with Easyriders would continue for the rest of his life. His art was reproduced as the magazine’s center spread beginning in 1973 and continued to be the publication's centerpiece until he was forced to retire in 2003 due to his failing health. A collection of Mann's work was published in 1993 and updated in 2004.
Mann died a day after his 64th birthday. Just before his death a custom motorcycle was commissioned in his honor from Orange County Choppers, to be featured in an episode of the reality television series American Chopper. The "David Mann Bike" featured custom artwork in Mann's style, but Mann died before it was completed. The vehicle served as a posthumous tribute to the artist, and his work was featured on the show. The episode was dedicated to Mann as well as Indian Larry, who had died a month earlier.
One of Mann's frequent motifs was a motorcycle and its rider paired with a complementary or contrasting figure. The simplest form is the iconic image of two bikes on the road side by side, and out of this grew different permutations that spanned 30 years. There are three main variations.
The first is a biker alongside a kindred figure, such as a trucker or other archetypal, biker-sympathetic character, or else a biker shadowed by a ghostly, mythic figure from the past, such as a medieval knight, Wild West gunfighter or trapper. The two will have several matching clothing items, or have an identical facial appearance in order to ensure the viewer does not fail to appreciate that the biker is a modern incarnation of the mythic persona.
Secondly, the biker would be seen alongside a social antagonist, such as hostile but foolish police officers, square motorists, or an upper-class caricature of The Man who is irritated by his wife's, daughter's or son's obvious admiration for and longing to ride away with the biker.
The third variation has a female figure, sometimes supernatural and watching over the biker from the sky, perhaps looming in the rider's memories, or else a real woman motorcycle passenger or woman in the background watching the biker ride away. Women are almost never depicted as riding their own bikes or taking part in the action; they are observers, sex objects or passengers. Their facial expressions are either vacant or filled with lust and admiration directed at the biker and his bike. Sometimes women are shown negatively as a sexual distraction which causes the biker to neglect his bike or his biker buddies.
Mann painted three works where women are shown riding. One has a male and a female rider side by side on a road, and another has two women riding side by side on trikes at night, both with nothing remarkable happening. In the other, a confused and frightened looking woman is shown attempting to ride a motorcycle, but she is out of control and being thrown off. While most of Mann's depictions of women are more sexist than is usually the norm in mainstream society today, some of his works are outright hostile to women, for example, a depiction of "Bike Heaven" shows bikers about to pass the pearly gates, but first stopping shop and barter at a sign saying "Chicks sale or trade make offer."
A subset of Mann's work, apart from these variations, is more surrealist and often leaves out choppers and bikers entirely. Instead, the motifs are usually skulls, flames, nude women and tattoos, often playing with the figurative image which is tattooed on the skin coming to life.
One of the messages contained in Mann's overall body of work is an unresolved tension between, on one side, the biker artist's (painter, chopper builder, performance artist) craving for attention and recognition for biker art and the biker lifestyle in the mainstream world of middle-class straights and squares; and, on the other side, a rejection of that very same world based on the biker preference for biker values over mainstream values, and the need to show the squares and their opinions have no power over the biker. The biker/artist is aloof, yet bristles when ignored or disparaged and seeks ways of getting the right kind of attention.
A further contrast is apparent in the repeated theme of the honor and nobility of the biker, depicting bikers as modern knights or similar mythic heroes, and the appearance of members of Mann's El Forastero Motorcycle Club in many of his paintings, a club whose members have been found guilty for the crimes motorcycle theft  and for "transporting and distributing methamphetamine" after it was discovered the club members pooled money to buy narcotics at their organized events.
- Kansas City Star, the (Kansas City, MO: The Kansas City Star), September 15, 2004: B4, "David Mann, born September 10, 1940, in Kansas City, MO, completed his circle of life September 11, 2004. Memorial services to be announced. Donations may be made to David Mann Benefit Fund, PO Box 8733, KCMO, 64114. Famous for his motorcycle art and lifestyle, David has been recognized in Anamosa, Iowa's Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and Rapid City, South Dakota's Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He was preceded in death by his father Paul Mann, calligrapher for the KC Star, his mother Ester Mann, and brother Paul James Mann, Jr. He is survived by his devoted wife Jacquie; son Jamie Mann; stepdaughter Tracy Scott; stepson Timothy Scott; four grandchildren, Brittney, Briana, Taylor, and Lance; brother George Mann and wife Mary; nieces Laura, Mindy, and Cristy; and stepmother Hazel Mann. His legend will live forever. (Arr. Charter Funerals, 816-921-5555)"
- Hall of Fame, Anamosa, IA: National Motorcycle Museum, 2006
- Hall of Fame, Anamosa, IA: National Motorcycle Museum, 2006, "In 1963 the 'Hollywood Run' and 1948 Customized Harley-Davidson pieces accompanied David to the Kansas City Car Show. There, Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, car/bike customizer and publisher of Chopper magazine, bought the 'Hollywood Run' painting for $85.00. Thus, David's career was born. In the years that followed, David painted 10 more paintings for Roth."
- David Mann; Fine art painter whose work portrays the essence of the motorcycle lifestyle for a generation of riders., Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, 2009
- Osgerby, Bill (2005), Biker: truth and myth : how the original cowboy of the road became the easy rider of the silver screen, Globe Pequot, p. 81, ISBN 1-59228-841-3, "David Mann is widely considered the biker world's artist-in-residence."
- Lane, Billy; Lichter, Michael & Holstrom, Darwin (2004), Billy Lane: Chop Fiction: It's Not A Motorcycle Baby, It's A Chopper, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, p. 87, ISBN 0-7603-2011-X, "David's depictions of the biker lifestyle have, at times, been the most entertaining images in Easyriders magazine. We have always had David Mann's Easyriders centerfolds and posters adorning our shop, and I don't think I've ever been in a real custom motorcycle shop where I haven't seen at least one."
- Easyriders Catalog Men's T-shirts David Mann Collection, Paisano Publications, retrieved 2009-06-12
- Garber, Bette S. (2005), Custom Semi, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, p. 51, ISBN 0-7603-2133-7, "The theme honors a painting by renowned biker-painter David Mann titled "Brothers in the Wind," which captures a high-ballin' 18-wheeler and a Harley rider thundering down the highway side-by-side."
- Barger, Ralph "Sonny"; Zimmerman, Keith (2004), Dead in 5 Heartbeats, HarperCollins, p. 2, ISBN 0-06-053253-X, "Motorcycle memorabilia was plastered throughout Trader's, with Easyriders pinups, a mural- sized David Mann painting, tools, wrenches, and scooter parts ..."
- Mitchel, Doug (2006), Anatomy of the Chopper, Krause Publications, p. 65, ISBN 0-89689-266-2, "For this build, he wanted to do something in the David Mann style, which includes tall bars and clean yet classic design elements."
- "American Chopper. Episode Guide > Season 2, Episode 25. David Mann Bike 1", TV.com, "A trip down memory lane while at Sturgis inspires Senior to build a tribute to biker legend and artist (and one of Senior's personal heroes) David Mann."
- "American Chopper. Episode Guide > Season 2, Episode 26. David Mann Bike 2", TV.com, "The David Mann tribute takes on new meaning for Paul Sr. upon learning that David Mann passed away. [...] Things look up when Paul gets the idea to have an artist make a painting of the completed bike in David Mann's style, and run off three-thousand prints to be auctioned off to help pay for David Mann's hospital bills."
- Haslett, David Stuart (2007), Riding at the Margins: International Media and the Construction of a Generic Outlaw Biker Identity in the South Island of New Zealand, circa 1950–1975., University of Canterbury. Sociology and Anthropology, hdl:10092/953, "Seminal biker imagery from the research period (1950–1975) includes the highly colourful artwork of the American graphic artist (and lifelong biker), David Mann (Osgerby 2005: 81). Mann’s biker renderings were published in Easy Rider magazine from 1971, following some earlier art work Mann did for the legendary custom car creator, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, who started the first American Chopper magazine in 1967 (Osgerby 2005: 80-1, 93). Mann’s paintings set ‘outlaw’ Harley chopper motorcycles against surreal backgrounds, and distorted skylines, colourful images that celebrated the chopper motorcycle and the freedom of the open road (Osgerby 2005: 81). Many of his images captured the ‘Easyrider’ ethos – speed, the open road, long flowing hair – freedom. I can recall (and my participants confirm) that David Mann posters were often found displayed on ‘outlaw’ clubhouse walls in New Zealand during the 70s and 80s, and are often found in bikers' bedrooms today"
- Fugle, Tom (December 12, 2004), Eulogy for David Mann, Seaside Park, Ventura California: Pacific Coast Chopper Fest, pp. 3–4
- Schmitt, Tim (July 2006), "From the publisher: Outlaws and old friends", ArtScene: 10–12
- Mann, David; Campbell, Tex (1993), The Artist's Choice: A New Collection of David Mann Motorcycle Art : Fifty Masterpieces Hand-picked by Artist, David Mann, Commemorating 25 Years of Biker Folklore from the Archives of Easyriders Magazine, Paisano Publications
- Mann, David (2004), A New Collection of David Mann Motorcycle Art: Fifty Masterpieces from the Archives of Easyriders, Biker, and Tattoo Magazines : Plus Four Bonus Pieces of David Mann Fine Art Including Two of His Last Paintings, Paisano Publications
- Lane. p 87. "David Mann was inducted into the motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004, and he deserved it. That is a huge honor for him, and it is as much of an honor for me to have been asked to personally induct him. David told me that he is a fan of my work and that impressed me beyond words."
- "Ups & Downs", Cycle World (CBS Publications) : 44 (1), January 2005: 36, "DOWN: To ill health, for cutting short the life of David Mann, prolific centerspread artist for Easyriders magazine. Often called the 'Biker's Norman Rockwell,' Mann, 64, was known for his folksy depictions of the chopper lifestyle. Before his death last September, he was honored with a retrospective at the Journey Museum during the Sturgis Rally and was named to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. Man's ashes will be interred in a Sportster XLCH gas tank painted with his trademark 'David Mann Red'"
- Nichols, Dave; Lichter, Michael & Lane, Billy (2005), Top Chops: Master Chopper Builders, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, p. 155, ISBN 0-7603-2297-X, "We would showcase the old chop from 1971 alongside the new one from 2001 to show the world 30 years of Denver's Choppers and 30 years of Easyriders. I had the late David Mann, a world-famous motorcycle lifestyle artist, create a painting of the two bikes blasting down a stretch of desert road side by side as a centerspread and as the image that would launch the magazine into another 30 years."
- Mann, David, GI Beer Run
- Mann, David, White Line Brothers
- Mann, David, http://www.cruisingoods.com/motorcyclephotos/mountainmanbg.gif Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Ghost Rider
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/112.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Saloon No. 10
- Drutt, Matthew; Krens, Thomas (1998), "I.D. Biker", in Matthew Drutt, Motorcycle Mania: The Biker Book, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Universe Publishing, ISBN 0-7893-0132-6, "Among the most stereotyped characters ever to appear on the world stage is The Biker. [...] He is the actor recently portrayed in a painting titled The Brotherhood on a gold-trimmed porcelain collector plate in which our chopper-riding hero, lightning shearing the dark sky behind, is watched over by his legendary predecessors: a mountain man, a Viking, a medieval knight, a pirate, and a cowboy, all looking suspiciously just like the biker. A cooler appreciation for history would yield proof that these archetypes actually share little, and hardly the same mustache, but when it comes to biking it's hard to keep a good bromide down."
- Mann, David, BROTHERHOOD OF BIKING SPIRITS OPEN ROAD Artist DAVID MANN HD BIKER EASYRIDERS MAG
- Mann, David, 400 Years of Biking
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/135.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/195.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/61.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/188.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/150.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning
- Kabel, Roderick (July 2006), "From the publisher: Outlaws and old friends", ArtScene: 3, "Now the guys we're writing about in this issue are not your weekend warriors who buy a motorcycle off the showroom floor, pay out the nose for name-brand accessories and need to get home before 10 p.m. so the sitter can brush her braces. July's cover story deals with those bikers who first came to the public eye in the '60s and '70s when they passed through town and made the quiet townfolk close their eyes and tremble with fear until the noise passed. Pure outlaws. Guys that build chopper bikes, ride them hard and party even harder. No, your mother wouldn’t approve of them … although, your sister might."
- Mann, David, Ladies Love Outlaws
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/58.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/116.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicola_r/2318480476/ Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Eyes in the Sky
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t56.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/15.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, In Memory of..., ISBN 0-7041-0011-8
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t46.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/37.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/3.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/13.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/29.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/40.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t31.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/8.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t33.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Bikes Booze Broads
- Mann, David, Bike Heaven
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t19.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t42.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~knucklehead-47/t53.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, http://home.att.net/~peggy-sue/83.jpg Missing or empty
- Mann, David, Delirium: A Flesh Fabrication
- Fugle, Tom (December 12, 2004), Eulogy for David Mann, Seaside Park, Ventura California: Pacific Coast Chopper Fest, p. 3, "No matter where we would go, Tiny's bike kept blowing peoples minds, always receiving the same, "What the FUCK!" reaction from people. That's what made me want to build a Chopper! [...] During the summer of 1962, we started the EL FORESTERO MOTORCYCLE CLUB. the club name is significant, meaning the Outsiders, or the Strangers. Because no one knew what we were riding, or why, we decided to go with a name that no one would understand."
- Schmitt, Tim (July 2006), "From the publisher: Outlaws and old friends", ArtScene: 11, "'It was done out of spite,' Moose says. 'The Slaves out of the San Fernando valley said there were no motorcycle people outside of the valley. We were outsiders even in our own world.' [...]While showing off his collection and talking about Mann’s work, Humphreys casually takes a phone call from the Discovery Channel’s Brett 'The Big Schwag' Wagner informing him that the channel will be featuring him in an upcoming episode of 'Monster Garage Road Rage' —after careful editing of his 'colorful language,' of course. And Moose, the longtime chopper builder who influenced Mann, has been featured in an early episode of the show with Jesse James."
- Chanen, David (April 9, 1998), "9 arrested in alleged motorcycle theft ring; An estimated $785, 000 worth of stolen Harley-Davidson motorcycles and parts were recovered during a half-year investigation.", Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN: Star Tribune Co.), "The Hennepin County Sheriff's Department showed off an estimated $785,000 worth of stolen Harley-Davidson motorcycles and parts Wednesday that were recovered during an investigation started in September. The items were confiscated during a one-day search in February of nearly a dozen houses and storage facilities in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal and New Hope. Nine men and women from the Twin Cities, including four alleged members of the Hell's Angels and El Forasteros motorcycle clubs, were arrested on probable cause for narcotics and receiving and concealing stolen goods, but none has been charged in connection with the investigation."
- Hart, James (2009-06-03), "Local motorcyclists "Muff," "Holms" plead guilty to meth conspiracy", Kansas City Star, "Eneff, a member of the El Forastero Motorcycle Club, admitted that members of El Forastero and the affiliated Galloping Goose Motorcycle Club were required to annually pay dues and attend a certain number of motorcycle trips, known as runs, each year. On each run, the members were required to pay money that was pooled, or collected by each club charter, then forwarded to the specific Galloping Goose or El Forastero charter that hosted the particular motorcycle run in order to purchase methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Those drugs were maintained in run bags, which were distributed to all club members that attended the run."
- Hart, James (2009-06-01), "Local motorcyclists Kooly and Goose Rob plead to meth conspiracy", Kansas City Star, "Each of the defendants admitted that, as active members, they participated in the distribution of between 500 and 1,500 grams of methamphetamine. That amount is based on 20 runs over a five-year period, with each run involving the distribution of at least one ounce (28 grams) of methamphetamine."
- Noonan, Bryan (June 30, 2005), "Live Free & Die.After Kansas City's first generation of outlaw bikers rides off into the sunset, who will replace them?", The Pitch (Kansas City, MO: Village Voice Media), archived from the original on January 31, 2013, "Later, though, Shifty would spend seven and a half years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. ('Actually, I was transporting it,' he says.)"