Punks with heart: Hammer & Cycle’s art auction brings in the wheels

A piece by Even Dent for Bikes for Brats.

A detail from a watercolor artwork by Bundy O'Shanahan. The artwork will be part of Hammer & Cycle's third annual Bikes For Brats charity art auction.

A couple of years ago members of the Hammer & Cycle bicycle club made a deal with Chet Buchanan of KLUC. They’d raise enough money to donate 200 bikes to the Chet Buchanan & the Morning Zoo Toy Drive, and Buchanan would play 30 seconds by metal band Slayer on the Top 40 station.

That required the bicycle group—a collection of “punk kids who refuse to grow up”—to double the number of bikes it delivered the year prior. No problem. Last December, club members wearing their colors and cuts loaded up a motor home, a van, four trucks and a car-hauler trailer and delivered 315 bicycles. Slayer was played. Everybody cheered.

JW Caldwell poses by a ceramic vessel by artist Miguel Rodriguez that will be part of Hammer & Cycle's third annual Bikes For Brats charity art auction.

Their secret? Art. Club members with connections to the Las Vegas art community sent out word that Hammer & Cycle needed works to auction off for its second annual Bikes for Brats Art Auction. Local artists Sush Machida, Shawn Hummel, Amy Sol, Erin Stellmon, Justin Favela and Joseph Watson were among the artists who donated, along with members of the bicycle club who had mad skills of their own.

Though the battle for the artwork got a little heated inside Alios on Main Street, where the auction went down on an evening that carried all the social and inquisitive spirit of a gallery exhibit, most everyone walked away happy—and with ridiculous steals.

Third Annual Bikes For Brats

On November 8, the Bikes for Brats Art Auction returns to Alios with last year’s artists and others contributing works from within their arsenals or creating bike-related pieces specific to the event. There’s a lot to fight over, including standouts by Mark Brandvik, Brent Sommerhauser, Evan Dent and Elicia Aslin. But for Hammer & Cycle, it’s all about the endgame.

“A lot of people in the club came from lower-income households,” says JW Caldwell, a Las Vegas artist and member of Hammer & Cycle. “We know what it’s like to not get an awesome toy for Christmas. With bikes,” he says, “it’s sort of their first taste of freedom and independence. Plus, we don’t want to have to have kids steal their first bike.”

Bikes For Brats Art Auction November 8, 6-9 p.m. Alios, 1217 S. Main St.

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Kristen Peterson

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