Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beautiful Bike Art

Back in November last year I thought I'd search the internet for articles about cycling in Darwin. That was when I first read an article by Mike Rubbo on his blog I think he actually came all the way to Darwin just to find out about our bicycle culture and what it was like to ride a bike in the only state in Australia where cyclists haven't been hit over the head with draconian Helmet laws. I was surprised to find that he had actually done a bit of research, provided some statistics and even created a short documentary film to share his experience of cycling in Darwin. See Darwin Shows the Way.

Mike is a Sydney based cyclist/blogger who happens to be an advocate for the mode of cycling he calls Sit-up cycling. It's a kind of attitude toward riding or a philosophy of normalizing the bicycle as a legitimate urban transport option. You can read his blog if you want a detailed definition of this.

(Riding with a guitar by Mike Rubbo)

Mike also happens to be quite a good artist and he specializes in, You guessed it... BICYCLE ART!
Now there's a whole heap of great propaganda Art around the bicycle activist scene, a lot of what I've seen is related to event posters, either hand drawn and reproduced or art produced using fancy graphic art computer programs. Mike's art is quite different to everything else I've seen. He uses three main mediums, Rubbings, Lino-Cuts and Solar-prints. The effects are absolutely beautiful! I love the swirling scratchy lines he produces particularly in the rubbings. They have such a soft and mystical feel. People and bicycles communing with the elements of wind, light and movement. All aspects are linked with flowing lines that barely separate the subjects from the their backgrounds. It's as though the person, the bike and the environment are somehow all united. I really love this stuff. If you're into Bicycle Art (does such a genre even exist) Check out his Bicycle Art Blog. It's well worth taking a tour through his amazing images.
These images allow me to dwell, if only for a short time, in a kind of transportation Utopia. A place where cars are scarce and people have more time to enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors as they cycle contentedly about their daily business, to work, shops, school or just having fun.
I am reminded of H.G Wells quote:
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."

3 comments: said...

Oh, GREAT quote! Didn't know that one, and here's Kris, such a fan of H.G. Wells!
*skips off to view Darwin Shows The Way...*

David J said...

Mike has some really lovely short documentary films and has produced an interesting range of Report styled articles that aim to document the many ways that people like to get around on bikes. He tends to categorize cyclists into types to draw attention to the fact that laws which may be beneficial to some modes of riding, actually inhibit a whole lot of other cyclists who could otherwise be left alone to ride in bliss.

Michael said...

Thanks for saying such nice things about my bike art. I'm branching into drawing now you can see some in this clip.

Bike art is important in unexpected ways. If bike art ends up on walls, it brings bike images intro people's lives. The cycle chic movement started promoting the beauty of transport cycling. The many cycle chic blogs overflow with great bike images and we all mow see the beauty of the body on the bike

But they are mostly eyed on line, the eye time is short. Few get put on walls. The bike art I'm doing is also consumed on line but maybe has more chance to end up on walls when people realize it means something to have bike art there

Arriving on walls, bike art brings status and attention to cycling. The images sink in, even if not consciously viewed. I bet you remember what was on the walls of your home when you were a kids. Chances are those images are still important to you.

Imagine bike art building that sort of impact