PORTER | When Taylor Ricks was approached by a motorcycle designer from Dayton, Ohio, and asked to paint his bike for a television show, she didn't take him seriously at first.
The manager at Wagner's Ribs thought it was an elaborate pick-up line.
Ricks, a 2007 graduate of Chesterton High School, has a bachelor's degree in art education, and was just doing her job when opportunity struck.
"A customer came in with Curly from Curly’s Custom Cycles and he saw me drawing on the menu board," she said. "He asked me if I had ever airbrushed motorcycles and I said no, but he was looking for an artist that was more traditional, paints with a paintbrush, and he thought he’d give a small-town girl a shot.”
That motorcycle designer, Andy McCaslin, owns a custom cycle shop in Dayton called Porky’s Choppers. Although he was retired for a while, said Ricks, he built a bike from scratch as part of the Discovery Channel show #BikerLive.
When Ricks started receiving paintbrushes and paints in the mail, she knew McCaslin was serious and she traveled to his shop to participate in the show.
"There were six other guys on the crew and the bike was about 90 percent done when I got out there," she said. "They wanted me to paint the fuel tank so, while I did, they were filming me, asking me questions, goofing around the whole time."
McCaslin had a particular look he wanted for his bike he named Miss Understood.
"He wanted it in the style of a WWII bomber plane, so I painted a pinup girl and some retro throwback font letters, and I painted a shark mouth on the other side like they have on the planes," Ricks said.
The show airs Monday at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel, and Ricks said she and her co-workers can’t wait to see her big debut. Ricks said she has her sights set on bigger screens.
"I hope to become an illustrator and animator for Pixar, but, in the meantime, I pencil and paint portraits and murals and do logo design," she said.