Artist re-imagines women within motorcycle culture

Published: 04 January 2017

Brooklyn-based artist and motorcyclist Grace Roselli is tired of the way women are portrayed within the world of motorcycling and has decided to tackle the stereotypes with her latest photo project: 'The Naked Bike Project'.

Grace, an avid motorcyclist since 1988 who currently rides a Kawasaki Er-6f and Ducati Hyperstrada, was keen to challenge how female bikers are portrayed by society.

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When you think of women in motorcycling you might immediately think of grid girls and professional models that once occupied the centre pages of most bike magazines. They have little interest in bikes, right?

Grace's project focuses on women who ride, and pictures them both geared up ready to ride or in a more methaphorical way. 

Speaking to MCN, Grace said: "I initially created The Naked Bike Project as a way to re-imagine the visual portrayal of women within motorcycle culture. I wanted to  get away from the bikini bike wash, dude’s trophy girl posed on trophy bike, casually misogynistic mindset and flattened out depictions of the epic storm that is female. But as I’ve developed the work over the past year, meeting and listening to the stories of a very diverse group of bikers—I’ve realised that it’s not so much about portraying the visibility of the growing number of female riders, but a change in the very culture we’re in. This is not just about/for women, this freedom of thought is for everyone.  

"I don’t think of Naked Bike as just a photo project. If anything, it’s a performance of gender involving bodies with machines, and I’m documenting the idea with a camera, for now.

"There’s a rich history of women’s bodies, nude and clothed, portrayed in art. Most pieces traditionally have been made by men, but lately by many more women artists. Works of art depicting the female body include: in a lover's embrace, in bedrooms, kitchens, as madonnas, whores, animals, and angels, but never with machines!

"The images of Naked Bike are as diverse as the individuals being portrayed. Some are depicted documentary style: from still portraits to racing photos. Others are metaphorical, involving the language and agency of the naked body. These are women at their most raw, while still at their most empowered and beautiful, providing fresh perspectives on this independent and diverse group of women riders and their beloved machines."

If you're in New York you might see some of Grace's work hanging in Spiegel NYC, otherwise her work is displayed on her website and Instagram feed.

If projects such as this can tempt more women to take up motorcycling we're all for it. And Grace's advice to any budding bikers out there, women or not? "Really learn to ride, use gear, ride safe. Ride your own ride."

 

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