The Third Annual Dave Mann Chopper Fest is in the books. The seaside fairgrounds in Ventura, California were the site for this event, where we enjoyed sunny skies and mild temps. While other events with a longer history are trying to recapture their strong attendance numbers from past years to no avail, the Mann Chopper Fest is increasing in rider attendance and in the number of vendors set up along the parking lanes and in the fairgrounds buildings.
While it wasn't a somber occasion, there seemed to be an underlying degree of respect from those who came to the event. There is no question about the influence that Dave Mann wielded on many throughout the formative years of growing up around custom bikes. Dave's artwork first appeared in the small pages of Ed Roth's groundbreaking magazine Choppers in the form of posters for sale. These small posters are coveted today by collectors worldwide, though they may seem a touch crude when compared to his later work, which appeared in the pages of Easyriders magazine.
One of the reasons an artist is admired and his art collected is his ability to capture and impart emotions to the people. Dave Mann was a master of emotion, whether the emotion was excitement or angst, and his two-page paintings in the centerfolds of Easyriders, along with the many one-page story illustrations, inevitably ended up on display in thousands of homes, offices, and garages around the world.
We'll never know the depth of Dave's work, although the crowd that gathered to check out the custom bikes, drink beer, listen to music, and check out motorcycle parts on this Sunday in December showed their respect. David Mann will live forever in our minds and on our walls.