Here's a box of 100 high-performance bicycle components. Go make something amazing from them.
That's the challenge Chicago-based bike-parts company SRAM threw at a group of handpicked artists, who responded by molding everything from figurative sculptures of weird and beautiful bike-gear creatures to abstract collages that blend paint with cranksets and chains.
Their works will be auctioned off tomorrow, November 29, at the Cedar Lake Theatre in New York City, with all proceeds going to World Bicycle Relief, a charity that provides bicycles to the underprivileged in Africa. Scroll through our gallery to see just a handful of the inventive works and you might just think twice about throwing out that greasy bike chain in the corner of your garage.
Made of hand-carved wood and modified machine parts (with a few colored feathers tossed in) Michael Whiting's "Future primitive mask" melds primitive art with a futuristic robotics aesthetic. The California artist likes to explore the relationship between the real and the virtual, and his work often hints at the influence of technology in daily life.
Michigan-born sculptor Lewis Tardy turned to SRAM parts, steel bicycle parts, surgical devices, and aluminum to create "Free Wheeling," a biomechanical tribute to the freedom and joy of cycling.
Artist Valerie Fanarjian's been fascinated by machinery ever since she ran a sawmill in the Catskill Mountains. She sees inherent beauty in a well-engineered pulley or piece of gear, and finds fascinating the juxtaposition of machines' overall strength with the vulnerability of their individual parts.
"My use of tissue, thread, and paper to make the parts appear fragile and delicate was an attempt to show how weakness and strength, complexity and simplicity, coexist, in so many applications, in both the physical and non-physical world," she explains of the piece "Circular Logic."
Moira Marti Geoffrion
Roady Runnerensis Darwiniesii
Bird watchers will like this peek at the rare species Roady Runnerensis Darwiniesii. It's made by artist Moira Marti Geoffrion from SRAM parts, screws, wood, bondo, epoxy, oil paint, and metallic paint, and can only be spotted at art shows.
Born in a small Minnesota farming town, Kyle Fokken's always been a fan of old steam-powered tractors. Here, he made his own -- out of SRAM parts, a Dutch clog, and other bits and bobs. He titled the piece "American Tourister" as he used an old metal plate from the luggage company of the same name.
Starry, Starry Bike
Guess where Pam McKnight drew inspiration for "Starry, Starry Bike"? She added acrylic paint, resin, glass, and rhinestones to SRAM parts for her tribute to van Gogh's iconic painting.
Milwaukee, Wis., artist Richard Taylor used SRAM parts, plus stainless steel aircraft cable and super glue, to make "Go-Bot." The creation "just goes," Taylor says. "It goes in any direction, but it always goes forward, as its mission is to better the universe and those who reside there."
Alex Bogusky's "Fresh Air" combines SRAM parts like a cassette, shifter, and pump with leather and foam for a fresh (and somewhat scary-looking) take on the gas mask.
"I enjoy bringing something new into existence by accepting the problem-solving challenge of fitting objects together that weren't originally meant to be together," says artist Michael Tingley, who has exhibited his work in New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, and Cologne, Germany. Indeed, it's not often one sees bike chains and a plastic baby head occupying the same space.
Seven Sisters (for Jevon)
While many of the works created for Part Project tend toward the whimsical, Laura Evans' "Seven Sisters (for Jevon)" is anything but. Jevon is the name of Evans' cousin who, at age 30, died in a bike accident in Little Rock, Ark., this summer. The Seven Sisters refers to the Pleaides constellation.
"As I was working on this, it made more sense to me to make a group of pieces rather than one large sculpture," the Boston artist tells Crave. "The shapes that I knit began to resemble stars, so that's where the idea for seven of them came from... We are part of a large extended family, so making a 'family' group seemed appropriate."
Evans made her "stars" by blending bike parts with nylon cording and acrylic.