The Breckenridge Local Organizing Committee for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last week unveiled the artwork, designed by David Gonzales, to be featured on the 2014 Breckenridge stage poster. The pastel-like acrylic design features cyclists racing to a finish line with Breckenridge’s signature mountain-scape in the background. The committee chose a second poster designed by Gonzales for Woodland Park, where the Breckenridge stage will begin.
“The inspiration for the posters was the desire to show the competitive spirit of the cyclists within the dramatic mountain ranges of Breckenridge and Woodland Park,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales’ creative task of depicting the bike racers involved the dynamic USA Pro Cycling images taken by Gazette photographer Christian Murdock. Gonzales said he typically searches for multiple images to work from when creating his art to avoid copying someone’s work exactly the way it is, but for these posters, he worked directly in partnership with Murdock.
“Working with Christian Murdock’s photographs, not only are they great photo images, they are also ones that I can just pull from one image rather than having to jump all around because you’ve got those copyright issues that you want to avoid,” Gonzales said.
An avid cyclist and commuter, Gonzales grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., and has lived in Manitou Springs since 1997. It was there that he began to masterfully express his fascination with relative objects moving through space and time. Gonzales said he is drawn to the movement in sports images, which was why a friend encouraged him to participate in the poster-designing contest.
“I am an avid bicyclist myself, and I used to play a lot of basketball and I’ve studied martial arts,” he said. “The feeling of the movement — there’s all these quick, instinctual decisions that need to be made on the fly. You don’t have time to sit and ponder, and the beauty of that, especially when you are interacting in a basketball game or trying to get to the grocery store very fast on your bike, there’s very little time to think about it.”
Gonzales found that working in that same instinctual, decisive way with his painting pulls spontaneity right onto the surface of the panels he paints upon.
“If I trust the process, apply the same method that I would in a basketball game or bike riding really hard, there’s a lot of life that pulls through into the painting,” he said. “So that’s what I like about sports, is that very thing. If I can do that as an artist and pull that experience onto the surface — wow. That’s where I live and breathe at when I’m painting sports scenes.”
It is this movement that makes Gonzales’ art unique and easily recognizable. His works are not static representations of a single moment in time; rather, they are more like living entities with a past, present and future, ever moving and unfolding. Gonzales said he is always amazed by what the human body is capable of doing and tries to capture that in his paintings.
“I learned from Christian, who takes these photographs of not only the USA Pro Cyclists, but all kinds of events,” he said. “They go at really high speeds, 35, 40, 45 mph; I mean, that’s fast. I’m biking with traffic and I’m pushing myself really hard, I’m not even going 35 and I’m really pedaling it, and so that is very impressive that the human body is capable of doing things like that.”
Posters around town
The Breckenridge poster, which will be featured throughout town, was selected from 14 submissions by a panel of local guest judges, including Shannon Galpin, founder of Mountain2Mountain and 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year; Dan Gibbs, Summit County commissioner and former Colorado senator; Lucy Kay, GoBreck CEO; Breckenridge Mayor John Warner; and Robb Woulfe, CEO of cultural arts for the town of Breckenridge.
Gonzales said he chose to use acrylic paint on panels because there’s a lot of movement, a lot of color on the surface of the painting.
“It a nutshell, acrylics are easier to work with for me, they are quicker,” he said. “I tend to work fairly fast, the drawing process, that part of it fits the process just beautifully.”
Whether he’s doing a sports scene or a landscape or a cityscape, the artist said, whatever kind of subject matter he is painting, he pulls into that experience with keeping everything alive and awake and moving within the painting.
“I think my work is a nice fit for that because there is that,” he said. “Those guys who are racing on the street, they don’t have time much to think. With diligent practice and taking care of their bodies and all of those things, they’re pulling all of that into that one ride, so in the same way, when I stand up and do a painting, it’s the same process, the same methodology takes place as I am painting.”
The 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolls through Colorado Monday, Aug. 18, through Sunday, Aug. 24, with a Stage 5 finish in Breckenridge on Friday, Aug. 22. Connect online for the latest news and updates on the Breckenridge stage at www.breckprocycling.com, twitter.com/breckprocycling or facebook.com/breckenridgeprochallenge.
GoBreck contributed to this article.