A nameless Mexican, etching away at her skin. Flakes of silvery blood floating down onto concrete, waiting for the wispy sweep of a tattered shop broom. Her name, Bloody Mary. A drink? A beautiful girl? A masterpiece balanced on two disks of rubber and metal? At first glance, she’ll smile. A second take pulls you in, and before you know it, you want to throw your leg over, slide on top of her, and feel what’s she’s got to give. Don’t jump to conclusions. This ain’t no free ride. Whether you want to drink her in or take her for a spin, it’ll be a stroke of creativity you won’t soon forget.
Mary is the latest creation of John Shope, builder of “Seether Chopper,” illustrious winner of the 2008 Chopper Challenge and owner of Sinister Industries. The intimidation factor of picking the brain of a tough guy gone legit seemed to be a force to be reckoned with, but like many illusions, an outspoken biker’s bark is louder than his actual bite. Our conversation started with me ensuring Mr. Shope that anything that he requests stay off the record will in fact, stay off the record. I’m no Wikileaks by any means. But what I’ve learned of the journey leading Mr. Sinister to his latest brainchild was an unpredictable force of nature called life. Growing up in the ’70s “biker lifestyle,” take from it what you wish, John’s exposure to the scene planted seeds that were fertilized by circumstances unforeseen. Let’s just say it involved the transportation of two semis loaded to the hilt with contraband and a young man who became a scapegoat. This, sprinkled with a dash of Canadian Mounties, equaled time in the big house, eh. As a matter of fact, 12-and-a-half years worth of scapegoating. But like those special few portrayed in Hollywood narratives, a talent was discovered. In the pen, besides defending himself in knife fights, John spent a great deal of time sculpting—you guessed it—crowns, bridges, and implants. An exceptionally talented dentist was in the making. Laugh all you want, but artistic talents finally caught up with an equally outspoken persona.
Now you’d think, at the height of the chopper craze, the winner of a highly regarded sled building competition would have the Sinister hotline blowing up. But like the hot chick that never gets asked out, the award got him tons of attention and zero dates. John didn’t get discouraged. He got smart. In one of the hotbeds of the biking industry, he took practical and turned to the bagger world. From the sale of fire-breathing “Dirty Money,” he got started on this dark beauty. If you’re like me and looked at the pictures first, you’ll notice the bandana theme throughout the painstakingly engraved gem. He couldn’t recall the name of the artist, just that he had discovered a little Hispanic man at a Lowrider show displaying his wares. Along with the guy’s son to translate, John was able to ship his find out to Sinister’s home base in Phoenix and oversaw every twist and turn of the etching tool.