Italian tattoo artist Marco Manzo is one of the most prominent fashion tattoo artists in the world today. His incredible creations have taken a life of their own, often being described as ink haute couture. Clearly, the man isn’t lacking in artistic talent and recently, that talent was in full display when he turned a BMW Motorrad Roma-supplied R nineT into his own personal work of art.

For the record, Manzo’s work on the R nineT doesn’t count as your typical customization. There are no engine upgrades and there were very little aesthetic improvements that typically counts in the traditional sense of a custom project. Sure, there’s a new round headlight, a resin rear fender, and LED turn indicators. But that’s about it on that end.

What sets Manzo’s work apart from other R nineT projects I’ve seen are the intricate artistic details of his tattoo art, which he used to decorate the surface of the motorcycle. The artist even dug deep into his bag of tricks with the use of gold leaf to complement the blackened areas of the bike. For those who don’t know, gold leaf is a process by which gold is been beaten into a very thin sheet and used primarily for design and artistic purposes. It’s a very meticulous project that often requires a great deal of time since it’s still mostly done by hand. Oh, and it’s also expensive since it makes use of actual gold. But Manzo doesn’t do things half-baked so he went about and used gold leaf on a number of sections on the bike, including the rims, forks, cylinder head covers, instrument cases, and the the sides of the tank. Once that process was done, Manzo used a special film paint from Win Grafix to create his trademark tattoo patterns.

The result is nothing short of incredible. Not only does it speak highly of the customization potential of the R nineT, but more importantly in this case, it’s further proof of Marco Manzo’s incredible talent in ink haute couture.

Note: Photos courtesy of Czerwinski Arthur

Continue reading to read more about Marco Manzo’s work on the BMW R nineT.

Why it matters

I don’t need to be sold on Marco Manzo’s work because I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. Still, what he did with the BMW R nineT is absolutely incredible. I can’t even put the words to properly describe it and that’s saying something considering the kind of work I do on a daily basis.

I’ve seen many artists work on custom motorcycle projects in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one who opted for this rather audacious treatment. The gold leaf technique isn’t cheap, and that’s when an artist uses it on a small canvas. A motorcycle is a totally different league altogether and yet, Manzo went away and did it with the joie de vivre one normally associates with his work.

I’m not even bummed that the R nineT received no mechanical upgrades because that’s not the point of Manzo’s work. This is a project created by an artist who has a unique talent for creating visceral masterpieces. He may be a tattoo artist at heart, but Manzo’s work on the R nineT also proved that he is an artist in every sense of the word.

Of all the custom projects done on the BMW R nineT, Marco Manzo’s gold leaf bike definitely ranks right up there with the best of them.

Personally, I think it’s the best of them all and that’s saying something considering how many beautiful custom projects of the bike I’ve seen already.

Source: Facebook - Tribal Tattoo Studio

What do you think?
Motorcycle Finder: