Skunk Machine is the result of years of industrial and auto design pedigree and experimentation. You’d be hard pressed to find someone creating unique custom motorcycle work from clay, but Carl is that someone – and he has been pushing the envelope in motorcycle design.
Carl grew up around cars and bikes, with his cousins having always owned and built their own custom hot rods, muscle cars and motorcycles. An early life like this meant little choice but to be fully immersed in the auto industry one way or another. It was these early years that first inspired him to get into car design and prototyping.
This inspiration led to Carl graduating in Industrial Design from RMIT in 1993, and from there his work would take on many forms, most recently working with clay in regards to motorcycle design – a medium usually reserved for cars. “I always loved to think outside the box and spent most of my time in the workshop making models and refining ways to achieve uniquely finished and resolved products. I found clay to be the perfect medium for me. Shapes are infinite and clay allows me to develop my creations until I am full satisfied with the outcome. After Uni, I focused solely on getting into the car design industry. I have now been lucky enough to be involved in the industry for over 20 years.”
This 20-year history in the industry has seen Carl work with the likes of of Audi Germany, BMW Germany, Ford, Toyota AU and Japan, as well as various satellite studios around the world. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some world famous design teams and involved in some very exciting projects.”
After so much work in the car industry, sights were set on motorcycles now. A similar, but different form all together. It was here that Skunk Machine was formed. “Skunk machine evolved into a design focused motorcycle business. I want to set a benchmark in custom styling and differentiate myself from the chop shop cliché to a refined design studio.
I am currently designing conversion kits and accessories for popular bikes. These products are unique to Skunk Machine and will gradually be released for purchase to the public.”
One must wonder however, after years of work on cars, how does that creation and design work translate to motorcycles? “There is quite a difference from working on bikes as there is to cars. Cars have much larger surfaces and the continuity of the form must work in its entirety. Motorcycles on the other hand are more like product design. There are far more exposed parts, which need individual design attention. You see a lot more of the guts of the machine so you can be quite clever how you showcase the items and use them as features.”
“All of this work on the automotive form with clay definitely takes on a more artists and traditional approach. While most will see someone working on bikes chopping and chucking sparks about, watching Carl work is something remarkable unique and refined. “Every product is different and has its own DNA. I like the fact that by varying the form I can create a mood for a bike or car i.e. I can make it aggressive, elegant, or classic.
I can replicate an era within the design such as modern hi-tech or old school classic. I personally don’t look at other bikes too much when designing a new project. I look at things like aircraft, architecture, vintage trains or sometimes nature for inspiration. It is important to know how to set the proportions and simplicity is the key to good design.”
“I don’t like to categorise my builds. I’d prefer to create my own style using the techniques I am comfortable with.
In my career, I have learned many fabrication techniques such as metal fabrication, composite technology, clay modeling and prototype development all learned on the some of the most iconic automobile projects on the road.
This has given me a great advantage when designing custom motorcycles.”
To check out some of Carl’s complete works, be sure to head to www.skunkmachine.com and follow him @skunkmachine and www.facebook.com/skunkmachine