Artist paints custom work on anything with wheels


Dwane Olson holds a customized motorcycle gas tank he calls Amazing Grace with his 1957 Chevrolet truck behind him at Viking Cycle Art and Custom World Class Paint on Northeast 7th Street in Ocala on Wednesday. Olson said the idea for the tank comes from the nose art frequently seen on World War II airplanes.

Bruce Ackerman/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.

When the Wizard wanted to personalize his Harley Ultra Classic motorcycle, he left the magic to Dwane Olson's Viking Cycle Art and Custom World Class Paint.

Mike Rupe, of Ocala, nicknamed the "Wizard" by fellow cyclists, wanted his ride to be an expression of his individuality.

"Dwane took my picture and then wouldn't let me see my bike until he was finished," Rupe said.

Olson airbrushed a Merlin-style wizard with a peaked hat and wand featuring Rupe's own face and eyes from the photo.

"He's the best artist I've ever seen. (In the portrait) he got my face and eyes in the wizard on the gas tank and added tear drop designs to the (saddle) bags," Rupe said. "I was blown away. I've won a best custom paint contest. He's a tremendous artist."

"The first thing I do is ask the customer what they want or what's important to them," said Olson, 48, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, who along with his wife, Jennifer Olson, has operated Viking in east Ocala since 2002.

Olson began his career in auto body repair, but after about 10 years he decided to blend his artistic gifts into his craft to provide customers personalized expressions of themselves.

A Longwood couple wanted to commemorate their son, who died while serving in Afghanistan. Olson airbrushed a set of the soldier's dog tags on his mother and father's Harleys.

Olson has done freehand images of eagles, wolves and other items requested by customers, yet he also does the 1940s style "old school" hot rod flames.

Customer Bob Rickel had Olson paint hot rod flames on the saddlebags of his Valkyrie bike.

"He does awesome work," Rickel said.

Olson's rolling artwork was featured in cycle magazines V-Twin Magazine in 2010 and Road Iron in last month. His shop's work has received comments from admirers in Holland and New Zealand as well as being included in a traveling display on custom bikes featured by a cruise ship line.

Olson has also created an image of Marlon Brando as "The Godfather" and the three principle actors in "Goodfellas" on a chopper owned by a local custom car shop, and an exotic orange finish on a high tech chopper built by Mike Bauer Customs of Beverly Hills, Florida.

Olson painted a bike used in a fundraiser for the Marion Theatre and customized the bikes raffled off in the Hog for Hope fundraiser for ARC of Marion county for six years.

Olson is particularly proud of one item on display at the shop — a sparkle brown and gold Harley Davidson Sportster gas tank that he painted after he and his wife participated in missions sponsored by Centerpoint Church of Ocala. High school and college students were led in community improvement projects in Mexico and Haiti.

"The script on the tank translates to ‘It Is Finished,' the last words of Christ on the cross," Olson said.

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