Chaffins skateboard sketches slide into West Coast Chopper merchandise
South Adams graduate Dustin Chaffins was visiting the Jay County Fair a little over a year ago when he met a man who encouraged him to make a life-changing move.
Jesse James, famous TV personality who is currently associated with West Coast Choppers motorcycle clothing and merchandise, was a guest at the fair. Chaffins, who has always had an affinity for drawing, sketched a picture of the highly famed west coast merchandising group with the hope of getting close enough to James to get an autograph.
Not only did Chaffins get his autograph, he got a lot, lot more.
"I drew this sketch of a motorcycle for him to autograph," said Chaffins. "I was hoping to meet him so that I could ask him to sign the picture. As I approached him he saw it, talked to me about it for a little bit and signed it.
"Three weeks later I received a mailing from him through Facebook," continued Chaffins. "He wanted me to do some drawings for his chopper gas tanks and motorcycle gas tanks. I didn't know that word had got around, but then I started hearing from other celebrities."
Chaffins soon learned that his drawing had been accepted through West Coast Choppers as one of 20 top drawings submitted to the merchandise company.
These days, Chaffins is spending much of his time drawing various singing group trade sketches on skateboards. Several of them have been selling on EBay. He noted that he likes the challenges of personalizing each sketch to try to represent the group or singer he is drawing.
"I study them out, try to learn some things about them, and then finally see what I can draw to represent them on a skateboard that I can sell," said Chaffins. "I really like trying to personalize it to see what I can come up with. I try to be creative in coming up with designs that are different than what anyone else would come up with."
Chaffins gives much of his art talent credit to South Adams art teacher Ted Schwartz, who he says worked with him patiently and taught him many basic skills during his art classes.
"I'm trying to get as many signatures as I can right now," said Chaffins. "I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do with this yet. I'm hoping to continue to build it up.
"I love the creativity. I love trying to come up with as many different ways as I can to do things," Chaffins said. "I enjoy interacting with other artists and see what they do."
Chaffins said that as his work appears on EBay, he is receiving various requests for different types of drawings.
"They send me pictures and things about them and I try to come up with something for them," Chaffins said. "It is my life. It is what I enjoy doing most. I'm just amazed at the way the word is getting out."
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