Babes Ride Out

Artist Series | Sarah Reddish

Artist SeriesAnya Violet

Meet Sarah Reddish of Arrow Art Studio! Sarah hand painted this Biltwell Helmet for this years raffle at Babes Ride Out 4. 

Linda Ronstadt has always been one of my favorites. I knew for sure I'd like to quote her for this project and it was between "Heart Like A Wheel" or "Willing", a song I've always loved. But since the chorus to "Willing" is "weed, whites, and wine" I thought this might be more appropriate. 

The song goes, "some say a heart is just like a wheel, when you bend it, you can't mend it."  

To me, it's all about putting your whole self out there and being vulnerable while knowing the consequences.  Taking risks is scary for a reason - there's so much to lose. And doesn't that sound a lot like riding on two wheels? 

So I did some wet sanding after I put the mandala down to give it a beat up, worn out, broken hearted look that I think goes well with the rawness of the primer. 

And that's the story behind the "Heart Like A Wheel". Now go get yourselves to a record player and listen to some Linda!

My name is Sarah Reddish, owner and sole employee of Arrow Art Studio. I started creating chalkboard signage while bartending, and thanks to freakishly neat handwriting and ever changing beer taps I got pretty decent at it. I took on side projects while still working in the restaurant industry, traveling to and living in cities across North America.  

Eventually I decided to put down roots in Northern California and started Arrow Art Studio in Oakland in 2013. Initially, I accepted every job that came my way, I was just happy to have work.  Now based in Napa, Arrow Art Studio has evolved to focus on custom wedding signage such as hand lettered welcome signs, signature drink menus, ceremony backdrops, table numbers, and lots of hashtag boards. I especially love working with less traditional materials and have been lettering on plexiglass, mirrors, butcher paper, and leather hides in addition to chalkboards.

Everything I make is done by hand without the aid of computers, stencils, or projectors. With limited formal training in art, each project is a challenge that pushes me outside of my comfort zone. It’s almost more about problem solving than anything – I have my inspiration and my constraints and I’m continually figuring out how to braid the two together. Then I try to make it look nice.  

Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like a Wheel” has always been one of my favorite albums, and I knew that the name of the title track would be perfect to letter on a helmet.  I weaved the words into one of my freehand mandalas, created with a Sakura Pentouch paint pen. I don’t sketch out the design beforehand and I don’t use any guidelines - I like to let the mandala design flow out organically, and I love all the little mess ups and and variations that make each one unique. 

Radial balance in design happens when all elements radiate out from a central point so the visual weight is equally distributed, like a wheel with spokes.  There’s something extremely calming about going around and around using repetitive strokes and yet it also keeps me on edge because I don’t know where the design is going or how it will look when it’s finished.  It’s a nice push/pull that appeals to both my laid-back and neurotic sides.  

I grew up around motorcycles and guess I’m guilty by association. Coming in at under five feet tall, I’ve never found a bike that was small enough for me to handle without looking ridiculous. So the best I’ve been able to do is log lots of hours staring at the back of someone else’s helmet. My dad had a ‘47 HD Knucklehead and some Yamahas and Suzukis from the 70’s. My brother is the proud owner of some 30 motorcycles in various states of repair, and living in Napa I have the pleasure of riding through vineyards with my main squeeze on his ‘78 KZ 650.

Seeing as I can’t ride with you, contributing this helmet art has been a killer way to show my support. I’ve been crushing on B.R.O. for a couple of years via Instagram and it’s great to finally have a way to be involved. I love that you’ve created a community that honors womanhood, the open road, and adventure.