21 Helmets: Art opening at See See’s new shop

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See See first opened its doors to the public back in June and they’re moving already. Why? Shop owner Thor Drake has big plans for See See. The new location is in a slightly less shady neighborhood and will include one of those premium hipster coffee shops. The PBR sponsored party on December 9th will showcase 21 Bell Custom 500 helmets that have been painted by 21 different artists. If previous See See parties are any indication, you won’t want to miss this.

Thor rounded up 21 artists and gave them this prompt:

“Strangely enough, it was the death of “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1935 that inspired a doctor from England to study the high death rate from motorcycling during that time. Not-so-strangely, they found out that wearing protective headgear dramatically improved chances of surviving a motorcycle accident.  Fast forward 75 years and (in most places) helmets are a mandatory practice; tuners, customizers, racers, and even the average joe have come to wear helmets atop their one man machines. Naturally, helmets began to match the machines and the personalities of those aboard. We invited 21 artists to customize 21 Custom 500 Bell helmets as if they were the pilot of any imagined machine of there choosing. And by “customize,” we mean paint, polish, draw on, and generally adapt this mug in any way they choose. Keeping (for the most part) in mind it still needs to be worn at some point for safety (maybe).”

A full-sized flyer with artist listing and full info is in the gallery.

  • isambard

    You might want to point out that this is in Portland!

    • Erica

      you would think mentioning that it’s at SeeSee motorcycles would make that obvious.

      • runrun

        unless your world doesn’t revolve around portland.

        • isambard

          Or you don’t know where every shop that opened within the last six months in the U.S. is.

          Just trying to be helpful.

          • Erica

            they’ve been making bikes a lot longer than that. It was a storefront that opened up 6 months ago.

            • isambard

              More power to ‘em. I’m assuming they’re lovely guys who don’t rely on the “Don’t you know who I am?” approach to business, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to remind people where they are.

              • Sean Smith

                “A full-sized flyer with artist listing and full info is in the gallery.”

                I put that there just for you. They’ve even got a Portland address on the flyer.

                • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

                  Portland, ME?


                • Sean Smith

                  No, but Portland, ME is home to Allagash, makers of what I consider to be some of the finest beer ever made. Mhmm.

                • isambard

                  For the love of Jesus Sean if you’d just look at the flyer you would see that it doesn’t mention Portland anywhere!

                  I didn’t mean to start a big debate about the merits of Portland versus every other fucking city in the world or expect to have to defend myself for pointing out a simple oversight.

                  /rant. Sounds like a fun event. Sorry I live more than 1,000 miles away. Fuck off, the lot of ya…

        • Erica
        • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

          exactly. I mean, they haven’t even mentioned See See on any of the Portlandia clips I’ve seen. See? Portland’s adorable, but yes, this is the www. We don’t know everything in every charming burg.

          • Thom

            See See ( what ? what ? ) Portland(ia) . Hipster Coffee shop . Art ( yeah right ) Fart Helmets . Erica here ( I’ll assume she’s connected ) with the attitude that the entire world revolves around Portland(ia) and could give a rats behind what each and every miniscule attempt at creating a viable business there is doing ?

            Errrr. No thanks . I’ll spend my time and money somewhere a bit more …….. how shall we say ……. authentic , serious and a hell of a lot less pretentious and ‘ Hipster ‘ . Hip I can live with . ‘ Hipster’ ? ( which stands for nothing)


            Portland . Once genuinely Hip , rapidly descending into Portlandia ‘ Hipster’ irrelevance .

            • Will

              Thom’s comments are becoming worth the subscription price alone. Any chance he can get a column here, HFL?

              • Jon B.

                Thom is, certainly, the Bike Snob NYC of this corner of the motorcycle world.

                • Thom

                  @ Jon B. & Will

                  Why thank you very much ! Compliments whether intended or not appreciated

                  As well as giving me a good chuckle . Molto Grazie

                  Though I’d say more ‘ Discerning ‘ than ‘ Snob ‘ but there you have it .

                • rohorn

                  The Seal Of Disapproval would approve of that.

              • Thom


                Here’s a though in line with Will’s comment

                We can create the ‘ BikerAnarchist ‘ column , with me playing ‘ Devils Advocate ‘ as well as the voice of experience to you guys ( since we know I’m older than all of you ) creating some damn fine and interesting arguments as well as having a few good laughs overall .

                Just a thought mind you :o) As well as a good laugh !

                Damn Will and Jon B. got a good chuckle out of me today !

            • Erica

              No need to get all huffy Thom. As an aside, did you decide to spell your name like that or did your parents really make you go through childhood as Thhh-om?

    • Ben NYC

      Portland Maine or Portland Oregon?

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray


        • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

          I was joking, something tells me he was serious.

      • Gene

        Sandy Blvd? That’s down by Daytona Beach, isn’t it?

    • Gregory

      Portland is the centre of the world. Do they actually ride motorcycles anywhere else?

      Commute all year, baby. Rain. Wet leaves. Maybe 40 Fahrenheit. Gray clouds for most of the year. It’s perfect for full leathers and a reflective vest. Take motorcycling dork-dom/ bicycle hipster culture to its maximum.

      We feel pity for the poor bastards in Vancouver and San Francisco that have to suffer through their “I’m the _real_ West Coast” complex. We know where it’s at.

      No one appreciates a summer day more than an Oregonian.

      Portland, OR
      2008 Kawasaki KLR 650

  • Frosty_spl

    I hope there is a helmet with a bird on it.

    • Scott-jay

      … me too; ’cause this piece went right over my low-flying head.

      • Thom

        Not to worry . Nothing ‘ went over ‘ your head .

        You’re missing nothing cause there’s nothing to miss .

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      Of course there will be birds; its Portland(ia)!

    • Sean Smith

      I’m totally putting a bird on my bike.

      • Thom

        I’m giving See See the ‘ Bird ‘

        • Bronson

          I flip squids the bird

    • ike6116

      the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.

      • whoisthor

        i put two birds on my helmet.

      • Mike

        you’re a jerk. now it’s stuck in my head.

    • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

      thank you SO MUCH for taking it there, so gracefully.

      • Thom

        Sorry there pinkyracer , but being a Joisey Boy and having lived in NYC I aint got much in the way of grace I’m afraid and it had to be done


        • MotoRandom

          Like those wacky orange kids on MTV? You’re just an older, crankier version living in America’s ground zero of urban coolness KANSAS CITY because you’re too HIP for Gotham? Oh, it all just makes so much fucking sense now.

          • Thom

            Oh dear me a smart acre , young buck rises to the fore in a pathetic attempt to insult and get my ire up .

            My apologies MotoRandom if in fact reality is too difficult for your Hummingbird mind to grasp ahold of : as well as any concept of discerning taste being well and above over your head .

            And ahhh FYI I didn’t leave NYC out of choice boy wonder , but for job ( the wife’s ) reasons . KC being a temporary layover whilst putting into play the next and hopefully final move of a very long 7 years . But again , thats reality & responsibilities and like I said I’m guessing both are a little beyond you at this stage of your young and fragile life

            Hopefully you’ll grow out of it . But maybe not . Plenty of others have remained entrenched in Adolescence .

            Apologies again their if my vocabulary is a bit beyond your means as well .

            • Gregory

              I’d ride to Kansas City– Missouri _or_ Kansas– to go for a ride with you… if you’d buy the cups of coffee, of course. Let’s invite the other HFL wankers to see if they go long-distance in winter.

              We could turn it into an HFL photograph spectacular.

              What else is there to do in a December?

              Portland, OR
              2008 Kawasaki KLR 650

    • Tony T.

      Oh barf *coins*

  • george_fla

    Should turn out to be purty danged ‘ol kool.

  • Thom

    Just had myself a look see at See See’s site

    They’re joking ……… Right ?

    What a load of pretentious , worthless dreck .

    I know why they moved . The last neighborhood booted their asses out due to lack of substance ;-)

    • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

      Totally worthless. Just look at this piece of shit:


      And a motorcycle party with free beer, cool art, and cute girls? What a joke. I’ll be at home masturbating to my awesome message board posts, thank you very much.

      • Thom

        If thats the grand total of your life ( booze bikes n’ broads ) and the only thing able to get a rise out of you , you and your significant other have my deepest pity .

        And anyway smart ass I was commenting on their products and business , not one or two pretentious attempts at pulling off a ‘ Hipster’ Wanna Be Party .

        I’ll hold to my opinion as well as to why they’ve moved , and include their inability to respect their neighbors and neighborhood to the list .

        • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

          Actually I don’t even drink. I just think it’s cool they’re doing it.

          “Doing it” being the focus. There’s very little, if any, “wanna be” to what See See is doing. They’re DOING IT. Starting and running a successful motorcycle oriented small business takes balls, brains, and talent in this economy. Have you been to the shop? Neither have I, and I’m not gonna hate on it because it’s in Portland or I perceive it to be hipster or whatever. Remember that you’re basing your opinions on a look at their website and some things you’ve read on the internet. I have met Thor and he happens to be a down to earth nice dude who loves and rides the hell out of motorcycles.

          So, why so much disdain for someone’s attempt to put on a fun motorcycle related event that even happens to glorify (a modicum of) safety and art at the same time? Why so much disdain for someone trying to make it in the motorcycle industry? We should be rooting these guys on, not pissing on their every move. It’s okay to be critical but for fucks sake man, sometimes I wonder (I think we all do) what your agenda is. Little good comes of all that negativity.

          Anyway, It’s my understanding that there are many reasons for the move, including a better location with more potential foot traffic and space to include a coffee shop. Sounds like a smart business move to me. I, for one, wish them all the best. Incidentally, I probably won’t be able to make it down there for this opening, but I wish I could to check out the new shop for myself.

          • Brad W.

            Andy pwned Thom

          • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

            His name is THOR, he’s gotta be a rad dude!

          • Gregory

            The old, original, neighbourhood is a dump of an industrial square kilometre, squeezed between an express way, a train track and an industrial neighbourhood. The old Mississippi Neighbourhood is gone and moved uphill. It’s next door to a few parking locations for industrial logistics firms (trucks) and the local water bureau.

            That being said, it _can_ be cool in a Portland industrial chic sort of manner. There’s a boutique brewery and a boutique furniture store, both, near by, as well as a nice, clean subway station.

            All the best with the new location. I’ll head down there tomorrow morning to see what the news is.

            Portland, OR
            2008 Kawasaki KLR 650

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        zing!!! Andy “Sharpshooter” Gregory strikes again!

  • RSassi

    Cynicism and intellect and skepticism are so readily confused, by people who ride motorcycles.

    It’s funny how when we use the word “hipster” it’s assumed to have this grandiose power that places it beyond, whiter than white. It’s such a vague meaningless false criticism it pollutes more than it contributes.

    Helmet art is one great way for creative people to generate a little extra income and has a long pedigree within motorcycling. I don’t see what is negative about this initiative.

    • whoisthor

      well said, Its going to be a fun event.

      • RSassi

        Thanks. Let us know when next you’re looking for artists. I personally would love to get into helmet art.

        • whoisthor

          maybe do more for the One Show this year.
          hit me up with some of your work.
          cheers, t

    • isambard

      Cynicism and intellect and skepticism are so readily confused, period.

      “Hipster” remains a valid and pointed criticism of plenty of folks who think conforming to a rigid dress and behavior code makes them better than the rest of us.

      Creative hipsters with something real to contribute can laugh the insult off, I’m sure.

      FWIW I always wanted one of these: http://visualfunhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/brain-motorcycle-helmet.jpg

      • Thom

        ” creative hipsters with something real to contribute … ”

        Placing Real and Contribute with the moniker ‘ Hipster ‘ is in fact an Oxymoron .

        The very definition of a ‘ Hipster ‘ is one who stands for nothing , contributes nothing and in fact is nothing more than a conglomeration of ” HIP ” styles over the decades with none of the substance or thought that went with it

        Perhaps you’re confusing ‘ Hip ‘ with ‘ Hipster ‘ which in fact are two very different things

        What you’re describing in your quote is ‘ Hip ‘

        Damned pedantic of me I’m sure , but lets get our terms straight .

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      May I refer everybody here to the theory of Hipster Relativity?

      Just because somebody who lives in the city doesn’t wear baggy pleated khakis with white sneakers from Walmart doesn’t make them some kind of shallow airhead.

  • Brad W.

    I would love for something like See See to open in my city.

    They did something simliar to this with Darth Vader helmets at the Warhol Museum here and it was cool as shit. I would be even more fired up about motorcycle helmets

    • Thom

      Well hell Brad , for all the talent ( or lack thereof ) that it’d take , open one up yourself

      No talent , ability or skills needed , you only need convince the parents or inlaws to loan you the money like they did and have a go at it . Just don’t be surprised if you wind up just where they’re heading , which will be bankruptcy proceedings

      • Brad W.

        No man, I’m good. I would rather sit at home and hate everything.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        Thom, it’s going to be okay. Just because Thor is young, races dirt bikes every chance he gets, wears skinny jeans, hustles events like the one mentioned in the article above, likes sporting dainty scarfs while riding, and is working his ass off to build something of his own in a down economy, you know what? None of that makes you boring. You’re perfect just the way you curmudgeonly are.


  • Mike

    Thanks for Going There, folks.
    I had assumed Silverlake due to the frequency of LA- or NY-centric news here.

    PBR-sponsored? Are you serious? That is so not local.

  • T Diver

    See See just opened a shop in Silverlake. See you there. They said Thom is not allowed unless he wears skiny jeans.

  • matt

    I went to theonemotorcycleshow last feb at it was super cool. Great crowd – It seemed that most if not nearly all of the local racers, and their friends, showed up along with some hipkid fools for sure. Can’t throw a rock in this town without hiting one. That said, the one show was outstanding, regardless of your level of cynicism. A huge part of that was the amount of effort that went into pulling all of the bikes, people and the space together to make it happen. I’ve never met thor, or any other see see person, and I don’t know much about their business, but I’ll go to check out some painted helmets since I live here and their last event was really great.

    also – their previous location was a mostly out of the way industrial area, the new one is on one of the busiest streets in town – really a terrific spot for a moto shop. Location is important. They didn’t go for a west-side, fancy high dollar spot, instead the sandy street location will make it easy to reach from everywhere, pretty central.

    I remain a fan until there’s a good reason to not be.

  • kneepuck

    Wow. My subscription lapsed so I could not read comments until now. Great entertainment. Some guy passing comment on a group of people he has never met about a shop he has never been in. I had thought age bestowed the ability to know when to pass judgement. But it is so much easier to plung full into the world of unfounded stereotypes.

    See See is trynig to generate interest in new and novel ways. They could have had a bog standard ‘open house’ with some lame punch bowl and a couple cookies.