Artist Spotlight: Chicara Nagata and his award-winning “Chicara Art” series
“I need new challenges,” he says. “If at all possible, I want to keep making a new work of art each year.”
Chicara Nagata was born in 1962 in the Saga Prefecture of Kyushu Island, 18 hours away from Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 20 he became a graphic designer; a decade later he set up Chicara, Inc. graphic design agency in Saga.
“When I was a teenager, I spent all my time gazing at my older friends’ motorcycles and wanted to ride one myself,” he says. “What I really wanted was to ride a motorcycle that was all my own. That was what gave me the idea to build custom bikes.”
Chicara’s ambition to design and build his own machines was almost ruined when he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident at the age of 16. “I was told that I would not survive, but here I am still alive today,” he says, talking about an event that turned out to be life-affirming.
Paradoxically, he decided to dedicate his life to an engine that almost killed him. His art is, according to him, an expression of gratefulness to the people who donated their blood and worked to save his life… his way to give back to society: “That got me thinking about how I could show the world that I was alive and well. I realised that making things I was good at – building a motorcycle that means so much to me – was the way I could do so.”
Chicara started creating custom motorcycles in 1993. In 2004, he took his passion one step further, elevating his work to what can be considered an art form. That marked the beginning of his “Chicara Art” series, which rapidly won 6 consecutive awards at shows in Belgium, Germany and France, before garnering global recognition at the AMD Championships (the most recognized custom bike award worldwide) where he took first place for Chicara Art One in 2006 and second place the following year for Chicara Art Two, both in the freestyle class.
Chicara has since gone on to create Chicara Art Three and Chicara Art Four and he is currently working on Chicara Art Five.