Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bike Sharks and Mermaids

Hello, friends! Recently I've had the honor of creating art for the Pedalpalooza bike extravaganza here in Portland, Ore. Pedalpalooza is an amazing bike event that has been going on for over 10 years, and each year a different artist creates the imagery for their posters, the guide in the Portland Mercury, and more! This was a huge dream come true for me, as one my main reasons for relocating to Portland in 2013 were bike culture and art.
It all started in Las Vegas and Germany, this past August and September, when I was painting at Eurobike and Interbike with the Nutcase Helmets Unframed project. I was amazed to find kindred spirits who also loved sharks, bikes, and mermaids!
One of my fellow artists in this project, Tiago Dejerk, originally from Brazil, had a lot of history to share with me about the Bike Clown house that had once reigned in my neighborhood, the Alberta Arts District. Bringing Alberta's Last Thursday to fame, the bike clowns were an instrumental part of bike culture in Portland. Working on Alberta, I hear stories from long-time shop owners and members of the neighborhood of the jousting and spectacle the clowns created each month. I made sure to include some clownfish in my image, to pay homage to the bike clowns.
Going down the wormhole that is the internet in search of further historical references, I found the Irondelles. This group of tall bike riding ladies inspired my mermaid that I made for Pedalpalooza.
One of my favorite things about the Portland Bike scene are the strong and amazing WOMEN cyclists! Going down the rabbit hole even further, I became obsessed with the LCD Soundsystem music video inspired by (and featuring many familiar faces) tall bike jousting in Portland. The girls in this video are super rad.
I started drawing bike sharks the first winter I actually biked through the entire winter here in Portland. It doesn't snow, but it does rain. One night, when riding home in the rain, the idea of the bike shark came to me, and I'm still excited about it.
When I first visited Portland for vacation in 2012, one of the places that immediately caught my eye on my bike explorations was Stumptown Printers. I remember visiting the shop then, and later when I first moved to Portland. The opportunity to work with them arose with this project, and it was so exciting to visit during the printing process and see my image ready for offset printing. It was also really fun nerding out with the peeps at Stumptown about printmaking and bikes. Their history in Portland is really awesome.
Here's the culmination of the efforts, the Pedalpalooza images for this year! Hooray! I hope to see you out there on your bikes!