Atomic Bob Making Positive Strides In The Motorcycle Industry
Article By: Amelia Rose
Originally Published In The March 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
“The motorcycle industry has endless opportunities and has treated our family like family, I love that the most.”– Atomic Bob
From the time he first picked up a pencil, Bob McElroy has always known that he was destined to be an artist. Spending his childhood drawing cars and bikes from his father’s magazines, he developed a strong connection with both the arts and the world of automotives. He learned most of what he knows from his father and from days spent drawing a wide variety of subjects to develop the necessary skills to become the incredible artist that he is today. However, coming from a gear-head family he always leaned toward auto art and, wanting to expand his horizons as he grew older, stumbled upon the legendary art of Stanley Mouse. Inspired by his unusual style, Bob developed his own style of bugeyed monsters, found throughout his work. After graduating high school, with some strong encouragement from his mother, Bob pursued his passion in arts and attended The Cleveland Institute of Art for three years to major in Illustration. While in school he worked as a sign painter at Trader Joe’s but as much as he enjoyed it, as he became more involved in pinstriping he shifted his focus back towards hotrods and bikes, leading him to further pursue his love of auto art. Once finished with higher education he became a freelance artist and expanded his skill-set by also becoming a tattoo artist. With much encouragement from friends and family, he decided to go full bore into becoming a professional artist. Exploring various career paths over the years, he went with his overwhelming passion for being an auto buff and plunged head first into becoming a lowbrow artist and pinstriper. He’s spent many years painting and pinstriping in order to perfect his craft.
Today he is known as Atomic Bob, owner of Atomic Dice Studio Arts, which is run with the help of his lovely wife SaraBelle. They met back in 2014 and with her help, turned the studio into an LLC, officially putting him on the map as a professional artist, despite having produced art and pinstriping for over 10 years. In terms of what he does with Atomic Dice, well, he’ll do pretty much anything. From creating logo designs to pinstriping cars, bikes and skate decks, he’ll paint or sketch anything a customer requests. After a chance meeting with our good friend Jeff Najar at an IMS show in 2015, Atomic was introduced to Keith Ball of 5 Ball Racing, who has since then, named him the official artist for 5-Ball Racing Garage. Since then he has been custom painting their leathers using a refined process to get paint to the correct mixture to preserve on leather. With this new technique, his ability to paint full designs on leather is making him a pioneer in the industry, traveling up and down the East Coast to different shows and events with his wife. As for the future, Atomic is pretty happy with how things are going, but is always looking after his family. Being the only source of income for himself, his wife and three daughters, he’s always looking to find new and creative ways to expand his style, such as to one day write and illustrate his own children’s book. On a larger scale, now having the ability to paint entire cars and motorcycles, Atomic is planning to start exhibiting his talents as a builder. Having built bikes for years, he’s ready to show the industry what he can really do. The builder business expansion will be called Atomic Dice Cycles which is in his 5 year plan. With a current build in the works, who knows what will come next.
In the end, what really sets Atomic Bob apart from the rest is his incredible diversity within the art world and the ability to do a variety of projects in the automotive, motorcycle and apparel industries. It’s not every day that we come across an artist as humble and eclectic as Atomic. In his own words, “The motorcycle industry has endless opportunities and has treated our family like family, I love that the most.” Recently Atomic and his family have fallen on hard times due to an unfortunate situation which has Bob finding himself creating his art from inside the walls of the Lorain Correctional Institution for the next few months. Despite this obvious adversity Bob and SaraBelle are still using their strengths to keep the dream alive. Atomic is still kicking out pieces using only a #2 pencil and some scrap paper to create his art which he sends to her to create t-shirts, prints, shop rags and other rad pieces which are available for purchase. Currently, they are working on a line of cards, a children’s book about a hot rod, and always, more art! Take a few minutes and check out Atomic’s offerings at www.atomicdicecustompaint.com and if ya dig what ya see check out their store. For more info email them at email atomicdice@yahoo. com