Article By: Amelia “Killer” Rose
Originally Published In The February 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Noone ever expects doodles on 3rd-grade homework to turn into a lifelong passion and full-time career, especially when you get in trouble for it. But for Cory Mroz (a.k.a Mr. Oz), it was only the beginning. As a kid, Cory’s main focus was BMX racing, and in Aurora, IN where he and his friends would ride, there was a small paint shop owned by Red Steele, where he always wanted to and did stop to talk. When Mroz was around 9-10 years old, Red started hand painting sponsors’ signs for the little league field owned by Cory’s dad. And for Cory, the spark was lit.
By the time Cory was 15 that small spark of interest grew into a flame. He began working at a hot rod shop down the road. He continuously watched pinstripers and painters come in to finish their latest project and from then on he was hooked. It was also a time where he became more serious about creating concept art and learning to pinstripe. Did I mention that his boss, his dad, was also a sign painter. This only made Cory’s desire to create art even stronger. He created a hand painted & hand-fabricated sign at the age of 14 and put it in front of his parents’ house, only to have the city make him take it down shortly after. At 17 he started fabricating and painting legitimately and hasn’t looked back since. Now 32, Cory has been producing art for 15 years.
His love of motorcycles also goes back to his childhood. His grandfather used to run the local dirt flat track. Around the same time Mroz was becoming more serious about the arts, he became more involved in the punk/hand-built/ culture type shows. In 2007-8 he began setting up his own booth at motorcycle shows around the country as a way to showcase his creations. Once his foot was in the door, so to speak, the rest was history. He was drawn to our culture by the free, outlaw-ish kind of lifestyle everyone had. Living a normal life with a 9-5 was never in his plans, and even to this day he still doesn’t own a home. The wanderer lifestyle he saw at those events seemed like a perfect fit for him.
“I feel many of us were born into that rebellious type of spirit, sometimes I wish I wasn’t but f#@k it, it’s me, and after years, I embrace that totally now.”
His inspiration also comes from that care-free lifestyle everyone had. At any point in time, he could just pack up his stuff and move without having to worry about tools, bills, and the like, and all the while he could still create beautiful works of art that will surely outlive most of us. His art makes the world a little less dull while sparking a bit of rebellious fire one piece at a time. Cory credits a large portion of his inspiration when he was starting out to his 9th-grade art teacher, Mrs. Hammons, who changed his outlook on life, art, and its instruction. To him, she is a saint and deserves true recognition.
For Cory ’s medium of choice, he likes to use just about any kind of paint. He says it feels like the final touch to a project. He does dabble in metal and leatherworking when the mood strikes him.
Over the years, he has been truly blessed to live the lifestyle he does. Through his art, he has been able to travel across the country several times over, meet some of the most inspirational people he knows, from musicians and top artists to pro skateboarders and progressive thinkers. To Cory, the people he meets and places he’s been able to travel to are worth more than all the gold and jewels in the world, and despite the fact that this is really the only life he’s ever known, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Someday he hopes to have a book in print about the many adventures he’s gone on over the years.
For the future, Cory’s plans are simple: “Just to stay healthy and stay alive as long as I can, love while I’m here and embrace every day and opportunity that comes along.” If you want to check out more of Cory’s fantastic work, you can head over to his Instagram @mrozdesigns or view a workshop he helped develop to learn the trades, at www. brushmastersgetaway.com