As soon as I met Sara Ray I knew she was a “no nonsense” type of woman. The kind you can’t get much bull shit past. And if you try, she’s likely to call you on it. I’ve always admired strong women like her and I knew I liked her immediately.
From the moment she said she believed women should ride, just not in their underwear, Sara made it obvious she has something to say. It seems the old school values of the rip roaring ride ‘or’ die ladies of past might be clashing with the selfie-obsessed, instantly gratifying Instagrammers of late. The ironic thing is, when it comes to tattoos and promoting art, you really can’t have one without the other.
Sara Ray has managed to find a balance between the two through her art. Her work reminds me of what would happen if zombies, vampires and Elvira clashed with the 70’s tide of easy rider culture. Throw in some guitars and paint brushes and that about sums up Sara’s style. Mind you, she will probably disagree with me, but that’s the beauty of art. The onlooker can draw the conclusion after the artist has drawn the picture. In fact, Sara’s work has made such a statement, it was featured in 2014 at the exclusive Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, where the history of motorcycle and the cultures it inspired was on display.
Sara showcased many of her paintings at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach this year. One in particular got my attention. The painting depicted a woman in an old-school bomber-type helmet with arms fluttering around her, as if she were reaching for or possibly tossing aside motorcycle parts while balancing on a fender in black, spiked boots. Ironically, this painting almost seems a perfect portrayal how a woman who rides struggles between beauty and badassery, a battle that is challenging but fun.
After meeting Sara and catching a glimpse of her art, I began perusing the inter webs for her work. I found she does much more than just paint. She’s been tattooing for at least 18 years and doing art for even longer. She also paints motorcycles, the likes of which, have seen the glossy pages of magazines.
She told me she finds “inspiration everywhere,” as she has been coast to coast promoting tattooed motorcycling culture. Originally from Hermosa Beach, CA, she’s now set up roots in Chicago, IL where she tattoos at Maximum Tattoo studio.
What I love most about Sara, however, is she is not just an artist, but a rider. She owns a Honda CB350 that she doesn’t get to ride much anymore but by the tone of her voice, this is regrettable.
If you’re ever in Chicago, stop by and see Sara Ray. She might beat you to the punch (possibly literally if you’re not polite) by participating in a tattoo convention near you, but if you’re in the windy city, her wit and talent are well worth the visit.