I don't think there is anyone in the Toronto motorcycle community that doesn't know Viktor Radics. Even if you don't know him personally, you most likely know of him. Together with his wife, Viktor co-founded TheMotoSocial; the motorcycle community that regularly attracts upwards of 500 attendees every month and has expanded across Canada and into South Africa.
In our fourth instalment of our Q&A Panel interviews, we're talking with Viktor. Let's get right to it.
TMFF: Tell me how you first got involved with motorcycles and your first memory of it.
Viktor: Motorcycles found me. I didn't ride growing up and neither did my parents. My dad had a few bikes when he was a teen but not while I was growing up. Motorcycles weren't a part of my upbringing or my family's culture. Some of my close friends bought bikes while we were in high school, so that peaked my interest a bit and likely planted the initial little seed that got me to where I am today.
I was in a weird place in my life when I first got into motorcycling. I was 21 years old, in between jobs, looking for something to do full time to pay my rent and allow me to develop my photography interest on the side. Samantha (my girlfriend at the time, now my wife) found a job posting on Craigslist where a small local motorcycle shop was looking for a sales person. I had great sales experience from my previous jobs and a bit of curiosity for motorcycles, so I applied. I got the job and the rest is history.
TMFF: How did the idea of TheMotoSocial came about?
Viktor: TheMotoSocial is the result of merging a few of my major interests with the things that I'm the most passionate about. We started TheMotoSocial in the spring of 2013 motivated by this sense of purpose to create a platform that helped people in cities find like minded friends. I had been selling motorcycles for almost four years at this point and a common discussion with my clients was that none of our closest friends rode motorcycles. Sam and I felt that creating an all-inclusive, non-competitive, ultra welcoming, non-judgemental and open social get together would help fill that gap and help build a community of actually likeminded people that could become closest friends.
TMFF: The TheMotoSocial has grown tremendously, not only in Toronto but across Canada and now into South Africa. Why do you think that is?
Viktor: I think that our growth internationally is proof that our simple human/community focused model and vision is universal. Our event has always been and always will be about the people. Motorcycles are just the common thread or the common interest and I think that's why TheMotoSocial is different and growing. I think that at the core of our humanity, regardless of race, colour or gender, we're all the same. Although we're individually unique, we all desire to be connected and accepted in community. I think TheMotoSocial gives us all a small taste of what real unity and genuine camaraderie could look and feel like in the world and I think it's the excitement of being a part of that, that people are coming back for in Toronto, in Ottawa, in Montreal, in Edmonton, in Vancouver, in Cape Town and wherever else we'll fire it up in the future.
TMFF: Beyond founding TheMotoSocial, you’re also a professional photographer. Tell me about some of your recent work that you’re most proud of.
Viktor: In 2015 I made the transition from selling motorcycles full time to shooting photographs full time. It's something that I always knew that I would do so when I felt the time was right I made the change. I've been working as the Director of Photography at an international advertising agency called Anomaly since the beginning of 2016. With Anomaly I've had the opportunity to work and shoot with brands like Budweiser, Nike, Spotify, Converse and Bud Light just to name a few.
One of the projects that I'm most proud of shooting was part of Nike's 2016 Olympic Campaign. I was asked to photograph three amazing Canadian female Olympians: Melissa Bishop, Team Canada 800 meter runner; Natalie Achonwa, Team Canada Women's Basketball power forward; and Sophie Schmidt, Team Canada Women's Soccer midfielder. We travelled to Flagstaff, Arizona to photograph Melissa Bishop and Natalie Achonwa where they were training and then we flew to the Nike European Headquarters just outside of Amsterdam to photograph Sophie Schmidt.
I think what I'm most proud about on this project is how much work and how much energy went into the planning, preparing and executing this project. So many teams of people, looking after various tasks and details to make our shoot days go off without a hitch and then to finally see the images being blown up in Nike stores and various places in the wild was super rewarding.
TMFF: Tell me about someone who has influenced you.
Viktor: If I had to pick one person from the many people that have influenced me the most, I'd have to pick my mom. My mom was always steady, patient, calm, loving, forgiving and always there for me, even when I was the worst. Her character is what stood out to me growing up and I always told myself that I needed to be more like her.
TMFF: What are some of your favourite movies and what do you like about them?
Viktor: I really love watching movies, but I don't really have favourite movies. I just can't seem to remember them in detail, or any pop culture thing for that matter. LOL
Here are a few that I do remember enjoying - not in any particular order.
Planet of the Apes - All of them. The original and the new ones. I love this Sci-Fi stuff that makes you think, what if.
Superbad - Just 'cuz. I was also a big idiot in high school and I could relate. Ha ha.
Blood Diamond - Crazy story and I love action adventure films like this. So well acted across the whole cast.
Billy Madison - Always had so much love for the kid that pee'd his pants and I loved how Adam Sandler dealt with the situation. Friendship wins. I like how this was a silly comedy but that it taught me some character stuff.
The Hangover - Because it was crazy and hilarious.
Fast and the Furious - Who doesn't love Fast and the Furious, am I right!? Who didn't waste all their money on cars in high school!? Ha ha ha.
17 Again - Yeah, I know, I love cheesy, stupid high school films like this and I also think Zach Efron is tha bomb.
Harry Potter Movies - All of them. I let myself get sucked in so far into these movies. I love being taken to magical places and I think I secretly wish I could have gone to an epic boarding school as a kid.
The Italian Job - Cars, motorcycles, crimes. Somehow they convince you that the bad guys are the good guys. Ha ha. Love the excitement and Mark Wahlberg.
The Fault in Our Stars - Shhh...don't tell anyone. I love romantic movies and I sometimes even cry...I cry most of the time. [TMFF: Shhh...don't tell anyone, but me too. Especially some of those sappy Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts films. Ahem...]
TMFF: What are you hoping to see in the films shown at the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival?
Viktor: I'm hoping to see a diverse range of films - short and long - creative fiction, documentary and non-fiction. I'm hoping we see a few films that are outside of the box and just incorporate motorcycles into them.
TMFF: What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?
Viktor: Hmmmm. Most people probably don't know that I lived on a boat for part of my childhood.
TMFF: A boat? Like in Riptide? Thanks so much Viktor for that candid info and for sharing your thoughts on community.