Jeff Decker: heavy metal
Jeff Decker was born in Torrance, California in 1966 and grew up prowling the aisles of swap meets with his father searching out vintage speed equipment. Unlike his mechanical oriented father, who owned one of the area’s largest flathead speed equipment collections- the younger Decker pursued a career in sculpture after a stint at Brigham Young University and a later job as a mold maker at a bronze foundry.
Decker began sculpting vehicles, and met renowned automotive sculptor Stanley Wanlass who encouraged him to persue a more complicated subject, motorcycles. Although the amount of detail and complexity involved in replicating both the machine and the rider had proven intimidating to other artists, Decker’s training in mold making was more than adequate to the task and the motorcycle soon became a focus of his work.
Decker uses historical photographs as reference, but he models from actual motorcycles in his Springville, Utah studio. He constructs a replica of the machine “mostly out of wax”, then uses a live model in vintage racing gear to achieve a lifelike pose. Although his sculptures are historically and mechanically accurate he departs slightly from realism to achieve an illusion of motion: the wheels have no spokes and are sometimes slightly elliptical to imitate the distortion often seen in vintage racing photographs. No more than 29 casts of any given piece are produced.
Jeff Decker is also the official sculptor for the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Co. and a member of the Sinners Motorcycle Club: he rides one of the only original Crocker motorcycles in the world. He is known as a motorcycle historian and has a large collection of memorabilia including one of the largest known collections of retired club colors and cuts.
hippodromestudio.com (Jeff Decker official site)
Jeff Decker at motohistory.net
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