12 Jun 2012

Bicycle art. My Manifesto

Posted by Mike Rubbo

For me, it all begins with the kids. Here’s Riley, pushing  a bike  which is way too big for him.

What happens if this  bike art ends up on the walls of his house as it probably will since it’s promised?

What would have happened if this youthful me had been on my walls?

I’ve been working on a  Bike Art manifesto, clarifying  why I’m obsessively doing this bike art.  To be honest , the crude reason…

might be  that I find women and bikes an extremely alluring combination,  especially if their hair is free, unhelmeted

Like many of my bicycle art drawings,  this one is based on someone I’ve never met. I’ve tracked her down,  though.

Her name is Elizabeth Morrow and she has a blog called, Delightfully Tacky.

Ive changed her face in case she’s not flattered.   It was the pensive posture which intrigued me.

And this woman who I’ve given a…

a dog,

She comes from the Cycle Chic world.

I equally like  putting men on bikes as long as they’re posturally interesting and  bare headed, helmet-less that is

Capped is OK. There’s line to many hats and they’re..

cheeky sometimes, expressive of character

This is who I am!

But bike art is important in unexpected ways.

I believe that if bike art ends up on walls, it brings bike images into people’s lives, esp. young lives,  in a powerful way.

By hanging around in the edge of vision, it’s  a constant reminder of a beautiful activity to be remembered, taken up again, or continued.

The cycle chic movement out of Denmark, Copenhagen cycle chic started promoting the beauty of transport cycling.

The many cycle chic blogs which that movement has spawned, now effectively proselytize the beauty of the body on the bike, and off the bike too. (from a cycle chic image)

But those cycle chic images are mostly eyed online and the eye time they get is short. This drawing was also  inspired by a cycle chic photo.

Few such images get put on walls, I suspect -  though they should.

The bike art I’m doing is also seen online, but maybe it has more chance to end up on walls, being wall destined in its conception.

Workers leave a factory in the 40′s

Arriving on walls, bike art brings status and attention to cycling beyond the buyer’s conscious intentions.

They’re images which have been favored. They’ve had money spent on them or given as gifts. They are thus precious.

If there is a story attached to them, even better,  for art has much to do with story. Serge Huercio for example.

Serge Huercio, circus cyclist with a touch of Jacques Tati,  has become a friend and an inspiration.

Arriving on walls in people’s privileged place, bike art images slowly sink into the unconcsious.

This happens with adults but esp. kids, even if  the art is not consciously viewed much of the time.

I bet you remember what was on the walls of your home when you were a kid. Most people do.

Chances are those images are still important to you, often made story rich by your imagination and even now many years removed, have stayed in the mind.

Often there was  a strangeness you pondered..

They’re images which helped to anchor you, images which made home,  home.

Imagine bike art building that sort of impact on young minds.

So,  that’s my manifesto and here’s more of the art,


By the way, the above image, the velodrome, is an exception.

I rarely do cycle racing. I feel that it gets most of the eye time devoted to bikes,  and doesn’t need my help.

Of course it’s powerful. Its about speed and winning, all those compelling things, but there are no faces here to let the artist  delve the soul, and that we crave.

More Bicycle Art at http://www.situp-bike-art.com

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2 Responses to “Bicycle art. My Manifesto”

  1. Hi Mike ,I wondered whether you have seen the work of Frank Hinder and the sketches and water colours he did when he visited Canberra in 1942. While he did some landscapes his attention soon turned to the many cyclists at the time.


    It is a very different place now!



  2. Martin

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