Art Arcinas for White's Boots
Photography by Amanda Leigh Smith
Produced and Written by Claire Everson
Shot on film in Nashville, TN
When Amanda and I walked into Art’s motorcycle shop at Fort Houston, it took all of about 90 seconds before they realized Art knew James, Amanda’s husband and builder working out of Whistler, British Columbia. They hadn't actually met in person, but Art lit up after learning that James, the dude he’d reached out to and emailed back and forth about custom builds was in fact Amanda’s, “James”.
“Oh my god! I had so much fun following your South America ride on Instagram! That bike he built looked like a beast!”, he bellowed.
Amanda told him about some of the hairy situations her and James got into while traveling, and they both got a good chuckle about how small the builder community was.
I poked around the shop a bit, letting the two of them dork out on bikes and dream rides, finding myself taking in deep breaths of the oil and gas smells that brought back smiles and memories of garages of my youth—my dad’s old 76 Chevy, working on a friends’s old ’56 Ford F100 in his garage—they’ll do that, garages. Take you back.
Meandering around the shop, one wall lined with BMWs, Hondas, a Triumph, a Harley and scooter, it was clear Art liked working on ‘em all. Builder and owner of Atlas Motorworks, it was easy to see his dedication to building bikes runs parallel to his thirst for building community. Clearly a passion-chaser working to figure out how to build a life based on what he loves, Art spent as much time rapping about his love of figuring out the next build as he did talking about how much he wants to provide a space in Nashville for riders of all kinds to connect.
Leaving corporate America to step out on his own and build custom bikes, the Nashville native is no stranger to dedicating long hours to build something that matters. He wrenches on bikes while relentlessly striving to provide a space and community for riders from all walks of life to talk shop regardless of what kind of wheels they roll on.
“Our common thread is that we have a passion and a love for two wheels…with Atlas, I just want to bring some unification to all types of riders.”
He told us about the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival the past weekend outside of Birmingham and how he entered into his first flat track race—falling in love with yet another part of the motorcycle world. We talked about the clique-iness of riders, his dislike for the game of self promotion on Instagram, and his dream of opening up a cafe/garage in Nashville for people to hang and build.
Art’s smile is as grounding as his humble approach to business and bikes. He just wants to build something that matters and brings people together. With the garage door always open, people popped in and out during out visit. Other dudes tinkered and asked Art random questions regarding the bike they were working on—the shop dog puttered around, looking half feral, half civilized, a look all of us seemed to be familiar with.
Art works from his shop based out of Fort Houston, a 10,000 square foot creative and collaborative space in Nashville, Tennessee. Complete with a full-scale wood shop, print shop, bike shop, photography studio and miscellaneous work and desk space open to members, Fort Houston facilitates growth, community, creativity and learning with space to work as well classes and events throughout the year. Its a great place to build.
Like almost everyone we met during The Hatter and The Hound Tour the “making” or “building” part of what they do was really about so much more than the actual materials in hand. And you know, what Art is trying to do with Altas Motorworks reminds me of something a professor I had in college once said, “Community building isn’t rocket science, it’s much more difficult. There’s a formula for rocket science.”
It was easy for Amanda and I to see Art has got the will and endurance to figure it out. And I’m not sure if he knows it, but he’s already provided a space for people to connect—the feral and the civilized, the Harley dudes and dirt bike guys, riders and the non-riders alike. I encourage you to pop in sometime and take in the sights and smells of both Fort Houston and Atlas Motorworks. You’ll be welcomed with a smile and Art seems hyped to talk shop just about anytime.
Words by Claire Everson
Words by Claire Everson