D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012

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Lot 35AR
(B. 1978)
First Born, 2012

£ 10,000 - 15,000
US$ 14,000 - 20,000
D*Face (B. 1978)
First Born, 2012
1978 Honda CB550

Built in 2012, this 1978 CB550 has been de-tabbed and de-lugged, and has a hooped frame with bespoke strengthening plates. The air box has been removed and the battery and electrics relocated. Engine internals have been refreshed and the motor is fitted with velocity stacks and a 4-into-2 hand-rolled exhaust system. Other noteworthy features include a hand-formed metal tank and seat hump with hand-stitched leather cover and a one-off paint scheme; hand-made alloy swinging arm; and Morad flanged alloy wheel rims. Offered with a V5C Registration Certificate.


  • Provenance
    Collection of the artist, London

    Please note this lot will be moved back to Bicester Heritage immediately after the sale.

    Personally customised by globally renowned street artist D*Face, these three exceptional motorcycles are evocative symbols of the defiance and daring that has characterised D*Face's practice since his emergence in the early 2000s. Once taking the bricks and mortar of the urban environment as his canvas, First Born, Spoiled Brat and Green Terror are a trio of resplendent machines that flaunt their unique, hand-crafted finishes, transformed by the British artist into fully-functional, dynamic works of art.

    Across a practice that has consistently challenged the status quo and sought to subvert the images and figures of popular culture, D*Face has established a wholly unique and recognisable style that has decorated buildings and canvases from Los Angeles to Tokyo. Stripping away the superficiality of pop, working across sculpture, painting and prints, he has risen to be one of the most eminent street artists celebrated in contemporary art circles alongside Banksy, Shepard Fairey and JR.

    Elegantly painted and glistening with chromed details, the present motorcycles evoke the golden age of motorsports, conjuring the image of Lotus' John Player Special Formula One cars of the 1970s and 80s, and the green "hippie" camper vans of California and Woodstock. From the hand-stitched, quilted leather seat of First Born, to the timeless patina of Green Terror, the attention to detail on these bikes testifies to the creativity of their engineer, making them only more unique and desirable as true one-offs. Injecting three "off the peg" frames with his characteristic flair, D*Face has branded them each with his signature winged lightning bolt – a feature that appears across his practice – on their hand-rolled tanks; a Romantic emblem that calls to mind not only D*Face's murals, paintings and stencils, but also the thunderous and electrifying sensations roused by the engine notes and freedom of flying down the open road.

    The motorcycle has long since been written into Hollywood lore, an icon of countercultural freedoms and youthful rebellion ever since Marlon Brando made his screen debut in the original outlaw biker film The Wild One in 1953. Further popularised by the likes of James Dean, Steve McQueen and Hunter S. Thompson, the image of the motorcyclist has been transmuted into an icon of subculture, fashion and punkish nonconformity. Fastidiously restyled as café racers, the present three motorcycles wonderfully attest to the heritage, style and audacious spirit of the motorcyclist. This avant-gardist energy has long since been a driving force in contemporary art, a field full of renegades and revolutionaries. It is of little coincidence that artists including Salvatore Scarpitta, Olivier Mosset, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince and Sylvie Fleury, to name but a few, were and are passionate about motorcycle and motorcar culture. D*Face's customised motorcycles are but the latest in a long history of artist vehicles, from Andy Warhol's BMW Art Car to Matthew Day Jackson's dragster project, that combine a conceptually driven visual practice with the experiential power of the automobile.

    A passionate rider and founding member of the 'Rebels Alliance,' a motorcycle club based in Shoreditch, East London, D*Face's First Born, Spoiled Brat and Green Terror reveal a close relationship between D*Face's artistic practice and his love of motorcycles, having previously exhibited Spoiled Brat in his show 'New World Disorder' in London in 2013. United under the banner of art, the individuality and originality that earned D*Face such acclaim over his meteoric career is channeled in each respective motorcycle; works of art in their own right with unique stories, temperaments and details.

    Distinctive symbols of resilience and character, this represents an opportunity to acquire vehicles of extraordinary provenance, coming from the workshop of D*Face himself. Standing out from the crowd, these special motorcycles give new meaning to the term street art, belonging on display as much as they do on the road. Embodying the striking, disruptive spirit of D*Face's artistic practice, First Born, Spoiled Brat and Green Terror are bold, statement pieces without equal, by one of the most celebrated street artists of the 21st Century.
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
D*Face (B. 1978) First Born, 2012
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