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If you’re coming to Chopper Fest next week, expect to see some custom tank work, one of a kind framed illustrations and unique pieces of art to bring motorcycle culture from your garage to your living room.
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A true multimedia artist with some serious natural talent, James “El Waggs” Waggaman’s dual passion for auto & bike customization and illustration have merged over the years into a successful career. His awesome designs propelled him to operate his own shop in San Diego, CA.
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Growing up between Washington, DC and Southern California, Jim, the son of a graphic designer, began creating works of art in his early youth. He started drawing designs on t-shirts with markers and evolved into using paint cans and airbrushes, customizing surfboards, his motorbike, and any surface where an opportunity arose. Friends quickly caught on to his eye for design and brought their own bikes to him to stylize.
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Entirely self taught, he worked briefly in the world of advertising as an illustrator, and was the first in the biz to use airbrushing as a medium. If you’re local to San Diego, you might recognize his work because radio station 91X still uses his illustration as their logo to this day. But throughout his time in art marketing he was still working on bikes brought to him by friends, and friends of friends, and with the advent of computers in modern graphic design, he transitioned out of illustration and into auto design & fabrication full time.
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The combination of word of mouth and his unique style led him to the Hamsters, and in the spirit of creative customization he became both a member and their go-to guy for vintage restoration and custom paint jobs. Through commission requests, he’s branched out into non auto work, creating impressively unique works of art in the form of sculptures, wall hangings and yard art. All inspired by motorcycle culture, he’ll take a vintage gas tank and turn it into a custom painted lamp, or airbrush designs on Milwaukee boots. His latest projects include a menagerie of yard art impressive in scale, including a giant fiberglass rooster which he’ll strip and break down, re-weld and paint in ceremonious Hamster yellow.
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If you’re coming to Chopper Fest next week, expect to see some custom tank work, one of a kind framed illustrations and unique pieces of art to bring motorcycle culture from your garage to your living room!
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