The Sidecar Dog

Made by Jon Keller

This is a mixed media project . I used only materials that I had on hand ( keeping in mind that as an artist I have a lot of different things on hand ). Two of the most important components , the driver and the dog, are both made from brown paper bag paper mache . The fenders are also made from paper mache .

Mixed media sculpture of a 1937 BMW R-20 motorcycle with rider and dog
  • The wheels have cardboard strips ( cut from a cereal box ) for the rims . Thin dowels are used for the spokes with the centers cut from wood. The tires are made from flexible hair curlers ( painted black ).
  • I needed to make special jigs to help me construct the wheels.
  • The motorcycle frame is constructed using chopsticks.
  • The seat is a piece of shaped rubber floor tile upholstered with leather.
  • The springs under the seat are coiled paper clips.
  • The engine block is a piece of a wooden broomstick and the cylinder head is made by alternating two different sizes of wooden discs.
  • The carburetor is made from parts of plastic writing pens.
  • The exhaust pipe ( which is not shown well in the images ) is made from a clothing hanger and a Sharpie.
  • The gas tank is carved from wood.
  • Anything “glass” ( windshield , goggles , etc ) is made from plastic soda bottles.
  • The headlamp is a plastic bottle cap and a carved piece of wood.
  • The dog is an aluminum foil armature covered with paper mache .
  • The driver is a wire armature covered with paper mache. His hands are made from Sculpey and the gauntlets on his gloves are shaped cardboard covered with leather.
  • There are some pieces of balsa wood , leather , and wire ( paper clips ) used in various places.
  • The sidecar was made primarily from wooden coffee stirrers.
  • Everything was painted with acrylic paint , with silver Rub n Buff used on the engine.
  • The driver and the dog were varnished with matte varnish and the motorcycle and sidecar were varnished with high gloss polyurethane .

The project was an evolution . When I started I had no idea how I was going to make this . I did draw some plans and spent many hours figuring out how to create this project . The reference that I used for the motorcycle were internet pictures of a 1937 BMW R-20 motorcycle. For the sidecar I just looked at endless images of sidecars and then designed my own .

Progress photos for mixed media motorcycle sculpture

12 thoughts on “The Sidecar Dog”

  1. Hope its not an insult to say it almost looks “Store bought”. The subject matter is so fun and its just a beautiful work. One of my favorites of yours.

  2. Excellent! I’m so glad you explained how you made it. At first glance I thought parts where store bought–those wheels, the whole thing, amazing work.

  3. Just an amazing piece! Did you see the parts and think of the Sidecar Dog or did you think of the piece first and then the parts? You seem to be able to create anything. Congrats!!

    • Hi Pat…..
      The idea to make a motorcycle with a sidecar , and a dog in the sidecar , was the beginning of this project .
      Each different component , and there are many , was approached one at a time , in the order that they were needed .
      I have made many different things over the years so the idea of using pens , paper clips , plastic bottles , bottle caps . etc……. is nothing new .

      In this project , the hardest part to figure out how to make were the wheels . If the wheels didn’t look right then the entire project wouldn’t look right. It took me a few days of thinking before I got the idea that I would have to make some kind of brace that could hold all of the spokes in place while the glue dries.

      The construction method was an evolution. Each component was like it’s own little project , given the thought and the time needed .

      Thank you for your interest .


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