Chris Gibbany’s Moto Sleeve Tattoo

Words by Chris Gibbany

me and bike 3
“This is my half sleeve dedicated to my 1956 Harley Panhead, the second bike I have designed and am building.   All tattoo work was done by the talented Dessa Blackthorn aka “Sassy”, owner of Tattooz by Sassy in Mountain Home, Arkansas, who specializes in portraits, realism and watercolor tattoos.  It took a total of five sessions to complete the work.  Each session was about 3 hours long.
Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn of Tattooz by Sassy

Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn of Tattooz by Sassy

When I first formed the idea of the tattoo (all my tattoos are gearhead related), I knew I wanted to start with my Panhead’s engine and our motto “Old Iron Never Dies.”  When I went in for the second session, we added the front end profile of my bike, which is really special to me.  A few years ago while designing my bike I fell in love with this particular front end while surfing the internet. I didn’t know anything about the front end at the time, I just knew that I had to have it for my build. I later found out it was a Spartan springer, so I ended up contacting George Counes, owner of Spartan Frameworks who hand crafted this awesome Spartan riveted springer to fit my Chica gooseneck frame.  At the time I was going to just pay with a credit card but found out he only accepted cash and I had to have it to him within 30 days.  To make a long story short, I sold all of my guns that year in order to pay him for this magnificent piece of work that is on the front of my bike.  What better way to commemorate a piece so great than to have it permanently inked on my arm.

After rolling several ideas around, Dessa and I agreed to finish up my tattoo with 4-speed gears from my tranny, my antique license plate on my bike and we added more motorcycle chain.  Dessa had inked a piston and chain tattoo on my shoulder about 8 years ago which has won several tattoo contests, made a couple magazines and even made an appearance in Sara Liberte‘s book “1000 Biker Tattoos.”
My 56 Panhead, which I named “Panacea” (a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases) was built in my living room.  I slept beside it for almost three years, had it there while having coupon parties and even when we had our house up for sale.  I still have people ask from past parties if I still have the bike in the house.  Nope, now my Knucklehead is in the house!”



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.

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