Sunday, July 13, 2014

Love Bicycle Art? Share Your Favourites!

"Milk Race" Poster, by Mark Fairhurst
In honour of renovating a good chunk of my house, I have put up some paintings, photos and posters, including a couple of pieces of bicycle art. This is actually the first time I've surrounded myself with any sort of cycling-themed decor. For some reason I'd never felt like doing that before. But when I saw Mark Fairhurst's "Milk Race" poster, I could not resist. Living next door to a milk farm (with access to unprocessed milk as one of the perks!) a scene like this has been a fantasy of mine for some time. And while I'm not sure the local farmers would go for it, this poster makes me smile whenever I look at it - which is often, as it hangs right over the kettle. 

Mark Fairhurst is a photographer and graphic designer active on twitter whose cycling posters have gained popularity over the past couple of years. A good deal of his work is racing-oriented. But the poster that caught my attention initially was "Mercian Dream" - depicting two boys standing in front of a Mercian Cycles shop window and staring in awe at a purple track bike. Almost every Mercian owner I've met in the UK and Ireland has described to me a childhood memory similar to what this picture depicts. I thought it was interesting how the poster managed to express that sense of longing for the glorious unattainable bike. Its rather austere style simplifies and sharpens the sentiment of the scene. If you're into cycling-themed art deco posters, Mark's work is a treat - even just to browse online. 

"Hollyhocks" Print, by Dave Flitcroft
My other acquisition is a lovely linocut print by Dave Flitcroft. Entitled "Hollyhocks," it is a small, intricate thing, based on an old Victor Bicycles advertisement, depicting a woman standing with her bicycle in a garden. Being a printmaker myself who works mostly with linocuts and wood blocks, this piece immediately appealed to me. It is not an image I'd be inspired to make myself, but I am glad that another artist was, because I enjoy looking at it on my wall. Combining my love of the printmaking medium with my love of old cycling adverts, it draws me in every time I walk past.

Dave Flitcroft - or Velo Dave - began making bicycle themed art as a hobby, but has recently opened up his own etsy shop called Art from the Bike Shed, selling mostly limited edition linocut prints. Have a look!

And if you like printmaking, another artist worth checking out is Mike Rubbo. On his website Sit Up Bike Art, Mike sells moody linocuts and rubbings, as well as paintings and drawings, with themes centered on utility and leisure cycling. 

"Hollyhocks" Print, by Dave Flitcroft
At one point or another, we all buy things to decorate our homes with. And if you're looking for cycling themed decor, it may surprise you to learn that handmade items and limited prints bought directly from the artist might set you back not much more than mass-produced trinkets. So why not support an artist and fellow cyclist?

Andy Arthur - aka the Magnificent Octopus - has become quite well known for his lovely and often hilarious posters (he even made one of me in his early days!). Christine Evans - aka Artist on a Bike - is one to go to for cycling themed cards. Bekka Wright - aka Bikeyface - sells t-shirts, bags, and other lovely things through her online shop. And of course there is the famous Taliah Lempert, who will create your very own unique bespoke painting of your bicycle.  

Have you any bicycle art in your home? Share your favourite pieces and artists!

30 comments:

  1. I've always been a fan of this - my two favorite things: greyhounds and bicycles!

    http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Cosmos-Greyhound-Bicycle-Posters_i975980_.htm

    [img]http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/10/1047/CZCL000Z/posters/cosmos-greyhound-bicycle.jpg[/img]

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  2. My favorite bike art:
    http://bicyclespecialties.blogspot.ca/2010/02/greg-curnoe-and-his-mariposas.html

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    1. You beat me to this - I have his "Mariposa 10 Speed" print in my office

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  3. flee markets can be nice for old bike posters, found one of a BSA army bike that's my fave piece of art in the house

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  4. Thanks for this informative and educational post and links. Pretty cool!
    Jim Duncan

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  5. The biggest gallery of bicycle art is ebay. Look under collectibles. (Collectables in UK, collections in France.) French ebay is closest to all-art, US ebay you will wade through mostly old parts. Some of those parts are art. These items rarely cause competitive auctions, very little sells, most stuff sells to the one and only bidder. Take a look.

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  6. I have some Tahlia Lempert prints at home... no, not of my own bike but I bought some of her prints from her stall at the Brooklyn flea.

    Artcrank.com is worth looking at for posters. I think the posters themselves are only on sale from the exhibitions so you may need to contact the artist direct if you see something you like.

    It isn't strictly bicycle related, but as an Irish exile I keep an eye on Ross's art auctions in Belfast. However I see they do have a cycling picture that may mirror your experiences in Norn Iron...

    http://www.rosss.com/auction_details.asp?SearchString=&sp=&OrderBy=&ArtistID=&Sold=n&estimate=&AucID=184&arrangeby=&numperpage=&Offset=11

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    1. Ha that cow/bike scene is getting a little too familiar. Waited for 15 minutes for the beasts to cross the road on my morning commute today.

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  7. You made me think a while. The favorite has to be 'Rockwell's Going Home' an ode to Rockwell's last ride which has been a graffito on the wall of the mens room at the Green Mill, Lawrence&Broadway, Chicago, for twenty years now. If you're a lady show up early and the staff will be glad to escort you for a viewing. The ladies do still ask.

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  8. The drawing my son, aged 5, made for me on Father's Day. I look like a man-bike minotaur!

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  9. anonymous, could you link to a picture of that? I tried the google, and didn't seem to be able to find it.

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  10. anonymous - where can I find that? I looked on the Google, and didn't find it...

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  11. I went onto ebay and collected 60-70 different bicycle themed stamps from all over the world and put them into a couple of collages. it's pretty simple and i'm quite happy with it!

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  12. Nice post. Good stuff here.

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  13. Of course I will be teaching my granny to suck eggs but I'll say if anyway. The Milk Race used to be the tour of Britain and was indeed sponsored by a milk monopoly. It ran from the late 50s and petered out in the 90s, it's fondly remembered and I think that's a great print for it.

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    1. For the record, I did know that : ) Just didn't think to mention it, though in retrospect I should have.

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  14. Two of my favorites:

    http://deepbrook.com/portfolio/images/bicycle-art/lourenco-didier_cala-blava.jpg

    http://deepbrook.com/portfolio/images/bicycle-art/massias-g_cycles-gladiator.png

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  15. JJ Paints on eBay, has some wonderful bicycle paintings. He had about 5-6 recently that have been taken off but here is a link to one. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fixie-Bicycle-Front-Gear-Modern-Realist-Original-11x14-Gallery-Canvas-BY14038-/351118234038?pt=Art_Paintings&hash=item51c04711b6

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  16. Stamps , Players cigarette cards and "The Broken Spoke " by Edward Gorey with " The Epiplectic Bicycle " as back up.

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  17. It's not great art but it is technically well done and imaginatively different; and it is interesting as a sample of late 19th century commercial art as applied to selling bicycles:

    http://tinyurl.com/mmfxryj

    This one is $110; I found mine at Goodwill for $25 with frame. I was careful to explain to curious onlookers that I was buying it *solely* for its cycling reference.

    More seriously: it is interesting as one more example of technological gain coming at the expense of artistic skill. It interests me to see how technically good so many purely commercial art posters of that era are, compared to the crudities that are acceptable for advertising today. Photography largely killed that skill ("art" = "recta ratio factibilium" -- quoting Aquinas; and this applies to friction shifting, btw, another art lost to technology) just as CAD has killed draughtmanship.

    But my favorite cycling poster of all time is this one:

    http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/26/the-cambio-corsa-campagnolos-early-masterpiece.html

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  18. In my small bicycle repair shop here in Maine I have a self made copy of Marcel Duchamp's bicycle wheel on a stool. It gets a few comments from the art affectioadios and keeps me happy
    Emile

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    1. I wish I had thought to do that! I'm TOTALLY going to now. I made a copy of Picasso's Bull head out of some handlebars and a trashed fake Brooks B17, it gets recognized for what it is by a surprising number of artist types as well.

      Spindizzy

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  19. For my birthday, my wife made a photo collage on a painted bicycle wheel, where the photos are clothes-pinned to the spokes. I thought it was a very good idea, and the photos can be easily changed around or updated.

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  20. Hi,
    Look up Art crank. It is all nice bicycle inspired poster art by local artists in the states, if you cant make the show, you can usually look up the artist, and buy the art directly later on if copies are left.

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  21. I went on a little bit of a bicycle art binge a few years ago, I even managed to buy a small horde of framed reproduction prints that had been wall décor at a ski resort. I sort of overwhelmed my house and shop with all sorts of things until I actually got sick of it and rid myself of all but my favorite few pieces. I really enjoy them now that the collecting virus has run it's course.

    My favorite piece of bike art is a 60cm, late 60's Schwinn Paramount frame that hangs on the wall in all it's patinated glory. But I think one day it's going to be a bike again and I'll have to find a painting or print big enough to take it's place. Or maybe I'll find a painting or print that's too big to go anywhere else and have to take the Schwinn down, build it back up and park it in the hall. Either way it'll be nice to look at.

    Spindizzy

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  22. http://marlboroughchelsea.com/broome-st/exhibitions/joyride

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  23. I have one of these David Lance Goines prints for Rivendell, framed and hanging in my office:
    http://goines.net/Poster_art9/poster_230.html

    Beside it, I have one of Adam Turman's prints for Hiawatha Cyclery:
    http://adamturman.com/_uls/resources/IMG_5370_resized.jpg Mine has the HC logo on it, and is numbered. To go with it but not-yet-framed, I have two other of Adam's prints for HC, http://adamturman.com/_uls/resources/IMG_2266.jpg and http://adamturman.com/_uls/resources/IMG_3013.jpg ; all three of my HC prints are their numbered editions, and I have matching numbers for them, so they're a set... I think the other two will end up in the den instead of the office, tho'...

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  24. As a fellow Mercian fan, I'll have to see about getting a copy of the Fairhurst print. I have quite a collection of old bicycle advertising posters and had some of them on my blog, The Retrogrouch, some months back. You can see them here:
    http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-art-of-bicycles.html

    and here: http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/2013/11/more-vintage-cycle-art.html

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  25. As ever, you’re away ahead of me – I’ve been in the flat where I live for over 14 years and I’ve never even begun to refurbish it. However, I’ve pruched (Scots word for acquire, salvage or steal, depending on the context; the ‘ch’ is pronounced as in ‘loch’, or ‘lough’) cycle-related (and other) stuff off of the net, and the plan has always been to insert them into documents, print them out, frame them and put them around the walls – I’m skint, so I’ll use them in lieu of wallpaper. No copyright stuff, of course: “When the artists die, we all die with them,” and they have to make a living, just like everybody else.

    I couldn’t help but notice that an extraordinarily high proportion of models in vintage cycle posters are redheads; and one in particular, the American Crescent poster by Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, bears an inescapable resemblance to yourself. You say in your Flickr account that you’re a time traveller, so I suspect you’ve been moonlighting as an artist’s model. ;)

    Also: not art, but a glorious photograph which would grace anyone’s walls: ‘The Arnold Children, Michigan Hill, Washington, 1939’, by the legendary photojournalist Dorothea Lange. Her photos of The Great Depression were unrelentingly bleak apart from this one, which is as uplifting and hopeful as it gets:
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dorothea_Lange,_The_Arnold_children,_Michigan_Hill,_Washington,_1939.jpg
    I love that photo. The bicycle is (I think; I knew nothing about American vintage bicycles until I went looking for it), this one, without the ‘toolbox’:
    http://oldbike.wordpress.com/1917-schwinn-the-world-motor-bike-model-1760/

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