MATTHEW SEELY / FABRICATOR. METALMORPHISIST. ZEALOT PIPE DREAMER.
"It's really hard to say what one thing brought me here, I mean, motorcycles have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But what really got me involved in choppers was Jay Steffen. I was a dumb 14 year old kid when Jay rolled into the local dirt track and freaked me out. Full-on tattoo sleeves, Hatebreed t-shirt, wallet chain, totally rad triumph chopper complete with sketchy brakes and a general "fuck-off" vibe. In a time before chopper television and way before bank tellers sported neck tattoos, Jay was far from your average guy and soon became my role-model. He was usually found in the back of the shop at Ward Performance playing hardcore bands from a beat up old cassette while changing oil and doing inspections on customers Goldwings - but at night, he would be chopping vintage bikes, partying, hitting the races, just living by his own set of rules. This was a lot for a kid of my age to take in at the time. It's all been said before, but its so true; Choppers are freedom, fashion, art, expression, dangerous, loud, and very far from practical or even a good idea for transportation. Logic has nothing to do with it. It's all about that feeling, the look, the sound, the respect for the history of these old machines. Jay had it all, and in a way that I had never seen before. At that time, choppers to me were like what you see in Easyrider, old bearded guys on stretched knuckleheads, not punks like him destroying tires and scaring people. I needed that. It was all way too heavy to just dive in head first. It took a few years before I would even start building a bike of my own...
Luckily when I did, I met a very influential man by the name of Lee Osborne. Living legend, sprint car hall-of-famer, and hands down the BEST fabricator I will ever meet. He really helped me strive for perfection in everything I did, leaving my mind blown with how simple he made the most challenging tasks look. He is the reason I have such a respect for taking my time, doing things right, and seeking true honest tools and equipment from a time when quality was far more important than quick profit. The guys who used to build these bikes did it in an age way before the digital CNC mass-produced world we live in today. It gave these bikes soul. Not to mention the older, slower methods of fabrication were far more accessible to a young kid like myself on a shoestring budget.
Building a bike from nothing more than a pile of useless discarded worn out parts is a crazy experience. I feel as if I have never truly been successful at it yet. I've had fun and I've learned a lot, but I still have so much to learn, new things to try, I can never truly master this craft. It's everything and nothing, a hard drug to kick. I'm not a biker, I'm a fabricator who just love's old bikes."
I couldn't describe Mat's passion for his work with human verb-age. He is insanely talented. Mat's determination to use old line and minimalistic gear and his unremitting dedication to his work are what really highlight his style and his skill. If you're looking for a true piece of artwork to ride and/or drive that will be designed and built with arduous craftsmanship - he is the one to go to. You can see it in his work and you can hear it in his voice after only seconds of conversation. If you'd like to collaborate, reach out, or talk biz you can do so here.
Mat and I are planning to do a progressional photo session in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!
Images 1, 2, 3 & 5 photo credited to Charlie Becker with black and white edits by Ashley Updyke. Images 4 & 6 to Tyson with black and white edits by Ashley Updyke.