All Eyes on Josh Payne

Tattoo Artist Josh Payne

Tattoo Artist Josh Payne. Photo by Tavares Shirley.

If you don’t know who Josh Payne is, you’re missing out. His colorful and outlandish tattoo work is taking the industry by storm and we were lucky enough to run into him at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA.

Josh a veteran tattoo artist and owner of Ascend Gallery in Cortland, NY. He purchased his first tattoo equipment when he was just 16 years old and began tattooing in his mother’s kitchen. “I started as wrong as you possibly could,” he says. “I fixed a lot of shit as I got older.” Now, 13 years later, Josh has made quite a name for himself as a tattoo artist and his work has been turning heads on Instagram so fast; he’s been causing an online whiplash.

When we saw Josh at the show, he was tattooing a fantastical mad-eyed eagle on an eager client in the bowels of the Queen Mary. Despite the stuffy atmosphere, incessant questions and passing eyes, Josh was completely down-to-earth and approachable with a boisterous, infectious laugh. His carefree, go-getter personality makes sense since he’s a rider too. Josh owns a 1979 Harley Sportster, which has been transformed into an original bobber. Just like his tattoos, his motorcycle is a work of art. He may have sacrificed form for aesthetics though, as he says the bike is “back breaking” if ridden too long. “I pretty much just ride it around town, here and there. It’s a bar hopper,” he jokes.

Josh doesn't do small, simple pieces. He does big, colorful work that makes a statement. Josh did this piece at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA.

Josh doesn’t do small, simple pieces. He does big, colorful work that makes a statement. Josh did this piece at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA. Photo by Tavares Shirley.

Of course, anyone who can rump around town on a kidney-killer is bound to be brave. It’s this bravado that makes tattoo conventions fun for Josh, rather than daunting. “I love tattooing at conventions,” he says. “There’s something about being out here in the spotlight that I enjoy. It’s stupid fun getting to meet all the people that look up to you and know your work. Four or five years ago, I was that guy, getting meet the other dudes they I looked up to. It’s crazy and surreal that people know who I am.”

But conventions are not all fun and games for Josh. He averages 15-16 hour days at conventions, especially at Ink and Iron, since he was booked solid, mostly because of his presence on Instagram. “Instagram has been amazing for this industry,” he admits. His client for Sunday at the show was a kid who actually had one of Josh’s earlier tattoos and this tattoo was one of Josh’s viral sensations.

Josh's 1979 bobber.

Josh’s 1979 bobber.

For Josh, it has been a backward, humbling spiral. The more experience he gets, the more the pressure mounts. “Everybody gives me these rave reviews, saying that they love my work, and I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” he says. “I feel like the more people that know who I am, the more scared I am that I need to work harder.”

Josh is one of those good-neighbor-type guys that is super easy to be around. That, paired with his artistic ability, makes him the ideal artist if you’re interested in getting some more complicated, bigger pieces of body art done. If you’re going to spend hours with an artist, you want to know they care and are as passionate about your tattoo as you are.

Josh is quite an inspiration because he doesn’t believe in coasting a short distance on natural ability, but rather throttling forward with a passion and desire to be better at his craft. “I feel like every day I just want to be better than I was yesterday,” he says. “I feel like I’m starting to figure out what I’m doing and just scratching my potential, so I’m excited to see what the next few years bring.”


Inspired by Chicks on Bikes: A must read!

This book reminded me of who I really am.

This book reminded me of who I really am.

Reading the book – Chicks on Bikes – by photographer Christina Shook, reminded me of a trip I took to the Women on Wheels rally in Michigan in 2007. What I saw there made me look forward to getting older and it made me realize some of the best moments of my life could happen after the age of 60 as long as I have a motorcycle.

Women rode solo and in groups to the rally from several states away, across thousands of miles of open highway through rain, traffic and uncomfortable temperatures just so they could commune and laugh with other women like themselves. They rode GoldWings, fully dressed Harley Davidsons, Can Am Spyders, sport bikes and pretty much anything with two to three wheels. It didn’t matter how big the bike was or how small the lady was, most of these women rode with the same finesse it takes to pilot an airplane. Some of them were frail, some of them were young, some of them didn’t learn to ride until after the age of 50. Some of them had been riding their entire lives. I was only 26 at the time riding demo bikes for Kawasaki. The funny thing was these women impressed me just as much as I impressed them. This mutual respect between my generation and theirs made the Women on Wheels rally a benchmark in my motorcycling career.

Samantha Morgan was a runaway who rode a motorcycle on a wall when she was just 15. Just like Sonora Webster who dove horses in a swimming pole, this women proved that life is limitless despite injury.

Samantha Morgan was a runaway who rode a motorcycle on a wall when she was just 15. Just like Sonora Webster who dove horses off a tower and into a swimming pole, this women proved that life is limitless despite injury.

Chicks on Bikes reminded me of the amazed and inspired feeling I had when I attended the rally. When I saw these women, they each seemed so powerful to me in their own way. They didn’t care what anyone thought of them. They just rode because they wanted to, some because they had to. Life couldn’t stop them. Time couldn’t hold them. They could go anywhere they wanted and be anyone they wanted as long as they had two wheels.

A motorcycle does for women what steroids do for men, but without all the nasty side effects. A  motorcycle enhances a woman. It makes her sexier, stronger, happier and more resilient than she ever could have been without it. A motorcycle can make a woman independent, indelible, persevering, determined, motivated, adventurous, unafraid of loneliness and sublimely happy. It doesn’t matter if she was cheated on, has cancer, was abused in the past, if she was laid off or fired from her job. It doesn’t matter if she was a burn victim, a soldier with a missing limb, a mother who lost a child. Nothing matters. It’s amazing how a combination of wind, wheels, motor and open highway can have more healing power than any medicine on the market. A motorcycle is as close as we can get to the other side while still breathing. Motorcycling is the ultimate way of life and it’s the Chicks on Bikes who get to live it.

A peek inside: Melinda Moore lived and died on two wheels but if her soul could speak now, she'd probably say the journey was worth it and not to mourn because she died doing what she loved.

A peek inside: Melinda Moore lived and died on two wheels but if her soul could speak now, she’d probably say the journey was worth it and not to mourn because she died doing what she loved.

The women in the book made me remember all the women I’ve met and learned something from while riding motorcycles. It’s these women who taught me to never settle for a dead end. They have proven there is always a trail, a road, a path to get to where I need to go. For women, motorcycles can carry us to places that would otherwise be unreachable.

Christina Shook not only took photographs of so many unique and amazing women, but she also learned a little about them, lessons of which she wrote on the pages alongside the unforgettable smiles of the women in her photographs. Christina captured them and brought out their spirits in ways most male photographers would overlook.


Christina Shook is the author of Chicks on Bikes and a rider herself.

Christina Shook is the author of Chicks on Bikes and a rider herself.

The book Chicks on Bikes gives the reader a glimpse of women riders in their true forms at a time when they were or are happiest and strongest – a time when they’re riding a motorcycle. Christina Shook’s book will keep the memories of these women alive long after they’re gone. Their legacy will thrive on the pages of Chicks on Bikes and they will continue to inspire us as motorcyclists for years to come.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the photos, purchase a copy here.

Photos for review by Salvador Maltbie

Words by Rachael Maltbie


An Aftermarket Exhaust Singing a Legal Tune!

Kess Tech’s electronically controlled ESM2 slip-on exhaust systems are now available state side only through Glendale Harley Davidson.

Oliver's 2011 FLT Touring model equipped with the new KessTech ESM2 electronically controlled exhaust system.

Oliver’s 2011 FLT Touring model equipped with the new KessTech ESM2 electronically controlled exhaust system.

Since federal regulatory agencies have started cracking down on the aftermarket scene, it’s getting harder to customize your motorcycle, at least legally. With the noise bugging the neighbors and emissions standards favoring environmental friendly vehicles, modified motorcycles have been facing a slow and cumbersome demise. But not anymore, thanks to KessTech.

Each system has an engraved stamp, which is basically it's legal passport for the road.

Each system has an engraved stamp, which is basically it’s legal passport for the road.

Based in Germany, KessTech is a thirty-year-old company dedicated to creating exhaust systems with legal, yes, legal sound performance for Harley motorcycles. Based on a technology gleaned from the automotive industry, KessTech has created a line of electronically controlled exhaust systems to include the ESM2, ESM1 and MMV slip-on systems.

Oliver Shokouh, the owner of Glendale Harley Davidson, is a member and former president of the C.M.D.A. or California Motorcycle Dealers Association. The association has 155 franchised motorcycle dealer members. “Our purpose is to improve motorcycling in California for dealers and motorcyclists,” Oliver said. “We track new legislation and sometimes we produce new legislation. We have a special program for insurance, workers compensation, safety issues, D.M.V. matters and we offer many other benefits to our members. We are also in tune with legal requirements and laws pertaining to motorcyling, including emissions and noise standard policies.”

With his proactivity in motorcycle legislation, Oliver felt passionate about getting KessTech to the states. So he joined ranks with Rob Harrison, who is a specialist in motorcycle and automobile sound and exhaust emission certifications in Calfornia and the U.S. to legalize the ESM2 electronically control sli-on exhaust system in California. “He certified our exhaust noise levels as per E.P.A. standards and verified we are indeed within the allowable decibel limits for the federal standard (of 80 decibels) which mirrors California noise standard for motorcycles,” said Oliver. To find out more about how decibel tests are conducted, click here. With Harrison’s help, the ESM2 passed with flying colors, but is currently only available for the Harley Davidson Touring 103 or FLT models through Glendale Harley Davidson.

Here you can see the flaps or valves inside the mufflers that can control the sound at the press of a switch.

Here you can see the flaps or valves inside the mufflers that can control the sound at the press of a switch.

“We figured the market was best with this model,” says Derrick Meador, a Service Technician at Glendale Harley Davidson. “Kesstech has several exhaust systems for several models but we started with this one to test the waters.” Each ESM2 slip-on exhaust system is made of stainless steel and has a laser engraved stamp specifically for Harley Davidson Touring 103’s. Oliver, the lawyer and Christian are still working to expand availability of KessTech exhaust systems for all Harley models.

The valve inside the exhaust can be opened and closed with a push of this button (bottom left). When it's lit up, be ready to hear something amazing!

The valve inside the exhaust can be opened and closed with a push of this button (bottom left). When it’s lit up, be ready to hear something amazing!

How ESM2 Works

The ESM2 exhaust system has a valve inside each muffler that is open and closed electronically by an actuating arm. This actuating arm allows two electronic modules that are wired into the system to talk to each other and tell the valve when to open and close. By pushing the button on the right side of the handlebar, the modules tell the valve to open (button lit) or close (button not lit).

When the rider pushes the button in, it lights up and within a quarter of a second, the exhaust valve opens and a unique, crazy-amazing sound can be heard! The exhaust valve is legally open in all gears except 2nd and 3rd, making this sound always and completely legal under the 80 decibel limit! Plus, the rider enjoys a three percent horsepower gain with the valve open!

When the button is not lit up, the exhaust valve (or flap inside the muffler) is closed, thus quieting the engine so as not to wake the neighbors during an early morning departure. Fortunately, the closed valve has no effect on horsepower, so the rider doesn’t have to compromise performance for the sound.

This is an internal view of the ESM2 system. Low maintenance. Legal sound. Great look. Can't beat it!

This is an internal view of the ESM2 system. Low maintenance. Legal sound. Great look. Can’t beat it!


KessTech recommends that only KessTech dealers install the ESM2 systems, due to the electrical work involved. “We have to wire the system to the handlebar so the vehicle speed and r.p.m. reading can reach the exhaust control valve electronically,” Derrick says. The installation takes longer than normal, but the benefits are worth it.

How Much Is It?

Since it is illegal to remove the catalytic converter on a motorcycle, the KessTech stainless steel ESM2 exhaust is available as a slip-on system only and carries a heavy estimated price tag of $3,000. This estimate does include shipping and installation, however. This, of course, is way above the average $400-$500 slip-on price, but the exhaust does also come with a four-year warranty that covers all exhaust components, with the exception of cosmetic damage. The exhaust also requires little attention other than a quick check during maintenance intervals by a Harley Davidson certified technician.


The ESM2 exhaust system is available in chrome and matte black and different end caps are available as well to each system can have a truly individual look.

The pipes tuck into the frame nicely for a sleek, clean look.

The pipes tuck into the frame nicely for a sleek, clean look.


The KessTech ESM2 system was installed on Oliver’s 2011 Limited Touring 103 (FLT) which will be at Glendale to view. Another ESM2 system was also installed on a new 2014 Touring 103 model, which is currently touring dealers to demonstrate the exhaust system’s one-of-a-kind sound. Once it’s done with the tour, the 2014 Touring 103 will be displayed on the showroom floor at Glendale Harley Davidson and an additional demo unit will be equipped with the exhaust so customers can experience the sound before deciding to purchase the KessTech system for their own motorcycle.

Click here to find out more about Glendale Harley Davidson or here to read more about KessTech exhaust systems. “With the benefits of being legal and the sound that KessTech produces is well worth the time and the money,” Derrick says of an exhaust that continues to drive people crazy every time they hear it!

Viva La Biker Beauty!

So excited about my Biker Beauty hoodie!

So excited about my Biker Beauty hoodie!

Biker Beauty is a clothing line inspired by strong women, tattoos and motorcycles. In a narrow market where clothing choices for women riders are limited, Biker Beauty is a new, trending apparel company that is gaining popularity amongst the female and even male motorcycling crowd, no matter what they rie!

Ranessa Villalba, founder of Biker Beauty clothing, found her calling six years ago after her knack for creating unique and fresh designs was discovered through a shirt she printed and sold at a swap meet. The shirt coined the phrase “Make-up, Men & Motorcycles.”

It became so popular, she printed more shirts with this phrase and they sold out a week after. This inspired her to create the Biker Beauty clothing line and she’s steadily been creating new apparel designs since. You can find Ranessa representing Biker Beauty at local bike nights and events, mainly to show that sexy women ride bikes too! “I started riding about 12 years ago and us ‘biker chicks’ were always known as butch chicks. So it was a way of showing everyone that we can ride and still be beautiful,” she says.

Ranessa is known for her ability to create edgy, sexy designs for women who ride, much of which have “women power” themes blended with day of the dead and urban ink undertones supported by powerful, contagious anecdotes or sayings.

Biker Beauty’s best seller to date was a shirt that boasted the phrase “I ❤ Badass Boys, Badass Bikes, Badass Tattoos.” The shirt sold out fast and since then, there have been no re-prints. “It’s kind of like a limited edition,” Ranessa says. “The only design that has been reprinted is ‘Make-up, Men & motorcycles.’” With these shirts being rare and only available through Ranessa’s website, this makes her apparel lucrative and sought after in person.

Biker Beauty is still growing with every design Ranessa prints to a shirt. Who knows? In five years, you may see Biker Beauty clothing in a boutique style store. For the time being, it can be found through Ranessa’s online store,, or by purchasing directly through Ranessa if you happen to see her out and about.

Ranessa is also a proud supporter of Breast Cancer awareness and she hopes to create a non-profit organization through Biker Beauty to help the families of those afflicted by cancer. Additionally, Ranessa uses Biker Beauty to support local bike clubs and can be found at many of their events and fundraisers as well.

The Viva La Mujer is my new favorite sweater. I love the design and I look forward to when people ask about it.

The Viva La Mujer is my new favorite sweater. I love the design and I look forward to when people ask about it.

I recently obtained Biker Beauty’s most recent popular item, the “Viva La Mujer” hoodie. The “Viva La Mujer” design features a beautiful woman with purple flowers throughout her wavy, black hair and her face is painted in sugar skull make-up. The phrase “Viva La Mujer” is laced beneath her in cursive font. The sweater is made from 100 percent cotton and is comfortable, warm and comfy. It is the perfect garment to add to your wardrobe this winter if you’re a woman, a bike lover, a man lover, a tattoo lover, hell a lover of anything that would empower a woman to say, “Give me more!”

As a fan of all things tattoos and Dia de los Muertos themed, this hoodie won me over before ever trying it on. “I chose this design because ‘Viva La Mujer’ is a strong woman,” Ranessa says. “In our bike scene, women aren’t recognized as they should be. We are in a male dominated sport.  ‘Viva La Mujer’ is my way of saying, ‘We are here, we are riding and we won’t stop! Women ride and we ride in heels! We’re a force to be reckoned with!”

You can purchase the Viva La Mujer hoodie as well as other apparel and accessories with many other cool designs at the Biker Beauty online store.

Ranessa, beautiful as ever on her Harley.

Ranessa, beautiful as ever on her Harley.

A Little About Ranessa:

Ranessa Villalba is a tenacious, empowered, strong and business minded woman.

A motivator of women. That's Ranessa.

A motivator of women. That’s Ranessa.

Ranessa is a mother of two children, a son (eight years old) and daughter (three years old). As a native of Whittier, CA, she’s adept to year-round sunny weather and spends much of it outside riding her 1973 Harley Davidson Ironhead.

She has one tattoo, which is also Dia De Los Muertos themed. “It represents the beauty in all women,” she says. Her tattoo artist is Dreamer of Distinctive Ink in Pico Rivera, CA.

Was that a biker in a corset?

The more flamboyant, the better. That was the rule at the Inland Empire Corset Run.

The more flamboyant, the better. That was the rule at the Inland Empire Corset Run.

Have you ever seen both men and women bikers riding down the road wearing vintage corsets, crazy wigs and other garments most sane individuals wouldn’t dare be caught wearing in public? During the Inland Empire Corset Run, bikers do just that and for a good cause too.

The Inland Empire Corset Run is an annual motorcycle event that started in 2010 when Jackson Dodd of Skip Fordyce Harley Davidson in Riverside, CA, asked Terri King to create a way to bring female riders together in honor of Women Riders Month, a time of year Harley Davidson has dedicated to women who ride motorcycles. Terri, who has worked in the motorcycle industry for as long as she can remember and is a motorcyclist herself, is an Ovarian cancer survivor and she says the event has come a long way since 2010. “I only had three weeks to plan it when it started,” Terri says, who began planning the Corset Run while

Even the water bottles wore corsets.

Even the water bottles wore corsets.

still helping to organize the West Coast Thunder event. Despite the time crunch, the first Corset Run was a hit….literally. “We caused a couple of accidents with people doing double takes and I thought ‘oh no, this is not a good way to start!”

The motorcycle ride begins at Skip Fordyce and ends at Big League Dreams in Perris, CA. While on the ride, the bikers stop at beauty salons, boutiques and accessory stores to celebrate womanhood while sporting their burlesque corsets. At each stop, every rider has the option to roll the dice at Yahtzee for a chance to win a $150 gift certificate good toward Harley Davidson parts and accessories.

After the ride, 1,000+ riders converge on the vendor area where there’s a huge BBQ, an all female rock band playing songs specifically written for the event, a dunk tank, a corset contest and a dedication ceremony for the survivors in attendance. “The set up is different than most other charity events,” says Candace, a representative from the Thirty-One Gifts vendor booth. “It really intrigued me a lot.”

The guys can't miss out on the fun, can they?

The guys can’t miss out on the fun, can they?

But during the past three years, Terri has worked out the kinks. Attendance has quadrupled since 2010 and with 50+ vendors on site, Terri has created a board to help her organize everything. “It’s such a wonderful event that has so many people interested,” she says. “What better way to celebrate women and independence than to donate money to a good cause like breast cancer.”

With that revelation, Terri and the board joined ranks with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to use the corset run as a means to raise breast cancer awareness. All proceeds earned during the event are donated to the foundation. The response has been so amazing, Terri and the board are in the process of creating their own foundation just for the Corset Run.

Anyone who attends this event is bound to see or experience something they won’t forget and if you’re into busty garments, the wind in your hair and donating money to a worthy cause, you can find out more about the Corset Run at

Facebook photo reel

So there are a lot of photos of moto-inspired tattoo pictures I post to our Facebook page and not here. The main reason for that being it seems social media does more to drive a following these days than an individual website. If you look at the number of views to this page, I could be mistaken. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a compulsive Google searcher with a taste for the savory sight of fresh ink on riders or models for that matter. Draw from that what you will. If you like the pics you see, I upload more daily to our Facebook page and they can also be seen on instagram @motoinked. So like us with the button to your right ===> if you’d be so kind. Thank you.

Different Bore, Different Stroke – Meet Chris Gibbany

Chris Gibbany from Harrison, AR. Look at those nails!

Chris Gibbany from Harrison, AR. Look at those nails!

I love people who are different. I’ll forget a conversation with a normal person almost immediately after it happens. But when I meet people who are quirky, awkward, outwardly and uncomfortably jovial or even eccentric, you can bet I’ll never forget them for the rest of my life.

When I got this email from Chris Gibbany, I admit my initial reaction was a mix between bewilderment and utter fascination. I’m bewildered because I’m amazed people like her still exist and I’m fascinated because secretly (shhhh…don’t tell), I’d do anything to be just as zany and awesomely unique as she is.

People like Chris are exactly what draw me to the world of motorcycling and the realm of tattoos. Finally, I have a melting pot of culture I can finally fit into. We can be as crazy as we want to be, free as we want to be. We can ride how we want to ride and represent ourselves, our families and our lives in our ink. 

Chris is uninhibited in her way living, bound by nothing other than a love for tattoos and bikes. Read on to find out more about this rumbling Goddess and Mistress of the Woods. Born of a different bore and a different stroke, this push-rod-powered phenom lives a simple life hunting and building bikes with her husband, and get this – raising 25 hedgehogs. No, I’m not kidding.

Chris, an avid hunter, shows off her tattoos.

Chris, an avid hunter, shows off her tattoos.

“My name is Chris Gibbany and I live in Harrison, Arkansas.  I LOVE motorcycles and tattoos- so much that I am doing a sleeve totally related to bikes and motors. All my tattoos are motor-related. I love Chevys and have a 1978 Z-28 that I used to drag race and have owned over 20 years.  I also have a 1981 Corvette (represented in ink through the flags on my back) which I have owned 13+ years and was/is my “daily” driver when I need to go somewhere or I can’t ride a bike.

I presently have four motorcycles – a Yamaha TW enduro (which is for sale to buy more Harley parts) and three Harleys including a 1981 Ironhead, a 1956 Panhead and a 1939 Knucklehead.  My husband Gabe and I built my 1981 Ironhead after I designed it and we are almost finished with my 1956 model that I am building to combine the new with the old.  The 1939 is a project for next year.  I have been riding since I was 16 and have been riding Harleys for about five years now. I started on a 1970 right-hand shift Ironhead!
The sleeve I am working on right now features my 1956 Panhead motor and under it is a semi-portrait of it’s front end profile.  All of my black and gray work is done by my artist, Dessa Blackthorn from Tattooz by Sassy out of Mountain Home, Arkansas.  I have won several contests with the piston tattoo she did on my shoulder. My husband and I are both gearheads. He has several old Harleys as well as some really old trucks.
Chris's custom Panhead

Chris’s custom Panhead

We are super frugal and make a modest income. We put everything we have into our passion.  We don’t have children, television, a dishwasher, a microwave, etc.  We line dry clothes and I shop once a month for food and essentials spending just $100 a month for the both of us.  The only meat we eat is what we kill as we are both avid hunters and fishermen.  We are fixing to raise chickens as well.

Things you may not know about me?:
I was an extreme couponer for five years before it became the “norm” and I have been asked to be on two television series- one for couponing and the other because I raise hedgehogs and have 25+ of them.
We live a REALLY different life than most people but are passionate about our bikes and our ink!”
Some Riding Shots of Chris on her Harley creations:
Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn from Tattooz by Sassy out of Mountain Home, Arkansas

Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn from Tattooz by Sassy out of Mountain Home, Arkansas