Kelly Campanile’s art is a riot of humor and irreverence. She is known for her an eye for creating engaging characters. Her most popular underground character has no name. It’s more of a psychological study of characteristics. She names it Dog-Demon-Possum.

Kelly is working on the helmet for the Flying Piston Benefit Auction at the Sturgis Rally that kicks off on the Sunday morning of August 4, 2024. She custom painted a monster riding a Flying eyeball.

I asked her, “So, is the Dog-Demon-Possum making it’s debut on the ZR1 full face?” Her response was a simple, “No, I’ve got a relative of the dog and I’d say he’s more elusive.”

It turns out that her second most popular underground character that she is using on the Flying Eyeball goes by the  handle of Wolf-Skinwalker. I’ve got to say that if you win her ZR1 lid at the online auction, it will be a conversation piece! (Check the details about the auction at the Flying Piston Benefit Event Page.)

Kelly Campanile 2024 Sturgis ZR1 Lid with Flying Eyeball

Kelly Campanile 2024 Sturgis ZR1 Lid with Flying Eyeball

Kelly Campanile 2024 Sturgis ZR1 Lid with Wolf-Skinwalker

Kelly Campanile 2024 Sturgis ZR1 Lid with Wolf-Skinwalker pictured

I asked Kelly about her style and process:

Q: How would you describe your artistic style and how it’s developed over the course of your career?
A: I would describe it as a depraved Lowbrow cartoon. It’s improved over the years because of learning how to tattoo has taught me a few things about blending techniques and placement.

Q: What do you do in the motorcycles industry?
A: I like gas tanks. I really like custom gas tanks.

Q: What is your creative process when developing a piece of art?
A: Sure. So its a lot of coffee or a lot of beer, and then pacing, and lastly, a lot of sketching. Once you get that down, I just go for it. And then the painting part for me is the reward, you know, so it’s the prep, that’s the hard part.

Campanile's Painted Motorcycle Tins

Campanile’s Painted Motorcycle Tins

On to 2 Wheels: Kelly’s latest adventure is restoring a 2006 VT600 Honda and getting her motorcycle license. (For those not up on your Honda models, a VT600 is an intro Honda Shadow VLX Deluxe that is recognized as a classic Japanese cruiser.)

Q: What tripped you to get into motorcycles?
A: I’ve always had an interest in the culture, I guess you can call it. But I never had the confidence to think that I could ride myself until recently. I’m not really sure why. I just always thought that I was better off on the visual aspect. But you know, the fact that I’m learning the ins and outs of bikes for now. It’s just, I don’t know, I feel like I’m more involved.
Kelly bought the bike about a year ago. And just started rubbing on it and learning how to fix stuff.

Her brother helped her install crash bars and soon after, the bike somehow stopped getting spark.

Grab the tools, I’m going In: So she started on a laundry list of repairs and troubleshooting that took months and months. As she was looking for spark, she replaced the stator, then the rectifier, and even cleaned the carbs.

Kelly was learning but still wasn’t getting spark.

So she made a call to a guy that new-a-guy and she took it over to the Honda guy. Well, if you have come this far, what’s the answer?

If you said she cut a wire somewhere on the crash bars, then, ding ding ding—you win the prize.

Q: Is it up an running?
A: It is, yeah. And it sounds great!

Q: How did you paint it?
A: I like the way the bike looks already. It’s just a flat black rat rod looking thing. Super Cool.

Kelly’s wicked cool lid is offered at the Flying Piston Benefit Auction on August 4. 2024. Details at the Flying Piston Benefit Event Page.

People ask that all the time, “Where are the New Motorcycle Riders?” Well, we have looked high and low and found them.

Right now, they’re in kindergarten! And we support the sport of motorcycling by starting kids out on the right path: on 2 wheels! Proceeds from the breakfast and auction put bike riding programs into P.E. classes across the US. Also, a portion of the proceeds goes to Motorcycle Missions, supporting veterans with PTSD.


Flying Piston Benefit Sturgis AuctionAbout The Flying Piston: The  Flying Piston Benefit is produced by Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News &  Jeff Najar of Horsepower Marketing.  Funds are raised to train kindergartners on how to ride bikes by donating balance bikes to P.E. kindergartner classes. We’ve assisted in training over 200,000 kids across the USA. We also focus on VETS. To help out and to join the team, click here.