By far one of the most compelling bike exhibitions of the year was displayed by ArtCrank in London. I dare you to play their video and find one picture that doesn’t make you want to ride your bike!
Back by popular demand
Running since 2007 and exhibiting work of artists, from both hear and across the Atlantic, not only do the organisers showcase art, they make it a pleasurable experience too. With activities ranging from: Brooks saddle assembly; grinding your own coffee, by pedal power, naturally; printing your own shirts and grooving to funky beats via the live bands and guest DJ’s.
Meet the People
At hand was Chris Verbick, ArtCrank’s UK Events Director. Chris is more than happy to show you around and talks fondly of all the contributing artists. Providing a background and inspirational direction. He’s not pushy at all, and generous with his time. We pressed him as to the popularity of the weekend event spilling into a longer week, but Chris says it’s difficult to justify the cost over 7 days, and after all, why not have a cracking celebration of bike inspired art over a weekend?!
The King of Venues?
Set in the heart of up-and-coming, Granary Square in King’s Cross, there’s a lively Sunday morning buzz. They’ve chosen a fine location to reach a wider audience; with families out for brunch and sharing space with exhibitions allows for an excellent opportunity for people to check out the outdoor table-tennis; run through the fountains; gaze at the exceptionally detailed model trains, before hitting the open planned gallery of bicycle art.
One of the great attractions to this pop-up gallery is the diversity of work displayed. All peppered with a quirky take on cycling, their decidedly personal reflections of how two-wheels have touched their lives in a moment of inspiration. Everything from Queen Vic herself, larger than life frame-sets, to Yorkshire’s TdF extravaganza of 2014; it’s all here.
If you choose to purchase an artwork, the prices are reasonable at £35 a pop. With each piece limited to 30 prints, it’s an ideal way to support the program, the artists, as well as bagging yourself an original. We ask Chris about one picture; the one with the classic riders ready to race, as the accompanying label we find on other pictures is missing. Unfortunately, Chris tells us that he reckons a lovely couple walked away with it after purchasing a copy. He says they were upset that the label wasn’t part of the sale. Oh well, bike thieves are everywhere!
All the same, he didn’t let this ruin his weekend, and he happily introduces us to Brooks rep of the day, Steven Green. A master craftsman, turned leather-come-cambium ambassador, proudly shares with us the art of riveting a leather Brooks saddle. The accuracy and effort involved is reassuring and certainly made me more appreciative of their approach and TLC. Steven compares his work with others from the Brooks factory, and is even able to distinguish his colleagues work based on their signature style of hammering alone!
We discuss the popularity of Brooks’ new range of vulcanised-rubber seats, and as much as demand has grown for them, he assures us that British made saddles are here to stay, and that in fact, the Cambium will move production from Italy, to the UK.
Time for a Cuppa
We say a fond farewell to Chris and Steve, and leave with 4 pieces of art and a taste for a cuppa. It’s thirsty work this art viewing, but we’ll be back for more in the new year. If you happen to be in American Capital of Washington DC this weekend, pop over and check out a fresh brew of artwork: ArtCrank Washington DC.
Denis Yeo is one of our creative Baroudeurs. You can also check out his photography on Tumblr. As well as artists and film makers, Jack and Finn, at JacksGap. Enjoy!