Jake was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico. His Mother, Judy, was a school teacher and his father, Keith, was an artist who worked from his pottery studio in the family’s backyard. Jake spent much of his childhood with his father and his pottery business. This early influence fueled Jake’s creative mind and his father’s studio gave him a safe space to experiment in. This experience also showed Jake that an essential part of making a living with your hands is building positive relationships with clients, suppliers, and fellow makers.
On a childhood trip through California to sell pottery the family was stuck in traffic when two club members blew past the family’s van, riding in between lanes of traffic. That split second roar of the exhaust between cars and blur of chopped up Harleys flying through traffic was all it took to ignite a new passion for Jake, motorcycles. At 13 he got his 100cc or less license and spent the bulk of his Bar Mitzvah money to buy his first motorcycle. He bought and sold a variety of classic cars and motorcycles throughout adolescence and did what he could to work on them himself. He also read custom motorcycle magazines and dreamed about the bikes he wanted to build.
While in high school, Jake wrote a letter to Russell Mitchell of Exile Cycles. Jake explained his deep respect for the machines Russell was building and his genuine desire to learn from him. Russell offered Jake a job running errands and packing boxes but promised him a chance to learn. Russell also told Jake he had to finish high school first. Jake graduated a year early. As soon as he took his last final exam he packed up his saddlebags rode out to Los Angeles to work at Exile Cycles at just 17 years old.
Jake started at Exile in 2003 and the years there where a whirlwind. Jake picked up mechanical assembly very quickly and was working as a mechanic instead of as a shipper within about a year. In his time there, the shop grew rapidly. This was due in large part to several episodes of Discovery Channel’s Biker Build Off series and a series for Speed Channel called Build or Bust. Jake was a build team member for all of Exile Cycle’s Biker Build Off appearances, and he appeared as an expert on several episodes of Build or Bust. Additionally, Jake appeared as a build team member with Evil Spirit Engineering on their Biker Build Off attempt.
By 2007 Exile had massively expanded from the shop Jake had come to work for. Jake felt like the fun and creative environment at Exile which Jake enjoyed and in which he felt most inspired, was being lost. Jake parted ways with Russell on excellent terms and the two have remained friends.
Jake moved into the Elmer Ave. and Afroman Compound in North Hollywood, California. It was an artist compound that housed bands, fashion designers, tattoo artists, and a brand of skateboards and skate apparel. Jake turned a broken down school bus (and former tour bus) on the property into a small apartment and lived there comfortably for several years. He found a small building for rent just down the street from the Compound and opened his shop, Ultra Violence, in the summer of 2007.
Ultra Violence was a fixture of Burbank Boulevard in North Hollywood until 2012. Jake completed several builds there which received national and international publication in a variety of biker magazines. As the Great Recession took hold and the writer’s strike impacted the Los Angeles economy, several projects were put on hold or halted. Jake had to remain resourceful to stay in business. This meant expanding his skill set and the type of work he would take on. He began building gates and railings for people’s homes, working in the art department for television and commercials (and even doing a couple acting gigs), and taking on more and more repair work at the shop. Jake also decided that he wanted to add a college degree to his resume. He began taking night and weekend classes at Los Angeles Valley College while running Ultra Violence during working hours. After two years of night school, it was time to transfer to a four year university.
Jake relocated to St. Cloud, Minnesota in the summer of 2012 to be with his then girlfriend, Kayleigh, and to attend Saint Cloud State University. Jake and Kayleigh are now married and are the proud parents of their son, Dylan. Jake completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 with a focus on Political Science and German. In addition to regular classes Jake worked as a student director in the Saint Cloud State University Survey Research Lab, which focuses on public policy polling.
While in Minnesota and earning a BA degree, Jake split his time working from a home-based shop in Saint Cloud and at Zap Leather and Cycle in Paynesville. In Minnesota, Jake focused on custom motorcycle builds, motorcycle restorations, custom paint work, graphic design, and metal art.
Jake, Dylan and Kayleigh relocated to Jake’s home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico in February of 2017. Since relocating, Jake has immersed himself in the Arts, Motorcycle and Custom Car Communities. Jake spent some time as the lead technician at the local Triumph dealership and then as a fabricator at Old Car Garage while maintaining regular work in a home studio. Once his reputation in Albuquerque grew, Jake was able to become fully self-employed as an artist and custom builder.
Jake builds or customizes projects from his own plans or plans based on close collaboration with his clients. His work is exciting and continually developing and changing. Visit the contact page to discuss a project or work opportunity with Jake.