Immortalized in the AMA Hall of Fame: A tattooed artist flaunts her moto art

Alicia doing some painting

Alicia doing some painting

Alicia Jean Vanderelli is an artist living in Columbus, Ohio. Some might know her as A.J. but either way, her art work is freaking awesome. She’s been painting for more than twenty years and is covered in tattoos. So of course we had to find out more about her.

Alicia went to school for art and graduated with a BFA in painting from Columbus College of Art and Design. Her work is so unique yet refined in nature, it caught the attention of Ric Stewart, the curator for the Two Wheel and Motor Fine Art Exhibition at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He asked Alicia to paint for the exhibit and an article was published in the October 2013 issue of the AMA’s American Motorcyclist magazine that featured Alicia painting live for spectators outside the exhibit. “I was honored to have the opportunity to participate and show my art with so many talented artists,” she says.

Alicia may not be a rider, but her art definitely has a salient presence in the motorcycle industry. She does have a history with bikes, however, as her dad rides and her uncle collects bikes and raced back in the day. “Bikes have always had a presence in my life,” Alicia says. “Besides, motorcycles are sexy.”

Another cool thing about Alicia is she has so many tattoos, she lost count. “To say exactly how many tattoos I have is difficult,” she admits. “I have roughly 120 hours invested in my tattoos.”

Alicia, as featured in the October 2013 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine for her work at the AMA Hall of Fame.

Alicia, as featured in the October 2013 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine for her work at the AMA Hall of Fame.

Alicia did mention her favorite tattoos were done by Joey Knuckles at High Street Tattoo, Dan “Rev Dice” at Sweet Baby Octane, Fernando Diaz in Mexico City, Mexico, Jim Peticca in Greensburg, PA and Mikey Jenkins in Atlanta, GA. Despite Alicia’s artistic gifts, she prefers to give the tattoo artists autonomy over the work they do on her skin. “I did have a tattoo started in 2002 from a design I drew,” she remembers. “But I prefer to collect work from the tattoo artist’s hand, not my own.”

So why didn’t Alicia become a tattoo artist? Well, she did in 1998. She apprenticed under Tony Olivas from Sacred Heart Tattoo in Atlanta, Georgia, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her. Her paintings have such an elegant feel to them. They’re abstract yet simple, fluid and in depth. It’s obvious she made the right choice by sticking to what she loves.

Outside of the AMA Hall of Fame, Alicia’s work won’t be found in any galleries as of yet, but you can find one of her paintings hanging in the Strongwater Food and Spirits bar in Franklinton, Ohio, as well as another location in Ohio. “I do have a studio space at 400 West Rich in Columbus, Ohio,” Alicia says. “I have several paintings hanging on the walls throughout the building.” 

If you’d like to check out Alicia’s paintings at 400 West Rich at a time where there are no events in the building, you can contact Linda Dice at 400leasing@gmail.com. Otherwise, you can find out more about Alicia and her art at www.ajvanderelli.com.

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