A Mecca for Great Art and Artists

By Cody Ertman

When thinking about where to find great works of art, museums, galleries and cigar-stained walls come to mind. But surprisingly enough, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip features top artists for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally year after year. The artists that travel here leave a clear mark of unique art in the area that is particularly noticeable.

The 40th anniversary of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip brought into the fold several great artists from around the world to showcase their work to The Best Party Anywhere® crowd. Here are a few of those artists:

Russell Murchie

Photo courtesy of Russell Murchie

Hailing all the way from Australia, renowned moto artist Russell Murchie was commissioned to create the limited-edition poster for the Buffalo Chip’s 40th Anniversary. Murchie is the definition of a well-rounded artist who lives the biker lifestyle. He’s been riding for 26 years and will find literally any reason to go for a ride, even in the dead of winter.

Murchie’s design for the 2021 poster really grabs the attention of the viewer with big, bold colors and the illusion of motion and depth. When commissioned for this piece, the only direction he was given was the inclusion of a crystal ball. The Buffalo Chip wanted to signify that the future of the 2021 rally was more certain than it was in 2020 when no one could tell what the future might hold. Considering this request, Murchie incorporated the crystal ball showing ZZ Top and the good times ahead at the Chip in 2021. Murchie was beyond thrilled to create this piece.

“When the email first came through, I thought it was a joke,” said Murchie. “I contacted fellow art guy Darren McKeag and asked, ‘Dude, do you know these guys? Is this real?’ I’m absolutely stoked. It’s a huge honor to have been given the opportunity to create the Buffalo Chip’s 40th image.”

Russell’s work can be found on Instagram at @russell.murchie.

Darren McKeag

Darren McKeag is a legend in the moto art community and has been creating art since he was knee-high to a paint brush. His one-of-a-kind style, which he refers to as “McKeag Art Style,” features elements like tattoo flash and black and white stippling. He says it’s “an entire food processor of everything I’ve absorbed in 54 years of life.”

Darren has been a part of the Sturgis scene for 30 years, and this year he created several distinctive pieces for the Buffalo Chip and Sturgis. Like his friend Russell Murchie, Darren was also commissioned to create a poster. In partnership with Sturgis.com and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Darren also crafted an incredible take on the crystal ball theme featuring a grim reaper looking upon bikers riding and having a good time at Sturgis.

Get your poster here.

In addition, Darren created the piece “Ride Or Die,” which was auctioned off in support of the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride® on Aug. 10. The piece is the definition of “McKeag Art Style” featuring tattoo flash and a statement true to the moto lifestyle that Darren lives each day.

Photo courtesy of McKeag Art

“Basically ‘Ride Or Die’ means if I can’t have my motorcycles to go ride and live free, I might just as well be dead,” said McKeag. “It comes from my experience living that lifestyle – partying, riding, sleeping in the ditch, and I’m excited to be bringing that to the Legends Ride crowd to raise money for good causes.”

Find Darren’s work on Instagram at @mckeagart.

Savannah Rose

Photo courtesy of Savannah Rose

Moto influencer and artist Savannah Rose dove head first into art and learned on the job. Years ago, while working in social media, she was handed a camera and was instructed to create her own content. Since then, Savannah has become an extremely well-rounded artist, content creator and event photographer with a vision to further women in motorcycling.

Savannah is the founder of Maiden Moto Art Show, a travelling art show featuring all women artists. For 2021, Maiden Moto Art Show made 10 stops throughout the country, the largest of which was at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip free-access CrossRoads during the Sturgis Rally.

Photo courtesy of Savannah Rose

“A whole lot of art shows are primarily male artists, and with all these girls and women involved in the motorcycle industry, I wanted to get exposure for them,” Savannah says. “I think they deserve it ’cause women are not as big of a portion of motorcycle riders. And as a travelling show, we’re able to get these talented women in front of people all over the country.”

The Maiden Moto Art Show at the Chip featured work from gifted women in photography, tattooing, painting, motorcycle building, leather work and more. The show also featured live art to allow people the opportunity get a rare glimpse into process and talk with the artists as they work. All the works in the show, including Savannah’s photography, were showcased on custom metal displays that she fabricated herself.

Learn more about the show and meet the artists at MaidenMotoArtShow.com. Savannah’s work can be found on Instagram at @themouseandthemoto.

Did you catch up with any of these artists while you were at the Buffalo Chip? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Presented by the Buffalo Chip Gazette & Sturgis Rider News

Get the most out of your Rally vacation with the Buffalo Chip’s souvenir print publications, the Buffalo Chip Gazette & Sturgis Rider News. These highly sought-after publications, produced in partnership with the Rapid City Journal, will arm you with all the Sturgis news stories, event and concert information, educational guides and fascinating features to keep you informed, entertained and up to date while on your trip. Get your free copy at locations across the Black Hills.