Fine art bodypainter Trina Merry who, with her Art Alive Gallery team out of San Francisco, was commissioned to create three human motorcycles to promote the International Motorcycle Show series. Several women formed living motorcycles—a sportbike, dirt bike and cruiser—that were bodypainted by Merry and her team. She was quoted as saying, “It was a giant human jigsaw puzzle. Each person’s natural shape, strength, and athleticism helped to build each part of the motorcycle. It is hands down the most ambitious, difficult and rewarding project I have been a part of so far.”
Motocross celebrity Erin Bates, who is now a reporter on Fuel TV, ESPN, Speed and ABC Sports, was the featured rider, with the motorcycle parts made up of models, aerialists, dancers and yoga instructors. The “motorcycles” breathe, move and can even be tickled. The reactions to this project have been overwhelmingly positive, but it seems that some look at it as obscene or, to some, an objectification of women.
Merry responds to these criticisms by explaining that she was never allowed to ride motorcycles like her father, brother or male cousins, which she found highly unfair. So she looks at her creation partly as a powerful personal statement, by using all women to create the motorcycles, and thinks of this project as a way of connecting to them. Furthermore, she wanted to make something different than the standard bodypainting of a hot chick on a bike to make her a sexual object.
Unfortunately, the Transformers will not be on exhibit at the shows. The motorcycles took a total of 46.5 hours to create and photograph, so we’ll have to be content with the photos and the YouTube video on the www.motorcycleshows.com home page.