Straight from a mind from another time comes Aristocratic Motorcyclist magazine. The work of Paris-based artist Lorenzo Eroticolor, Aristocratic Motorcyclist (A.M.m) is perhaps the opposite of a mass-media publication. It is instead a limited-edition run of only 99 signed and numbered copies, comprising 32 pages of art, photography and words, hand-printed using lithography at the storied Draeger printing house – a company founded in 1886 by Charles Draeger – on a 1910 Marinoni-Voirin press. Lorenzo says this about his work, “Aristocratic Motorcyclist magazine is a manifesto. You can read and enjoy it on a simple level. You can read it at other levels, too, and you can dive into its signs. It is a testimony of the Other World. It’s all about roads, travels, inner journeys, landscapes and breaths.”

Lorenzo Eroticolor signing copies of a poster produced by Editions Anthése/ N. Draeger in Paris.  [Lorenzo Eroticolor]
Nothing about Lorenzo is conformist. He says his elders, “whispered in strange family gatherings, shared secrets, stories thousands of years old. (These were) faces and souls from another time, another People.” He adds, “I was from the start out of the century, out of society; ‘The Society of the Spectacle’, as Guy Debord wrote in his 1967 book*, this world that is organized as a theatre, this adoration of the false, this manipulation of souls. As for education, mine was simple: do what you have to do, honestly, with faith. Trust in you, don’t let anyone think for you, follow your instinct. Search, learn.”

The wonderful old lithography press that must be hand-fed sheets of paper, and the ink spread on the rollers by hand, and each sheet lifted off by hand, in a two-man production team. [Editions Anthése/ N. Draeger]
Schools did not hold much importance for Lorenzo, and once he finished with the obligatory, he immersed himself in a self-directed art education. He also dove into Philosophy, Literature and History, finding some good mentors along the way. But, as he says, from an early age he was always drawing, and enjoyed telling stories. “It was obvious I needed to find myself,” he explains. “I received keys, so my work was to find the doors, and explore for myself the real World. So, I started to create pictures, like windows on the Reality, not the actual reality that comes directly from sick brains, not this dystopia, like the most terrible ‘society of the spectacle’. I have followed this road, and I try to share this ‘map’ of the world.”

Motorcyclists welcome! The delightful printing studio of Editions Anthése/ N. Draeger of Paris [Lorenzo Eroticolor]
Figuring prominently in Lorenzo’s life are motorcycles; machines, he says, that allow a free spirit to journey and discover the world. But he has no taste for the modern. Give him the simple, the uncomplicated, that which does not come equipped with GPS, fuel-injection or anti-lock brakes. In fact, he doesn’t like what computers have forced upon us. “People accept the ease, in the case of their screens, the illusion that the machine (in the computer sense) acts and thinks for them,” he says, and continues, “It’s sad because people don’t see [computers] ‘built’ a world, a world that will ultimately not need them, and faster than they can imagine. So, I don’t need marketing to sell me another gadget, a ‘cruise control’. I need to control the machine, the machine in the mechanical and original sense. Something archaic, built on a human scale and made by humans. The limits must be those of our relationship of domination over the machine and the elements, not the calculation of a digital creature.”

Three ‘runs’ through the press…or more depending on how many colors you want. Each color gets its own photoetched litho plate, and its own run through the press. [Editions Anthése/ N. Draeger]
His current mount is a bitza BMW, assembled from parts found in several eras of the Bavarian flat twin to create his ideal daily rider, powered by a 900RS engine. He refers to his motorcycle as ‘the Queen’. The Queen, he explains, is manageable within his means, and he cares for its maintenance. If he runs into difficulties, he relies on the help of one or two ‘wizards’. For longer rides, he has a 1987 BMW K75, and one of his treasures is a Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000 café racer. “Keep and maintain what is well built,” Lorenzo says as he laments a throwaway society. “This eliminates the ballet of giant oil tankers, the globalization of products and requires learning, teaching, transmission. It helps to keep the world in a human dimension.”

Nicolas Draeger examining a poster as it rolls off the press. [Editions Anthése/ N. Draeger]
Lorenzo hasn’t kept track of the number of posters he’s created, but he figures it’s well over 400. His work covers all manner of subjects, not just motorcycles and the female form, but those are two of his favorites. He spends days and nights, sometimes weeks, creating an artwork. It’s a solitary process, but he does have help with the lithography: his partner and good friend in that specialized reproduction method is Nicolas Draeger of the Draeger printing company. To create his vivid posters, Lorenzo uses whatever he has at hand to get to the final result; brushes, pastels, pens, etc. “I don’t care about good drawing, or virtuosity, or demonstration of talent. I’m not a draughtsman. For me, the story the poster will tell is more important, so if you check all my work, you will see I never use the same style, I don’t want to be trapped in one idea or style.”  And yet, of course, his style is instantly recognizable, and he has a growing fan base.

A double-page spread from Issue 0 of Aristocratic Motorcyclist. The scale of each page is 12×15″, meaning a double-page spread is 24″ wide with the magazine open. Impressive! [Lorenzo Eroticolor]
Getting back to the Aristocratic Motorcyclist project, Lorenzo says there’s nothing traditional about that, either. It’s a ‘magazine’, but there are no subscriptions, and no schedule for when the next issues might be printed. “There are no rules about this, the magazine is a way to share a universe, a vision, to reach your soul, to offer this inner world with great people I admire, and appreciate –from Alberto Garcia-Alix to Chas Ray Krider, to Bill Phelps and others. It’s a way to share all this precious light with you.”

Framed images by photographer Bill Phelps, taken from the magazine.  Bill is a regular contributor to The Vintagent, whose work is included in Aristocratic Motorcyclists Issue 0. [A double-page spread from Issue 0 of Aristocratic Motorcyclist. The scale of each page is 12×15″, meaning a double-page spread is 24″ wide with the magazine open. Impressive! [Lorenzo Eroticolor]
Aristocratic Motorcyclist is available to order online, and each issue is the product of a long and elaborate process.  Being a hand-made process, printing the magazine using traditional lithography is expensive, and is not, as Lorenzo states, “adapted to the speed and emptiness of the 21st century. With Nicolas, we work on it as it comes, in a bubble of another world. We know it can’t reach masses, because it’s not created for them.”  See more of Lorenzo’s work on Instagram @aristocratic_motorcyclist.

Another double-page spread from Aristocratic Motorcyclist. The text is in French and English, with a bit of Spanish and Russian thrown in. [Lorenzo Eroticolor]
[* Guy Debord was a filmmaker and writer, and a founder of the Situationist International. Situationism was a theoretical fusion of avant-garde art and libertarian Marxism, which grew out of the post-War Lettrist movement, which was itself a development of Dada and Surrealism. The Situationists fueled the May 1968 student uprising in Paris, and later played a role in the creation of the British Punk scene, as Malcolm McLaren, founder of the Sex Pistols, was deeply invested in Situationist theory. – ed.]
A late evening in 2015 at Au Cheval de Fer in Paris with Lorenzo Eroticolor and Bill Phelps [Paul d’Orléans]
Order your copy of Aristocratic Motorcyclist here.  Not many are left!

 

Greg Williams is a motorcycle writer and publisher based in Calgary who contributes the Pulp Non-Fiction column to The Antique Motorcycle and regular feature stories to Motorcycle Classics. He is proud to reprint the Second and Seventh Editions of J.B. Nicholson’s Modern Motorcycle Mechanics series. Follow him on IG: @modernmotorcyclemechanics
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