“Bikes are the world’s most fun, accessible way to get around. Posters are the world’s most fun, accessible art form. ARTCRANK brings them together.”
That’s the simple yet powerful idea behind Artcrank, an event that opened last night in downtown Portland and continues tonight at 5:00 pm. 34 artists have hung their bike-inspired posters at the Cleaners gallery on SW 10th and Stark and they’re all for sale at $40 a piece.
The event got its start in 2007 by Minneapolis resident and former ad industry creative director Charles Youel. Youel brought the show to Portland for the first time in 2009 and it has returned each year since.
Now Youel devotes himself full-time to running Artcrank and his event will visit 14 different cities this year including Manchester, England and a Velib bike share-themed show in Paris. “This idea works wherever people love bikes,” he shared with me last night, “And people love bikes everywhere right now.” Youel also noted that doing this event has demonstrated cycling’s strong connection to creative professionals and designers.
What struck me about this year’s selection of posters was how the artists took wildly different approaches to the broad theme of bikes. I was also very happy to see a new feature at the show this year: small artist bios/statements next to each poster.
Joseph Boquiren used his entry to highlight unicycle polo, which is what he referred to as, “A tiny, yet vibrant subset of the cycling community.”
Artist Cameron Sandage’s poster had a personal backstory. Titled, Bicycle’s Creed, he created the poster in memory of how his father used to recite the Airman’s Creed to him when he was growing up. “I always enjoyed the creed and the idea behind it,” Sandage wrote, “And knowing the connection between the cyclist and their bike, I wanted to show the same connection.”
There was even a very wonky entry. Ryan Sullivan used different weights of pink lines based on 2012 City of Portland bike counts, “using a Delaunay triangulation to suggest a diagram of bicycle movement.”
And their was romance in Leo Zarosinski’s untitled work that depicts, “Two people from different worlds that fell in love and shared a common love for cycling.”
I really enjoyed the art, the atmosphere, and the idea behind Artcrank this year. Check out a few more photos below and head over to The Cleaners (SW 10 & Stark) tonight at 5:00 pm to see them for yourself. And don’t forget to buy a few of your favorites!