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Inked, Ironed, and Befriended: Matt Allard

Welcome back, boys and girls, cats and squirrels! Today, I want to introduce you to someone that I respect just a whole bunch. Matthew Allard, started Inked Iron independently and works out of his home and shop in San Rafael in Northern California. One of the raddest things about Inked Iron that sits super close to my heart, is this statement, posted on the Inked Iron website

All of the designs and artwork sold here are our own, with occasional collaborations with our friends and extended moto family.
— www.inkediron.com

I wanted to unload and talk about how much I fangirled over just being able to meet Matt and how rad his fancy boy accent is, but after reading over this little interview, I think that just talking about how much I like Matt and Inked Iron, would take away from what Matt has to say. Long story short: Friendship is tight. Meeting other business owners that hustle their 9-5 and their passion projects and their families all at once is tight. Here is a bit about my new friend, Matt:

1. Please state your name for the record. Your full name. I want your middle name.

Matthew Francis Allard

2. Where you from?

Originally? England. I was born in Somerset, southwest of London. My folks were both raised in different parts of Africa. When I was about a year old we moved (back) to Rhodesia to live near the family farm. Due to the independence wars which turned the African continent’s “bread basket” from Rhodesia into what’s now known as Zimbabwe, that didn’t last long. I ended up in Southern California, in Redlands for most of my youth, and Northern California for the better part of my life. I’m a California kid through and through, but still not a citizen of this God-forsaken country. Not sure I’ll ever make the jump.

3. How old are you?

I was born in 1974. They used to say I have an old soul. I think my mind’s more like Benjamin Button while my body seems to want to age me. I’m 15 in my head. I’ll let you do the math.

4. What do you do for work? Do you have a regular 9-5 in addition?

Inked Iron is my passion project. Takes me all over the country and it’s where my heart is, where my closest friends are, and it’s where I can exercise my skills and talents. I live in the Bay Area, north of the Golden Gate Bridge and it ain’t cheap, so I’ve got a day job. I worked at a Marketing Agency in San Francisco for the past 11 years and recently made the jump to a local company who used to own Century 21 Theatres. I’m a content manager for a health club which pays the bills. Great company and good people makes for a comfortable living.

5. How did you first start getting into drawing/art/being awesome? What was it that made you go, “THIS. This is the thing for me”?

I can’t draw, so if you can rephrase the question or focus on the art of being awesome we’re more on track… haha. But seriously, art is expensive! Can’t believe what prints cost these days. There was a point exactly 5 years ago at which I ended up with a perfect garage to stable the herd of bikes I’ve collected over the years. I wanted to decorate and couldn’t afford to. I’m trained in graphic design, so decided to put my skills to the test and design my own prints for the shop. I came up with a set of motorcycle silhouettes which became my first set, and the infamous Handlebar Field Guide.

6. What is one thing that someone that is trying to do what you do should know?

Be original. Don’t steal people’s ideas. Steal mine, and I’ll eat you for dinner.

7. What’s your favorite color?

I’ve told my son this many times… I don’t have favorites.

8. Tell me one thing you love about what you do?

The community. Motorcycles bring the best people together. The support and feedback I get from the community is WHY I do what I do.

9. Tell me one thing you hate about what you do? Why? Is there something that could change about it so that it could also be something you love?

Costs. Everything costs so much goddamn money. Trust funders and people with investors run circles around me and if I could just come up with some start up money I could dig out my little corner of the world just the way I picture it. I’ve got dreams and on some days they seem unattainable. Some day it’ll happen. No doubt. Baby steps for now.

10. What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made? Do you have one? Why? Why not? Do you like me? Do you think I’m pretty?

We already talked about favorites… but I like you. You’re pretty... cool. You’re pretty... nice. You’ve got pretty hair. Guess that all leads to only one possible answer. You might be my favorite.

You can find Matt and Inked Iron at www.inkediron.com and follow Inked Iron’s Instagram @inked_iron. Get on it. Tell him I said hi. Happy Wednesday. — Nick

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