Chris Sickels is an illustrator from Greenfield, Indiana. He rides a 1965 Harley-Davidson Pacer, a 175cc two-stroke with unabashed nicks and dings. We visited Red Nose Studio where his world of sculpted puppets and miniature environments line the walls and crowd his desks.

Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio

Chris creates three-dimensional scenes built strictly for photographic illustrations that will later be utilized in magazines, books, and other marketing collateral. Two particular pieces commanded our attention. One is a dapper, gangling fellow on a fictitiously elongated BMW and the other is a café racing character on a gritty Norton. The latter features a headlight made from a Dremeled-down eyeglass lens, some faux-rust for convincing patina, and a tiny-but-accurate pudding bowl helmet atop an oddly proportioned rider, all contributing to the awkward authenticity of Chris’ work.

Red Nose Studio Clutch and the Norton

Red Nose Studio Clutch

The scenes are sketched before the characters are sculpted, followed by paint and hand-sewn clothing. Then, a set is built around the characters in preparation for a final photograph.

Chris Sickels at Red Nose Studio

We found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of eyes, frozen in the emotion that Chris assigned them. We scanned every square inch of the studio, imagining what kind of strange realm these red-nosed creatures were created for.

Red Nose Studio Characters

That tugboat on the top shelf (below) was featured in the children’s book, “Here Comes the Garbage Barge.”

Red Nose Studio Characters Chris Sickels

It’s fun to spot when Chris’ interest in vintage motorcycles creeps into the unique and intricate world of Red Nose Studio. This rusty airhead was altered and skewed to fit its equally extended rider whose coattails flap dangerously near the rear wheel. The copper tank is a thing of beauty, in a distressed weathered kinda way, complete with a flaking BMW roundel.

Red Nose Studio

Many, many drawers hold parts and pieces of discarded and disassembled toys, typewriters, gadgets and appliances. For backdrops, he sometimes uses what’s around the studio; in the pic below, the hanging background is his marked-up and stained desktop.

Red Nose Studio

Chris Sickels Harley Pacer

When Chris tells people he rides a Harley, we’re sure they don’t picture this little ring-dinging Pacer. At Good Spark Garage, we like to consider ourselves resourceful, so when we see things like the hand-made rear rack and custom passenger pad, we say out loud, “cool.”

Chris Sickels 65 Harley Davidson Pacer

Chris Sickels 65 Harley Davidson Pacer

Chris Sickels 65 Harley Davidson Pacer

Chris Sickels Harley Pacer Red Nose Studio

Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio

If we told you about a guy who rides a Harley, sits in a barn and makes demonstrative little puppets all day, well, Chris is the opposite of what you might imagine. He’s a proper family man, a hard worker and a polite motorcycle rider/tinkerer.

To learn more about Chris Sickels’ work, visit


7 Responses to Artist Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio and His Harley Pacer

  1. Steve says:

    Awesome job really neat video , Cory and Casey, and very cool work Chris .

  2. joseph schock says:

    nice work keep it up, but do not forget that your harley is an inexact copy of the dkw/ifa/mz . Merry xmas 22 déc 2011

  3. Sean says:

    Another great job guys.

  4. Jim Rush says:

    Really nice Chris! Jim got a kick out of how you made the tires spin on your puppets harley-

  5. Chuck Rekow says:

    Just amazing! Great job all around!

  6. Kirk Frink says:

    Very cool video about a very cool artist. Kudos to all involved in bringing Chris’s work to a public forefront. Will be bookmarking to see future projects.

  7. Jim Clinger says:

    Right on! Chris Sickles is a huge inspiration to me. Do what you love to do – the rest falls into place. Love his vision/work.

    Great video too. Bravo!

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