And Now, Something Completely Different

Tuesday, February 19th

Oro Valley

Out of the studio and on my bike. The Oro Valley is just north of Tucson, and the home of 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo” mountain bike race. It’s an extended weekend of bike culture culminating in a full day’s worth of cactus avoidance while pedaling one’s mountain bike up, down, and around  glorious Sonoran Desert single track.

Sonoran Sunset

Thanks for reading and watching.

Charles

The Whirlwind Affair

the 28 SRAM pART pieces used in my sculpture#21 – Tuesday August 9th

The SRAM pART Project has just been wild. Four short weeks ago I received my box of 100 SRAM bicycle parts and, slam bam . . . off to the races. The primary project parameters required I use at least 25 of the 100 parts supplied by SRAM. In addition, the SRAM parts could be manipulated in any way (a stipulation I took to heart), the SRAM parts could be combined with any other objects, as long as the piece was no larger than 24″ x 24″ x 24″, and the finished piece must weigh less than 80 pounds. Oh yes, the finished sculpture needed to be delivered by August 15th. (so in my case, considering shipping, today was that day) and it’s gone. I ended up using 28 of the SRAM parts, (see photo at top), my own bike parts, and a few other objects. I’ve included a list of those additional pieces at the end of this missive.

And here it is, my artistic whirlwind affair . . . Garden of My Secret Life (Bicycle dreams of a better world). Because of the pART Project framework, I’ve approached it more like a 100 piece puzzle . . . what ever it is, or will be, has already been determined, it’s just a matter of figuring out how the pieces fit back together. And that is a much different process from how I approach my painting. “Garden of My Secret Life” ? Much of the inspiration for my work is derived from adventures out-of-doors. I’m an amateur gardener with a fixation on succulents, and besides my mountain biking habits, I hike and backpack, spending as much of my time away as practical. As this piece developed, it reminded me of my southwestern desert . . . all pointy and prickly, pale greens bleeding into silver, punctuated by poignant bursts of color. “Bicycle Dreams”?  A homage to the ultimate purpose behind the project, supporting World Bicycle Relief.

In creating “The Garden”, I’ve strived to use as many bike parts as fit, but I’ve included non-bike elements which make the piece sing. First, the Eucalyptus tree branches. The tree branches complement and enhance the organic structure of the work.These branches are from one of the trees in our yard. (We have five different types of Eucalyptus). The hallmark of this particular type, is the lacy finger like structure of its branches, and I love how these branch segments reach out to seemingly embrace the environment surrounding the sculpture .

Second, the Flash card. The flash card is truly an exercise in serendipity. At one point I was including collage into my 3-dimensional works, and while on a walk not far from my house in Chicago, I found this home-made flash card in the street, and while I could go on and on about what interested me about this random piece of paper, basically I thought I might include it in one of my objects some day,  that was 17 years and three studio spaces ago.  Fast forward to now. From the beginning of the pART Project I thought of adding text in some form, I think mainly because the inclusion of stickers in the SRAM part selection, but as the piece developed, it seemed there really wasn’t space or a space for those. (or 72 other pieces for that matter). One of the last additions to my sculpture was a tall blue suspension part that I attached a clip to, and literally turned around, plucked this flash card  off my studio wall and clipped it in. The funny thing, I finally counted how many of the SRAM parts I’d used in the sculpture . . . total 28 . . . the flash card  . . . 4 x 7 = 28. I know that sounds a bit oddly coincidental . . .  However when I first attached the card, I wasn’t thinking about multiplication tables or numbers of parts, but rather thinking about  . . . bicycles . . . kids getting to school, products getting to market, people getting to jobs . . . the purpose behind the SRAM pART Project, and someone on the north side of Chicago hand writing math flash cards.

In October there will be an on-line auction of all 50 artists SRAM pART Project Sculptures in support of World Bicycle Relief. I’ll post all the details in my blog. If you have the inclination, please visit the World Bicycle Relief website.

My piece was constructed with the following objects:

28- SRAM bicycle parts, 15- White Nylon Washers, 2- Straight Pull spokes, 2- Red Anodized Spoke Nipples, 1- Derailluer Cable (although I burned through 6 before getting what I wanted!), 2- Eucalyptus Tree Branch Segments, 1- 2″ Wide Brass Ring, 1- Welded Steel Box, and more fun than the law should allow!

Thanks for reading.

Charles