by Camille Panetta, staff writer
photos by Wyatt Pace
Freshman Zac Selix has had a love of motorcycles and art ever since he was a young kid and grew up riding dirt bikes. Upon coming to Warren Wilson College he formed an art collective called Harum Scarum with a few of his friends who also like motorcycles. Since then the group has grown to have over 25 members and is a conglomeration of people who live on and off campus that meet on a weekly basis to discuss and do art collaboratively. Even though everyone in the collective has a passion for motorcycles, only about a dozen of them actually own a bike. They also spend more time having craft and movie nights than working on motorcycles. According to senior Loren O’Rourke, who is a part of the collective, “it’s more of a coincidence that everyone likes motorcycles.”
The collective focuses on being a supportive group where people can collaborate with each other to make something beautiful. Building up bikes for them is an art form, with such a large amount of people with many different skills—the collective has everyone from potters, to painters, to leather workers, to mechanics—they all come together to build bikes up from scratch.
“Building a bike is like painting,” said Selix. “You have an open canvas you can make it however [you want to] also learning about how [the motorcycle works], taking apart an engine [and] seeing all the parts involved [and] how everything works together as a machine [then] putting it back together and making it run.”
His favorite part about building a bike is “seeing the person’s face you’re working on [the bike] for, when they first get on the bike and [are] riding for the first time.” It makes him say, “Wow! this is what I’m going to do forever!”
Another thing the collective tries to accomplish is to promote safety on the road. They encourage their fellow members to get their license and take safety courses so that they can all go out and ride in a safe manner.
“Riding in a group is much safer than riding by yourself,” said Selix. “It doesn’t matter what you ride just that you’re having fun.”
When the members are not making art or out riding, they are hosting benefit shows in hopes of raising enough money to rent a warehouse in town so they can have their own shop. When they accomplish their goal they plan to become a non-profit organization that spreads positive awareness about motorcycles and motorcycle safety. They also hope to promote sustainability.
“[I ride because] it’s cheap and efficient, you can buy a bike for $2000 dollars and only spend about $100 to $150 on insurance each year,” said O’Rourke.
Selix agrees with him saying “[Motorcycles] cut down on emissions and on gas and oil consumption.”
As well as spreading awareness, the collective will use their space to host art shows and skills workshops so that more people can get involved.
The collective is currently working off campus on a 1971 Honda CV4 Fishy that Selix’s grandfather gave him a while ago. They have taken it all apart, have cleaned up the frame and are figuring out what parts are broken and what parts they need to buy. They love the team effort that goes into it, from working with people who are really good at painting engines to working with the people who know the art of leather so they can get a seat made.
If anyone is interested in joining Harum Scarum for their weekly meeting, send an email to Zac Selix, Loren O’Rourke, Frankie Secret or Cameron Abrams. The collective meets almost every Sunday at 7 p.m. at Static Age Records in Asheville.