In late May – early June 2010 Canadian artist James Lahey and his brother rode the length of the legendary Route 66 on their BMW motorcycles.

Canadian artist James Lahey rode the length of Route 66 on a BMW motorcycle

Starting in Chicago and ending in Santa Monica, the epic journey took eight days.

Of course, Lahey observed the landscape and the riders’ place in it with both a painter’s eye and a camera lens.

Click to enlarge; Navigating Man, 2010 © James Lahey

He subsequently produced a brilliant body of paintings and photographs based on the trip, titled Eight Days.

A brilliant body of paintings and photographs based on the trip titled Eight Days

At top is a detail of Red Rider, Mule Trading Post – Missouri from the “Navigating Man” part of the Eight Days series, a 7 ft. tall mixed media work on canvas.

The juxtaposition of the motorcycles, riders and road signs is rendered in vivid splashes of color lending the paintings a Pop Art feel, yet this is no mere Warholian homage.

Click to enlarge; Orange Rider, Missouri, 2011 © James Lahey

Perhaps because Lahey actually laid the rubber rather than merely using motorcycles as a motif as many do, the work has an alluring authenticity and the real spirit of the famed road.

An alluring authenticity and the real spirit of the famed road

Naturally the fact that he’s exceptionally talented has something to do with it.

Exhibited at a number of museums, Lahey’s work can be found in numerous private and public collections.

Click to enlarge; © Michael Cullen / Trent Photographics, courtesy James Lahey

In 2001 he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy.

The Nicholas Metiver Gallery in Toronto has some of Lahey’s work

The Eight Days series, accompanied by a catalogue and limited edition folio of photographs, was on view at the Nicholas Metiver Gallery in Toronto (above), and some of Lahey’s pieces are currently available there.

The prices are on request, but we honestly don’t think you can afford not to buy one….

– JPS


Click to enlarge; 66R50/2 California, © James Lahey