Q&A With Mikey | Bleach Design Werks
- Your Name, where you're from?
Mikey Ojeda, I am from Los Angeles, Ca.
- What got you interested in motorcycles?
I can’t remember the specific time when I first caught interest in motorcycles, but I don’t think there was ever a time when I wasn't interested. My dad grew up riding a bit and raced a little too. So from day one he put it in front of me. I had a Jeremy Mcgrath “Showtime” VHS on repeat and I got my first motorcycle, a KTM 50, when I was 5.
- When did you start building motorcycles?
I started building motorcycles at the end of 2018. Bleach as a Brand Started In 2019.
- Who or maybe what is your inspiration when building a motorcycle?
I find a lot of my inspiration when designing a bike from fashion. I am not a big shoe guy, I stick to my Vans slip ons, but my little brother buys and resells all the cool shoes (Jordan’s, Dunks etc.). I find a lot of my vision for colorways on bikes when I see them put together on a shoe. When I have colors and trims locked in my head, that's when I get excited to get into a bike build.
- What was the inspiration for Bleach Design Werks?
The inspiration behind Bleach was taking everything I've loved and been a part of my whole life and getting to mix it in one. The dual sport bike is currently my favorite bike to build. There’s something to be said about the feeling of riding a dirtbike in the city. An inspiration of mine is Jerry Lorenzo (Fear Of God). When he was designing his Nike Basketball shoe he said his goal was to make something you could wear out at night with jeans but if you needed to dunk on someone you’d have that handled as well. For me that’s how I look at my bikes. I want you riding one of my bikes around the city, to a party, as a style'd accessory to enhance your look but if you want to jump on trails or ride a track it's all there. No corners cut on performance and style.
- Why Is it called Bleach Design Werks?
The name Bleach comes from a time in my life when I felt like I did something solely on my own for the first time. I played drums as a kid and always wanted to learn songs to show my neighborhood homies but my drum teacher was all about the fundamentals. I was 11 years old and Nirvana was my favorite band so I took my headphones, went to my drum set and taught myself to play their music. Nirvana’s first studio album was named Bleach and now Bleach is my first brand.
- Tell us about your career working in Pro Motocross/Supercross and the influences from this time. Do these connections play into the motorcycles that you build?
I worked in that industry for about 6-7 years. Cole Seely (Ed Note: Professional MX/SX elite racer) was one of my best friends growing up and still is today. He brought me into that side of things. I started working for him just helping out with day to day stuff, traveling to the races, filming practice days, etc. We did that for about 2 years and then Troy Lee put me on as their Athlete Manager for Pro SX/MX & majority of 2 wheel athletes. I was also the lead between TLD to American Honda, TLD Red Bull KTM, Showa, KYB, KTM Junior Challenge on the apparel side. I had a team in the office of designers and a purchasing team and we would do all their race team apparel. This is where I started to learn things about production from start to finish on the garment side of things.
It was honestly something I'll always look back on and always be thankful for. They trusted me at a young age. All the riders I worked with that were racing were my age and they were my friends before all this. I was traveling every weekend with my friends and on the flipside all the guys working on the team side were older. I just felt like the little brother that was up to something all the time haha. It's hard to pick specific influences from those days. Everyone racing and working on those race teams are family, I have love for all those guys. I am able to do what I am doing now because of that time period in my life.
- Who are some of the people you have built bikes for and what goes into the design process from bike to bike? Does it change with each individual's style? Their individual approach to riding a motorcycle?
In the two and a half years of building and starting the brand I have built bikes for Nyjah Huston, Justin Bieber, Ben Simmons, Boo Johnson, Cole Seely, Arizona Zervas, Leticia Bufoni, Keith “Keefa” Parker, and even young Kelana Humphrey to list a few.
The design process is definitely different per client. I think the biggest thing is to read into who they are and what style suits them. The dual sport 500 is the typical chassis I start with. When working with a new client, I usually start with a color-story and ask the client to provide inspiration from anything. Things like house colors, watches, cars, garments, art, etc. I start from there. Most of the time we base the inspo from apparel or their individual branding or “look”. Then I move forward into laying those colors into bike details through computer renders. Once we land on a render that we like, we move onto design of the graphics and/or paint. In that render process I typically provide 3 versions off the bat. Something as close to what the client is translating, something else more subtle or crazy, and a version I may think is best. Once we agree on a look then we move forward into the build.
- What was your first impression of the Deus brand and tell us what your vision is for this collaboration. What do you hope to achieve?
My first impression of Deus was I wanted more, not because it fell short but because I wanted the apparel, I wanted to visit the store, I wanted to feel a part of it. It wasn't just a brand that referenced motorcycles but had a foundation in it as well. I loved the aesthetic, the quality and effort taken into each garment, the fabrics used and the artwork. Once I started to wear the apparel my favorite thing was to make it fit into my style. I don't think my style falls into the typical target demographic of Deus apparel customers, but there was something about it that I felt like I could make work for me. This ultimately led into my vision for this collab.
Through this collab I want to open up the brand to a different demographic of people to see how they can wear and be styled in Deus. I see our collaboration on the garment side, as Bleach telling its story through silhouette and fit, but staying true to the Deus brand through the artwork we design together.
- Tell us about this collaboration and what people can expect to see.
This collaboration has a lot of elements to it. It will be a residency, bike build, behind the collab video series, apparel capsule and a master film/lookbook. The biggest component being the residency at the Deus Flagship Store in Venice, Ca. Forrest Minchinton and I threw around some ideas of revamping the workshop space in the store and having me build a bike out of there. Once we put together a concept and pitched it to the boys in Australia; Carby, Nathan, Barry, Shannon, Stevie, and Joe to list a few… They have all been nothing but stoked on this project since day 1 and I am honored to be working with all those guys in Australia as well as everyone here in the US.
Mid-September we will begin with an opening night party. I will start tearing the bike down during the event. I want there to be transparency and inclusion through the workshop with the public. The workshop will be open on various days of the week during this time period of the residency. Monthly, we will have afternoon Firestone Walker Happy Hour. Events while I work on the bike, where people can be involved in the progress. Our goal is to showcase all the elements of the bike build, bike/garment design and our media efforts for this project. This is a project where transparency is everything and we hope to make everyone feel apart of this with us.
We’ve already got a headstart on the apparel. At the moment we are beginning the first round of sampling silhouette. For those who cant make the events in person or want to see more… The bike build, garment production, brand partners, photoshoots, video shoots and event activation will all be documented through our behind the collab video series that will begin to launch soon on the Bleach and Deus channels.
- What is the importance of making everything here in LA to you?
For me LA is home, It's in my brand’s DNA. Because of this, we want to activate Los Angeles and its resources for this project. The Deus Los Angeles location is our homebase and by utilizing local factories and partners for this campaign we will involve the city and its culture as much as possible.
- How can people come check this out and get amongst this project?
Our opening night of the workshop would be the initial way to be amongst the project so coming to that or any of our Firestone Walker Brewing Happy Hour events that will be coming up. All dates and times for these are going to be posted via Bleach and Deus social channels. Even as we are a month into setting up, I've been enjoying just being in the workspace so anytime you see the shop door open, pop in and say what's up.
All Love - Mikey