Ryan Roadkill x Brute 500

We teamed up with illustrator, artist, and avid motorcycle enthusiast Ryan Roadkill on a custom one-off Brute 500 paint job. The brief, to promote the overwhelming British origins of the bike in any way that Ryan deemed fit.

Roadkill is an artist hailing from the northeast of England. Fuelled by punk rock and black coffee, Roadkill explores the fragility of subcultures in a fast-paced modern world and the gradual erosion of rebellion in a climate of constant surveillance. Often portrayed through antihero characters and the theme of speed, his work weaves turbulently through the pitfalls of anxious pop culture… at 100mph.

We were first introduced to Ryan’s work through his commissions by industry friends Sideburn Magazine & Bike Shed Motorcycle Club, as well as this Ryan has produced album covers for Billy Talent & helped more recently on a music video with Iron Maiden.

The bike playfully satirises stereotypically British norms using Ryan’s signature style and palette. On the right of the tank, we see a fish avoiding capture from the fryer, complete with bowler hat and surrounded by a crest of chips coming out of a pot of tea, naturally…. Confirmed as the nation’s favourite food and a staple part of British identity, the first fish & chip shop was recorded in the North of England in 1863!

As well as this devious looking fish, we have to mention his vessel of choice, a Union Jack cladded pot o’ tea. The longstanding and illustrious infatuation this island has with a proper brew is well documented and recorded with approximately 100 million cups being drunk every single day of the year.

Over the other side of the tank, we have a notoriously rigid Queen’s Guard getting loose on the job. While these guards are better known for not blinking and knocking over children who dare to stand in their way the guard in question has clearly forgone his royal duties in search of a good time.

Situated on the tail piece we have our nation’s vessel of choice, the teacup and saucer. Floating within is a blood shot eyeball, perfectly capturing the motion and speed Ryan is able to convey in his work.

We caught up with Ryan and asked him a few questions about the job…

How long have you been painting?

Ryan: I can’t really remember to be honest. A long time. Turning that skillset, applying artwork onto motorcycles, is more recent to be honest. But the first time I painted a bike, or a tank was probably about 8 years ago. I’m not a professional automotive painter, I’m an artist who is applying to different mediums really. 

What was your favourite part of this project to work on?

Ryan: The free reign on the brief was really the best part. It’s always good when I get to have a more relaxed brief and go for it. And the drunk Queens Guard was really good fun to start sketching out and develop. 

Your ability to capture speed & motion in your work is unmatched. How long have you been working on this particular aspect of your style?

Ryan: Thanks. Well, I guess when you create artwork around motorcycles you can visualise them in two ways. Static and represent the looks of the bike, or what I prefer to do is the other option which is to emphasise the experience of riding them. So, speed and dust flying everywhere. To try and build a great sense of atmosphere. I reckon you could say it’s the image people have in their head of themselves on a bike riding! Haha. Ripping it up rather than plodding along potholed B roads. 

How long have you been riding motorcycles?

Ryan: I got my bike licence in 2005, so a little while now. But I ride less on the road these days and more off-road. I enjoy that you can let go a little more off-road. And it very quickly humbles you to your ability when you come from riding road bikes. 

What is your favourite memory/experience on two wheels?

Ryan: It’s a hard call that. I’ve had plenty of bad experiences to throw in the mix. But some of the best are trail riding in the middle of nowhere with your mates and getting stuck. Nobody around to help just got to get on with it and get to the end of the trail. I love that aspect of riding offroad. I’ve also had some amazing riding experiences in California, cutting around the canyon roads in amazing weather with nobody about. The biggest stand out experience from riding any motorcycle for me is the friendships and contacts you make along the way. I have so many people around the globe I consider friends from purely a common love for a lump of metal with two wheels. 

You can check out Ryan’s work on his website by clicking here now.