Name: Lori Damiano
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Job: Artist & Educator
Motorcycle: 1974 CB 360 / 2009 KLX 250
When we were very little kids, my Dad started my brother and I off by giving us prompts to draw on paper placemats when we were waiting for our food to arrive at restaurants. I loved visual storytelling ever since. I studied filmmaking in college and then got an MFA in Experimental Animation.
Illustration, Painting, Murals, Design, Animation.
Main sources of Inspiration in Life, in Art.
In art and in life am fascinated and inspired by my fellow humans. I love people watching. I love people. I am amazed at how much can be communicated in a single moment of observation and seek to capture that in an image. I like making images that are based on real things, places, or people because I think those are little anchors of invitation and familiarity. I think of making a painting as throwing a party to celebrate some aspect of humanity. My favorite way of working is trying to paint portraits of good intentions, aspirations, compassion, confidence, even when that portrait sometimes involves a portrayal of slight underachievement. I like the gap between intention and reality. I think that space is a treasure trove from which springs much of the most fascinating human behavior. Aside from being inspired by people, I am also feel like I’m doing the best job at living life when I am surrounded by skies, forests, and mountains rather than computers.
First memory connected with Motorcycles.
My parents started taking me on dirtbike camping trips when I was a few weeks old. We spent a lot of time in the Sierras and the Mohave desert in California where I grew up. Motorcycles were always around so I don’t know if I can figure out what the earliest memory was but I have a really nice early memory of my dad taking me on mellow hill climb in the Mohave desert so we could watch the sunset from the top of the ridge.
First experience on Two Wheels.
My dad got a Honda 80 for my brother and I to learn on when we were kids. We were camping in the mountains and I crashed it into a tree. I got so spooked by that experience that I didn’t ride solo again until I was in my 20’s. I regret that so much now!
The Motorcycle as an artistic Muse.
The motorcycle itself is a contract for exhilaration and adventure (amongst other things). Spending any time on a motorcycle, especially an old bike, is guaranteed to generate many stories and experiences that are so fun to share through art-making. It is impossible to set out on a motorcycle trip and come home without anything to say about it. A motorcycle is an experience factory.
More about your Bike.
My Dad and I restored my CB360 together. He was so patient and helped me figure things out and then when I got stuck he’d swoop in to help me. I stripped it down to the frame and got it powder coated and then put it back together replacing what needed to be swapped out. I am the slowest most unconfident mechanic that ever was I think. I tried to put everything on upside-down and backwards…hahaha… but eventually figured things out. I learned so much! It’s definitely something I never imagined I would be able to do. I originally bought that bike because I had a lot of dear pals in Vancouver BC who were riding and fixing old Hondas and wanted to go on rides with them. Right now that bike needs a little love to get back on the road but I’m hoping to get it going in time for this summer. In the meantime I’ve been riding the little 250 around. It is so fun. I have only been on a couple of short trips with it. I have a fantasy of doing a traveling animation screening and workshop series across parts of the US all on that little 250.
Current Animation projects.
Right now I’m waiting to hear if a couple of freelance projects are moving forward so I can’t say much about those yet. I have been making super short animations in order to figure out new digital ways of working. I have always loved working with hand-drawn animation but now that I have a Cintiq and can draw directly into the computer it’s really opening up the possibilities for me. My biggest personal project right now is a graphic novel about my family’s farming history and a year spent with my Grandma on the family pistachio farm.
I just finished collaborating with my friend Randy Wakerlin on the Filmed by Bike Film Festival trailer (http://filmedbybike.org/15th-anniversary-filmed-bike-trailer/) I did the character designs and he animated them. I have also done a few collaborations with LA based artist Mel Kadel and Philadelphia based artist Thom Lessner . I collaborate on all of my murals with Zach Erickson. I’ve also been collaborating on painting ceramics with Tiffany Campbell of Pippi Pots (@pippipots).
To be able to keep making art for my whole life would be such good luck. I hope I will be lucky like that.
A thing about Lori I absolutely have to know.
Hahaha, I don’t know! I guess I’d say it has to do with skateboarding. Skateboarding has been a really big part of my life and especially the time I spent with a group of ladies as part of the Villa Villa Cola skateboarding collective. We made a lot of zines, videos and films about female skateboarders and I used to have columns in The Skateboard Mag and Transworld skateboarding. We tried our best to promote and create space for women/girls in this male dominated realm. Now there is a whole new generation doing that. They are making amazing progress and it is so inspiring to see!
…a critical tool for communication; a universal language.
A Motorcycle is…
Riding a motorcycle is like riding a skateboard in that it terrifies and thrills me in equal measures. It forces me to trust and believe in myself in a way that I don’t in most other parts of my life. It also, like skateboarding, demands a certain kind of in-the-moment consciousness that we could all use more of! It carries you to people and places you would never have met or seen otherwise. It is the best!
What will you draw tomorrow?
Deer bowing to tourists in Nara Park, Japan.