Albie is an artist born and bred in London to Filipino parents, he grew up in Notting Hill, a special area of London known for its diversity. Albie’s life is just as diverse, in a day he would be teaching boxing to his Irish traveller extended family, mingling at a VIP event, hanging out in Portobello eating yummy street food, riding around town with biker friends, and in between all the activity, feeling inspired and creating artwork.
How would you best describe your art?
I celebrate motorcycles and the people who ride them.
My hand crafted pieces are of custom builds, vintage motorcycles and the colourful characters from the biker community. The art is printed in various sizes on Heavyweight Paper and Metal, shipped worldwide.
What were you doing before you became an artist?
Before I became a full time artist, I used to help run nightclubs in Mayfair and Chelsea. The kind of places where celebrities and VIP’s would hang out and party. It was a great time.
When I got my Harley-Davidson in late 2014, everything changed. All I could think about was bikes - reading about them, studying the history, buying loads of parts to customise my H-D, learning basic mechanics, meeting up and riding out with fellow bikers, and of course creating motorcycle inspired art pieces.
In January 2015, I made the bold move to quit the party industry and become an artist. My girlfriend Holly (who also rides) likes to party, so we go out now and again when in London. Gotta have balance, you know.
I knew I was on to something cool when Back Street Heroes magazine wrote about my first biker painting. Since then, I’ve been written about in books and magazines, had numerous exhibitions, and my art has homes all over the world.
Do you miss working with oil paints and marker pens?
What is most important is that I create. It doesn’t matter whether working in oil paints, pencil, metal, I just love to create.
My partner Holly and I (along with our doggie Arty) travel back and forth from London to our home in West Sussex a lot, so finding time to do an oil painting in the garage was a challenge. It actually hindered my creative process as layers took up to a week to dry. Commissions would sometimes take months to complete which is not ideal.
With marker pens, the situation was a little better as I could create anywhere and the markers dried instantly. However, this meant carrying a massive bag of 200 markers with me and rolls of paper. Working this way wasn’t kind on my back!
My art is now digitally drawn with my iPad Pro, and suits my lifestyle where I can get ideas down relatively quick. The time taken for a piece is still 12-20 hours, which is the same amount of time as working on a painting.
For one-off commissions and Metal prints, I will now be offering the option to hand embellish pieces with paints and mixed media, for a truly one-of-a-kind artwork.
What do you love about working on art digitally?
There are many advantages. I can work from anywhere without carrying any materials, nor do I have to worry about the drying time of paints.
Although the iPad Pro is the size of an A4 piece of paper, I calibrate the digital canvas to A0 which is sixteen times bigger. The prints are super sharp and beautifully detailed.
Do you work on anything else aside from motorcycles?
I do love portraiture and often feature people in my work. Landscapes and cityscapes would be exciting to explore too.
What kind of obstacles have you faced during this journey?
The biggest obstacle is definitely the business side. The question that needed answering was, how can I give value to customers so I can continue to do what I enjoy?
I’ve found that selling prints of my work makes it much more accessible for people to purchase my art. The art comes in various sizes and materials to suit people’s budget and space (available from my website www.AlbieTheArtist.com)
The best compliment you have ever received about your work?
A couple of magazines called me the “Motorcycle World’s Artist-In-Residence”. That was kinda cool, and a massive honour!
Tell us what you have got in store for your art exhibition at Krazy Horse?
On Thursday 26 September, we will be celebrating motorcycles and the people who ride them through art.
20 biker art pieces will be on display amongst the Indian, Norton, MV Agusta and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Make your grand entrance to the show! Bikers are welcome to join the ride out to the exhibition from Central London. We are meeting at 5pm just behind Tate Modern (The Gallery, Unit R1, Bankside 1, Southwark, ENG SE1 9TG). We will depart 5:45pm sharp and All About Holly will lead the way to Krazy Horse London.
I will be taking pictures throughout the evening of people and bikes, so I could use for my next art pieces.
And of course the night will be fuelled by Pistonhead Lager.
RSVP via my Facebook Page “Albie The Artist”