Story: Dustin A. Beatty
Often people are measured by what they do for a living and not by how they spend their free time, but looking at everything together shows how multi-dimensional someone can be. In this new series we peek behind the garage door, open up tool boxes, ogle engines, quivers and hang out in the spaces of our friends who tinker, build, restore and shape their tools for experience.
First up is creative director, Scott Pargett who spends as much time tuning motors and dialing in suspension as he does designing for some of the world’s biggest brands. Scott’s downtown Los Angeles warehouse space is a carefully curated mix of tools of the trade along with mementos from a life well lived.
How did you land in LA and why do call this city your home?
Living in LA was never really on my radar while growing up in California. At one point I was seriously thinking of moving to New York or Oakland after burning out on San Francisco. Then an opportunity came up to work in advertising with Saatchi. At first it was freelance and then they offered me the position. I took it and instantly loved LA. I remember meeting a lot of great souls right away. LA distills everything about an already great state into one place. I think we should officially change Los Angeles’ name to California City, even though there already is one but that one is a shit hole.
You recently founded your own agency, Idol. Can you share some of your proudest moments working in the creative business?
I think I’m most proud about the spectrum of work that fits into one container. I’ve done projects like massive multi-year interactive experiences for Toyota, multi-corporate rebrands for Art Institutes, Super Bowl spots and more. We’re having a blast and I’m afforded the ability to control working with other incredibly talented and inspiring people and raise the quality of work even further.
How did you come to own the bikes you have?
I think everyone has a different story as to how they got involved with riding motorcycles. As soon as I took a corner faster than I thought I could I was instantly hooked. The irony about me owning so many is that it was something I said I’d never do. I think I bought into the story you always hear that bikes are super dangerous and they’ll kill you; however, I realized at one point in my life that you can’t be defined by the things you “don’t do”.
The first bike I bought was the 1962 Honda Superhawk and it looked like it was dragged up from the bottom of the lake. At the time I didn’t have any tools and I had never even owned a car. The first night I had it I almost took the entire thing apart. I spent a year and a half essentially restoring it, which is something I’ll never do again until I have grey hair. You learn so much about yourself during that process even when you get on the bike and start riding it. To me, a motorcycle is as much of an instrument as a guitar; it’s expressive and there are many ways to play it. The challenge of building or riding a motorcycle competitively becomes a clear reflection of your own character. If you really want to learn about someone rebuild a mechanical thing together.
The Triumph I bought brand new in 2010. I was just over having to work on bikes after two-years of restoring and riding old bikes. Over a few years I worked on being the fastest rider I could—riding at track days, canyons and reading books. Twist of the Wrist was my bible and it should everyone’s on any type of two-wheels.
Then you got interested in off-road riding and picked up the Honda XR650R?
I started looking around for the next thing once I accomplished enough on the road racing side of things. Riding dirt seemed like a fun new challenge to me and tied together a lot of my personal hobbies like being outdoors and adventures. I work with a guy who raced the Baja 1000 a few times and he turned me onto the 650. It was a completely different world and I learned a lot of hard lessons and I have many scars to prove that.
It was built for the Baja 1000 race and it was the king down there. As a bike to learn on, it definitely wasn’t the easiest. I did a 500-mile, 2-day ride called LBV (LA to Barstow to Vegas) and was literally rebuilding the bike until the minute I left. It’s insane to not test a build like that before a ride of that distance but there weren’t any other options. I threw my leg over it and took off. The bike performed flawlessly, but after enough experiences, I realized for the Big Red Pig is a sledgehammer and type of riding I wanted to be doing, I just needed a hammer.
What about your recent KTM build?
The KTM came as the solution for moving from a more adventure biased type of riding to the much more athletic and race paced dirt bike world. The KTM 525 EXC strikes the perfect balance, with a bulletproof motor and slight emphasis on the race part. It can be dressed down to a day-tripper desert ripper, or fitted with a six gallon tank and luggage and do 2,000 miles of dirt. It was a long process of rebuilding it down to the last bolt, then back up again to strike that balance in utility, while still giving you the utmost confidence in the state of the machine when you’re hundreds of miles from anywhere.
What are some of the pros and cons of living in a warehouse that is essentially your garage, living space and home office?
It’s kind of a Pinterest dream to have a cool warehouse space that’s built out and full of motorcycles. It’s a real lesson in getting what you want. I think that when you have all these kinds of hobbies you can’t really live in conventional spaces, especially in Los Angeles. Here I’m literally immersed in the things I love from shop space to creative space and home. Some mornings I’ll be having my coffee next to an engine that is completely taken apart on the table. At the same time, it can be difficult making it a home because these warehouses don’t come built (out or insulated); I had to spend an incredible amount of time studying the curation of how it was going to be a highly functional space. To make it aesthetically palatable is an always ongoing and organic process.