On And Off The Canvas, One Of The Most Talented Artists Of Our Time
Article By: Amelia “Killer” Rose
Originally Published In The April 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Most people’s memories of childhood revolve around friends and the trips they took, but for Scott Takes, they consist of painting his Hot Wheels and model kits, and creating cities underneath the pine trees. He would carve elaborate roads in the dirt, with some towns, car washes, grocery stores, etc., and with a child’s imagination, the possibilities were endless. In high school, he took every art classes they had available, by the time his sophomore year rolled around he was practically begging for more. The teachers gave him time in the art room and allowed him to study independently, which for a growing artist is an incredibly rare opportunity. Scott primarily studied graffiti and airbrush illustration, enough so, that the school bought an airbrush for him to use. Eventually, he began painting for businesses around town and made enough money to buy one of his own. Soon after, he went on to study commercial art in college.
“I learned how to channel my creativity into anything I was interested in. I learned how to produce…I worked for my family for a few years doing some interior design, and marketing for them, then I quickly set out on my own to make things for people…design, create, and ride motorcycles” -Scott Takes
In 2002, Scott was contracted by Harley- Davidson® to design and paint a 780-square foot mural in one of their new stores where he spent 2 months, only working at night. With that much time spent alone and totally focused, he came away from the experience with a new-found respect for artists that work on large public murals. Upon completion, he was handed what he calls the largest paycheck he had ever received, with a few words from the dealer thanking him for the incredible piece and telling him to get down to Daytona for Bike Week. At the time, he had his sights set on meeting a builder, you may know the name, Billy Lane. He felt that Billy was giving the motorcycle industry a fresh dose of creativity, breaking down the norms, this was something that had greatly affected him personally. Scott was finally able to meet both Billy and Warren Lane, and a few months later. Billy called him to work on a few pieces that were a part of the Biker Build Off Series. His exposure reached nationwide and allowed a simple boy from Iowa to move from a basement studio to a full-size shop.
As you read earlier, over the years, Scott’s medium of choice is airbrushing with urethane paint, and though it’s a bit expensive, the work lasts longer and has an overall professional look to it. After 30 years painting professionally and 25 of those painting in the motorcycle industry, you have to wonder what compels a man to become a part of this world? For Scott, his inspiration comes from other people. With most of his work being commissions, he is able to interact with his clients on a more personal level, and has the flexibility to change his style to fit the client’s needs, especially with motorcycles and their builders. He also finds simple pleasure in attending various shows such as Mama Tried and Born Free, places where creatives and intellectuals can meet and share ideas. One of the reasons he loves this industry so much is not only the energy and excitement he feels when commissioned to design and paint a vintage chopper, but also being invited to create artwork at shows such as David Mann Chopperfest, or Art and Fuel. He still does portraits regularly, some veteran-involved memorials, and has even started working on aluminum cutouts.
What’s almost more fun than actually creating the art is the thought process. The designing and planning is still something that Scott thinks of when looking at seemingly trivial things such as art on trains and bridges. Even when he was younger, he would simply design a mural, then paint it. Sometimes commissioned, sometimes without any permission at all. But that’s the beauty of art. It pops up in the simplest places with the most beautiful messages. Art is both spontaneous and well planned, messy and clean. Today, Scott spends his time working at his studio in Cedar Rapids, IA, Underground Art Studios, LLC which he’s had for over 22 years, and when he’s not there, he’s supporting his wife in her recent career endeavors and raising their three kids. If you want to check out more of his artwork or support his business by purchasing a print or send him a commission, head on over to www. undergroundartstudios.com