Article By: Amelia Rose Callen
Originally Published In The January 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
From the time she was a young child and motorcycle enthusiast, Bunky Oyster, has always had a passion for art. Though as she got older, she found, like many of us, a creeping fear that if she continued down the path of an artist, it wouldn’t be a sustainable way of living. But after spending most of her 20’s not knowing where she wanted her life to go, she eventually decided that passion prevails and chose the career path that would make her the happiest. Born and raised in Alaska, Bunky grew up shooting, camping, hunting and the like. From a young age she had always wanted a motorcycle, but her mother shot that idea down quickly, so she settled for a 300zx and spent most of her teenage years street racing with her friends. However, like most teens, she became stir-crazy and decided to move to New York where she eventually attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and received her BFA.
Towards the end of her schooling at FIT was when she had begun creating larger, automotive themed pieces, which is what she enjoyed working on the most. Following graduation in 2017, she had begun producing artwork for shows, motivated by an unsupportive (now ex) husband who made her feel like her art was pointless and not worth the time she found motivation and independence, she needed to leave New York and do something more with her art, even if it just meant having it displayed in a coffee shop, she wanted others to see what she created. Oyster finally got her first bike about five years ago, a Harley 1200 Sportster that brought her full force into the motorcycle world and its culture. She soon saw influences of the motorbike world in her art, adding more grunge and metal to her art. It felt so natural for her to produce this type of creativity. Another thing that drew her to this culture, like so many before her, was the freespirited nature. This moto world allows people to be themselves and show their truest passions. It is also a culture that promotes productivity, creativity, community and accepts people of all walks of life with open arms.
When asked what inspired her art, her mother was the only answer. While growing up, her mother pushed her to attend art school, strongly supporting her daughter’s passion knowing it was what she always turned to when things were rough. Her mother is now battling MS but remains just as positive as she was before her diagnosis. Because of that, she is a daily reminder to do what you love and keep moving forward. As for her medium of choice, she generally works in acrylics due to its quick-drying nature, which causes her to work faster than normal. It basically cuts down on the time needed to dry in between layers so she can keep working on the painting without worrying about what’s still drying.
For Bunky, her art is important to her. It speaks to how women in the motorcycle industry are often looked at and expected to be something that is often unrealistic. Her art allows her to express those thoughts with the hope that other women and other people can look at her artand see the true beauty of our world and our culture. It is also a joy to see the phases her art has gone through when she feels that it has slipped away from her and she has to bring it back to its core. She has been and is constantly producing pieces that means something to her, which is what counts the most to her as a young artist. Currently, she works as a tattoo apprentice at Super Genius Tattoo in Seattle, WA, which is the road she sees herself traveling for a while. The combination of personal art and self expression is something she loves and is excited to be learning from the amazing artists she works with. She also has a show coming up at the local Harley Davidson dealership this spring which has given her the opportunity to reach out and make more connections in her local motorcycle community. If you want to check out more of Bunky Oyster’s rad work or commission her for a piece, you can check out her Instagram @bunkyoyster