Tuesday, June 10, 2014



Have you ever considered escaping the 9-to-5 grind and earning a living by doing something you really love? Only to find that it never actually happens because… (insert one of a thousand reasons here).

That’s understandable. It takes a major leap of faith to leave behind the security of a steady income and a safe job to jump into the unknown and risk doing something more fulfilling.

But American artist Maxwell Hazan did just that.

Until two years ago, this 33-year-old New Yorker was a successful designer based in Manhattan. Maxwell was good at his job, but also dissatisfied with it – his heart just wasn’t in it.

With a little encouragement from his father, Maxwell decided to ditch his well-remunerated career for a less lucrative, potentially more precarious profession – but a job that he was nonetheless extremely passionate about: Hand-building exquisitely beautiful, custom motorcycles.

Maxwell loved making motorbikes in his spare time, a passion he began cultivating years earlier when an off-road motorbike accident left him recuperating on his couch for three months.

During that recovery period, he tinkered with a beach cruiser bicycle by adding an engine to it before graduating to crafting whole motorbikes. Today, such is the beauty of Maxwell’s motorbike building that his creations can legitimately be described as ‘motorised art’.

In the two years since establishing the Hazan Motorworks atelier in Brooklyn and then moving to Los Angeles, Maxwell has never looked back. “I took a pay cut to do something I love,” he says.

And at the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery, we are lucky Maxwell chose to go pro as a maker of hand-built bikes because we have the pleasure of exhibiting his two latest creations: the Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson Ironhead.

Both bikes are one-of-a-kind and both have been built by hand, entirely from scratch, with Maxwell fabricating everything himself except the engines, which are the starting point for each bike.

“Building from scratch allows me to build without compromising the design,” he says. “Every piece goes exactly where and how you want it. You can create something really unique and clean.”

While both the Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson Ironhead are indeed distinguished by their clean design lines, they are both also characterised by subtle frosted effects, hints of patina and retro styling as well as lush, hand-carved wooden seats.

Maxwell refinished the sumptuous seat of the Enfield – inspired by the design of vintage Italian speedboats – no fewer than three times to compensate for the expansion and contraction of the wood.

This perfectionism extends to the Harley. It took Maxwell four attempts to sculpt the Harley’s fuel tank until he felt its proportions were just right. But it was worth the effort. With its silvered finish and tapered form, the gorgeous tank resembles a glorious leaping salmon.

Seeing Maxwell Hazan’s beautiful bikes up close, on one hand, you’ll want to jump aboard and roar away; but on the other, you’ll just want to stand and gaze in admiration. A career change has seldom looked so good!


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