- Tell us a little about Open Road Design and the man behind the art.
Open Road Design is a one man shop. I am the one man, Ryan Hausmann. Originally I wanted it to be an online store that sold cool biker stuff and I would do metal engraving on the side. It turns out I hate selling stuff and just want to cut metal all day. So really it’s a metal engraving shop I run out of a room in my apartment. I’ve been an artist all my life. Constantly drawing something. Metal engraving is the first medium I’ve taken really seriously and I’m hooked.
Open Road Design is a one man shop. I am the one man.
- What were you doing to put food on the table before starting Open Road and what pushed you to take the proverbial leap of faith?
To help pay the bills I’ve worked in every kind of factory out there. The usual crappy temp work where you get paid 11 an hour and try not to lose a finger on the machinery.
I decided to start Open Road purely because I wanted to be able to ride whenever the hell I wanted. The season is so short in Canada you have to take advantage of every second. Working on a beautiful day is enough to drive you insane here. I wanted to be my own boss. When it was riding weather I wanted to be able to take the day off and ride. Only way to do that is start your own business. Now that I think about I must be a little obsessed with riding to go into fucking debt, work 60 hours a week for a 3-4 month riding season. Never thought about that until now. hmmm
I do love making other peoples bikes beautiful.
- How did you get into engraving and what were your influences?
I chose to get into metal engraving because of my love of motorcycles and art. It seemed like a cool way to combine my too passions. I watched a short youtube video on metal engraving and said that looks awesome! I took my savings, walked into a place that sold the equipment, drop about 2-3 grand and then went home to figure out how it all worked. In retrospect maybe I should of done a bit more research but in the end it’s worked out just fine. All it takes is a shit ton of fucking hard work!!
Artistically I don’t actually look to the bike scene for influence.Bike mags are great on a rainy cold day or in the winter. But I’m a fan of street art, pop art, murals and even a good old fashion museum to get the juices flowing. Walking around a bike show looking at bikes doesn’t interest me. If the weather is nice, I’m riding. I hate parking my bike. I get too frustrated that no ones riding on a gorgeous day.
I do love making other peoples bikes beautiful. For most people, they work on a bike for years and years to get it how they like it. Saving up every dollar for what they love. And I know folks save up money to get engravings from me. I take a great deal of pride in that and I work my hardest not to let them down. I’m aware that bikes are very personal, part of their identity. It makes me take my job ..maybe a bit too seriously. To be part of these very personal moving sculptures blows my mind on the regular and to know that people trust me with their money means a lot.
- What was your first freedom machine?
My first bike was 96 Honda Magna. 750 or 800 I think. Purple and white, ugly but fast. Since I’m a short guy it was way too big for me (like everything really is). But if you can learn to ride a bike that you can barely touch the ground on you can ride anything. It was worth the initial pain in the ass learning curve for the skills I picked up.
meh, I can live another few months off of tuna and crackers.
- Hand engraving seems to be a fading art form with computerized machines nowadays, what are some of the tools you use to achieve your magic?
I use a GRS Gravermach set up with all the bells and whistles. It’s a pretty standard set up for people who take engraving seriously/professionally. The tools are expensive but worth every penny if your going to take the work and the craft as far as you can.
- Have you had any major hurdles to overcome to get where you are today?
Hardest thing is self doubt. When you are in the grocery store not being able to afford anything because you didn’t sell enough parts that month. That makes you think what the fuck am I doing with my time. Then you get to see one of your parts on a bike and your like….meh, I can live another few months off of tuna and crackers. My job rocks!
- Do you have any parts/designs that you hate engraving? Any you love?
I hate how much I engrave the word FUCK. At this point it’s lost all meaning to me. Everyone wants fuck you, fuck this, fuck them and fuck me. Best design I was ever asked to engrave was of a vagina. I shit you not, a spread lip close up of some guy’s wife’s VAGINA! The hard part was all the tiny hairs. lmao Apparently she loved it! All in a days work.
I shit you not, a spread lip close up of some guy’s wife’s VAGINA! The hard part was all the tiny hairs.
- How has being north of the border affected your business?
I think being away from the scene has actually helped. We have some bike shows here, one or two okay swap meets in the summer. But nothing compared to the states. Artistically it works great because I don’t feel I like I have to follow trends or fads. I can stay in my little room and engrave what I want. I’m not caught up in things when everyone is all of a sudden riding a chopper or has the trendy paint job. I just do what I like and ship the parts to Americans that dig my work. In however many years I’ve only shipped to in Canada 5-6 times. And we Canadians FUCKING RIDE IN THE SUMMER!! I bet we put on the same amount of clicks as some folks who can ride all year around.
- Here at the Cantina we envision ourselves as a Dive Bar of sorts where like fellow two wheeled brethren can talk bikes and have a voice. Do you have a favorite bar story to share?
Best night ever!! At my favorite dive bar Maz. They have “patio”in front of lawn chairs and tables right on the sidewalk. I was having some beers there when my friend calls and asks me where I’m at. I said Maz and she said she was going to swing on by. A cab pulls up half hour later and my friend steps out in a ballgown, hair down up, tiara and all!! She’s a professional opera singer and just had a show. Apparently it went really wellor badly ( nights a bit fuzzy) and she wanted to get tanked and was too lazy to change. A few shots, beers later, she was standing in the street in front of us singing Ave Maria the way only a opera singer can. Not a dry eye in the house! Nothing beats that story.
- I would like to extend a big thank you from us and our readers for taking the time to shed some light on the man behind the metal. Do you have any farewell shout outs or parting words?
I appreciate this wholeheartedly man!! I need all the help I can get. I want to give a very big shout out to anyone who buys from small business like me. I know it costs more but it’s worth it and helps keep food on the table and more importantly gas in the tank!!
To see more work by Ryan please visit his website at www.openroaddesign.ca you can also follow him on instagram @openroaddesign.
thank you for tuning in.. -Motocantina.