Richard Minino aka "Horsebites" is an extremely talented artist that has been making huge moves in the art world of motorcycle and van enthusiast communities over the past few years. There's not a magazine, t-shirt, or even a social media post, nowadays, that doesn't have some of Richard's beautiful designs part of it in some way or another. Hell, I even got my first t-shirt designed by him because he is so damn good. When I asked him to paint a helmet for Fuel Cleveland, I was expecting a "maybe" reply due to how busy he has been but he was all over it and accepted the invitation as fast as you can eat Cheeze Wiz out of can. Richard also is one half of a clothing company called The VNM, if you haven't heard of them yet, I promise you will thank me later. I am excited to see what Richard comes up with for his Biltwell helmet design for the show, I know he's going to kill it. Here's a little fun we had the other day via emails back and forth, I don't know why we didn't use AIM (does that still exist ahah) or even a phone call like real human beings but the interview still came out great, enjoy!
Richard Minino, where do you call home?
R: I live in sunny Orlando, Florida. Born and raised.
Where did you get the nickname "Horsebites" from?
R: It's actually because of one of my favorite bands D.I. from southern California. They have an album called "Horse Bites Dog Cries" and I when I signed up for a Yahoo mail account I named it after that. So when I started doing jobs for bands pretty regularly one their managers kept forgetting my name and would just say "hey Horsebites" when he would email me. I thought it was funny but then it clicked and I thought ok I can roll with that. It has meaning to me.
What's a typical day in the life of Richard Minino look like?
R: Since I work from home my typical day is pretty boring. After getting up and sending my wife off to work in the real world I eat breakfast and then make the long trek to my office room. I usually do mundane stuff like answer emails and stuff but then I get to drawing. It mainly depends on the day and who needs what.
R: From being into all of that stuff I guess it's just natural progression. I started by painting a few of my own helmets and then some for friends. I learned a bunch so far and I feel like I'm still barely scratching the surface. Sometimes I think I'm progressing and then I see the pros work and it puts me right back to the beginning. Regardless if it doesn't turn out the way I wanted it to I still have a blast doing all of that stuff. It's a really cool feeling to see my art on something that has function. When it comes to mural work that's really new for me. Those don't come very often but I really like doing those. The feeling I get when riding by and seeing one of those is awesome. It's really challenging for me to do those but it feels refreshing. Hopefully I can do a crap ton more this year.
How long have you been creating art?
R: Ever since I can remember. My mom used to paint so she would just put art supplies in front of me since I was a baby. It helped me make friends in school because what middle schooler doesn't want some ninja kicking some other dudes head off on their text book? I didn't think I would ever be doing art for a living though. Even after going to school for design I still didn't think I would get a good job. I thought if I was lucky I would design some crappy brochures or something. I'm definitely grateful for doing what I do and if it stops some day and I have to go back to delivering pizzas then so be it. The ride was fun.
What is the coolest thing you have ever painted or had the opportunity to put some of your work on?
R: It's hard to say but I think it's the XS650 Tracy style body I did for Geoff at Return of the Cafe Racers from Australia. That was the first time I figured out the proper method to do my art and have it cleared over without a chemical reaction. After that I felt like I grabbed it by the balls. Then I washed my hands. I'm also really proud of the last mural I did at Rise Above Tattoo in Orlando. It screams Florida.
R: Well it started with my buddy Yardley and I. We actually work together doing design and illustration work. We always wanted to make our own stuff because we were doing so much work for other companies. We used to go to the same shows together when we were younger so we were around most of the same stuff and draw from a lot of the same influences. When he was living in Brooklyn we started VNM just as a side thing. Luckily, we can actually call it our side thing still because it's just not realistic for companies to expect to make money from clothing. We're happy that it pays for itself and we don't depend on it for income. I think that's why we are so invested in it still because we can have fun with it and not stress out about it. Yardley's got a wild brain and thinks of most of the stuff that makes you choke on your drink. We're always making ourselves crack up over some of the stuff we put out. I hope it keeps going because it's one of the only things that keeps me sane.
You told me once you guys make shit that you want to make and if others hate it oh well. It's all about creating things you love. Has that proved to be one of the reasons you have been so successful?
R: Doing what you want is crucial. I think trying to please a broad amount of people to make more money is the ticket to death. I definitely think it's something that most companies are overly concerned about. I see so many companies trying to dance sort of close to the edge of without trying to make any one upset. Fuck that. With the way things are now, everyone gets offended by everything and they don't even know why they are offended most of the time. They just feel like they should be offended. I love exercising our right to say and do what we want. I think people gravitate towards the honesty in that and don't take themselves or us too seriously. If they're offended then who gives a shit? Just don't buy it. We don't need to hear why you think you're owed an apology. Ok, I'm sweating.
R: It's definitely a mix of both. Sometimes it'll just pop in my head and I have to sketch it immediately, other times I'm just stuck and I can't think of anything at all. I know it sounds corny but I have to go on a ride or just get out to clear my head. I can seriously be bummed that I'm in a mental block and just stepping away helps a ton. It gets a little easier as time goes by because I can channel that creativity easier. Before I would just blindly think of stuff but that's just part of the process I guess. I try not to think about it too much.
Do you take advantage of the technology world we live in when you make some of your art? What processes do you love or hate?
R: I think that someone who does this for a living would probably consider me an idiot for my process. I'm just stuck in my ways and this is what's comfortable to me. I draw everything by hand and then scan it in and color it in. Most people draw on a wacom tablet direct to the computer. It's like when you're in a band and you plug directly into the mixing board and bypass the amp. That sound sucks. I love seeing a physical drawing and seeing the imperfections in it. It's just how I am.
Who's your biggest inspiration and motivators in your life?
R: I really love Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz) and Pushead. I also love all the old Disney animators and my late father. My dad had an incredible work ethic and loved what he did. He was a printer and so was his father. His attention to detail was nuts and taught me to be patient with things and that eventually I'll get it right with time and practice.
What is your all time favorite bike you have ever owned?
R: Hmm, that's actually a really hard question to answer. I've only had 4 bikes and they were all my favorite when I got them ha. I do have to say though on my '59 Triumph. I did my own paint on the tank and I'm pretty proud of that one. I have pretty big plans for my new jammer so time will tell on that.
Did you find motorcycles or did they find you?
R: I definitely found them. My parents always hated the idea that I rode a motorcycle because my dad's friend died on a motorcycle, but my thought process was always "hell, I could die doing anything". Once you get heavily into bikes, it sort of takes over. It's awesome to have something to constantly build and change too. I can't imagine what else I'd be doing in my spare time now. I'd probably be more productive ha.
Any life mottos or codes you live by?
R: I don't think so. I just try to be real and not try to dick over my friends and family. Other than that I just try not to take anything to seriously.
What's one place if you could drop everything, jump on your bike and just go and be gone for a few weeks, where would it be and why?
R: I'd love to go cross country one day. I've done it a few times in a van but a motorcycle would be rad as hell. I guess just end up in Cali and hang out by the beach, say hi to some friends, eat some tacos and head home. It's so hard to find the time to even go away for the weekend. I guess it's good that business is busy but damn sometimes I'm just hurting for it.
Just to keep on keeping on. I love what I'm doing now and I don't want to stop. I want to eventually get really good with painting bikes and cars and to keep having people interested in my craft. Other than that I'm just enjoying the ride now trying not to take anything for granted.
All time favorite wrestler? Do you think you and Yardley would make a killer tag team and beat that wrestler in a cage match?
R: Actually Yardley is more of the wrestling freak. He loves watching men rub against each other. If Yardley and I were ever a tag team in a cage match we'd be just like Nacho and El Skeleto. I'd probably swing him around by his ankles knocking out bitches like Jose Canseco while he's gaining powers by eating mystic eagles eggs.
Anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
R: My dogs. I love my dogs. Their breath smells like rotten tuna and I swear one of them said "eat butt" while he was burping the other day.
Be sure to grab some of Richard's amazing artwork some shirt form to keep your back warm at www.TheVNM.com He also does custom one off paint and design work so be sure to hit him up on the contact section on their site.