BIFA: ARTCRANK poster exhibit brings bike and cycling art to Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

BIFA: ARTCRANK poster exhibit brings bike and cycling art to Breckenridge

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

In 2006, Charles Youel was working as a writer and creative director for an advertising agency in Minneapolis. He said his love of cycling and handmade posters was shared among fellow designers and art directors, and the idea of an art show combining the themes began to come together.

"Mind you, I'd never done an art show in my life and had absolutely no idea how they worked," said Youel, who became the creative director and curator of the traveling exhibit.

The first ARTCRANK was held in April 2007 and has since done more than 60 shows, featuring more than 2,000 posters internationally, in cities such as San Francisco, New York, London and Paris and, now, Breckenridge.

"ARTCRANK is a poster show about bicycles," said Youel. "Or, as we like to call it, 'a poster party for bike people.' We recruit a team of artists in the cities that host our events and ask them to create handmade posters inspired by bicycles and cycling. Then, we stage limited-time shows that are like pop-up shops, where people can see and buy posters."

This year, ARTCRANK makes its Breckenridge debut at the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts with ARTCRANK BRK, featuring hand-made, bicycle-themed posters created by 25 Colorado artists. Admission to the exhibit is free, and limited-edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each.

The opening night party will be on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Old Masonic Hall and also feature local draft beer from Breckenridge Brewery, live screen printing, bike-inspired short films shown on an outdoor screen and live DJ music. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Axel Project, which is a nonprofit organization that helps kids and families nurture a lifelong passion for cycling.

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The show is on view daily through Monday, Aug. 31, at Old Masonic Hall, appropriately timed during the USA Pro Challenge, which will spin through Summit County on different stages throughout the race week, beginning Monday, Aug. 17.

"The best thing about this experience is that almost nothing has turned out the way I expected, and it's better than I could've ever imagined," Youel said.

He shared how he thinks both cycling and art are rooted in freedom of expression, creating a new experience fueled by curiosity, passion and imagination.

"ARTCRANK represents the intersection of bicycles and art," he said. "I can't imagine a better representation of that intersection than staging a show in an amazing creative community like Breckenridge at a time when it's playing host not only to one of the world's premier cycling events but also an internationally renowned arts festival."

For the Breckenridge show, Youel said they wanted to represent the work of artists from around Colorado. In addition to High Country artists such as Mark Bellncula and Ben Pond, featured artists will include Hilary Clarcq and Theresa Haberkorn from Boulder and Justin Kline, Megan Morgan and Ben Bowes from around the Denver area.

"One of the best things about doing a show like this with 25 artists is that everyone has a unique take on cycling and what about bikes inspires them," he said. "There's going to be an incredible range of styles and subjects, and I think everybody who walks into the show will find at least one poster that resonates with them and the reasons they love to ride."

Poster sneak peek

Denver artist Jennifer Ghormley is creating a multilayered screen print poster for the show. She explained that her process is all nontoxic and chemical free. She makes hand-cut stencils and prints in overlapping, transparent color layers to create her imagery.

"My work is unique in my choice of color palette and process," she said. "I also have a fine-art background, so my approach to art is from a combination of formal elements blended with context and concept. I also embed a personal outlook on life in my artwork, and, in this way, I feel viewers get a sense of my unique perspective."

The show is an "engaging combination of art, physical activity, location and audience," as described by Ghormley. She said it is accessible to a wide variety of people and interests.

"In my daily routines, I try to balance art making with some form of physical activity — biking being my first choice," she said. "So, this type of exhibition is a perfect fit."

Ben Pond, based in Eagle, is displaying a poster — a play on the Colorado state flag — made from silkscreen printing. He will have one limited-edition poster in the exhibition, with 40 copies for purchase.

"I view this exhibit as an opportunity to create an artwork that is influenced by two inspirations of mine: cycling and the beautiful state I live in," Pond said. "I see the flag as a bold, colorful and positive symbol and one that lends itself to transformation, while still maintaining its essence."

His rendition of the flag appears as though it was printed with bike tires — inking them up and rolling the colors across the paper.

"I was inspired by the tracks left behind by tires on trails, as though we — any bike rider — is creating an ever-changing drawing on the land," he said.

Samantha Madden, an illustrator and graphic artist based in Breckenridge, said she was honored to have been commissioned by BreckCreate to design marketing material for ARTCRANK BRK and was even more humbled to discover that she was invited to participate in the show as an artist, as well. She explained how her artistic style often reflects inspiring scenery of the High Country and the endless outdoor activities available here.

"The marketing collateral I designed and my submission for the poster design are very similar," she said. "They are both inspired by the image 'Bike Love,' by Joel Robinson, and by the Breckenridge Creative Arts brand. I wanted to keep the design clean, simple and easily recognizable, while still illustrating Summit County's unique, high-alpine bike culture."

She shared that while this area has always been a biker's paradise, it's on the "fast-track to becoming a high-alpine creative mecca, as well."

"There couldn't be a more ideal time to host such an exciting event for artists and bike lovers in our community," she said.

Pond said he thinks the exhibition will be an exciting experience for both art lovers and bike lovers.

"I find it wonderful that ARTCRANK gives artists an opportunity to simultaneously engage with their creativity and community," he said, "and I view both art and cycling as incredibly positive aspects of our Colorado communities."

If you go

What: ARTCRANK BRK Opening

When: 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19

Where: Old Masonic Hall, 136 S. Main St., Breckenridge

Cost: Admission to the exhibit is free, and limited-edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each

More information: ARTCRANK has never sold posters online before, but they are soon launching an online bike poster shop through artcrank.com, where people will be able to buy limited-edition posters by independent artists from across the United States. Visit http://www.breckcreate.org/event/artcrank-brk to learn more about the local event.

BIFA schedule for Wednesday, Aug. 19

All day — Art installation, Amy Scofield, Illinois Creek Trail

All day — Art installations, Steuart Bremner and Terry Talty, Iowa Hill and Moonstone trails

8 a.m. to 10 p.m. — “The Blue Trees,” an installation by Konstantin Dimopoulos, Blue River Plaza

9:30-10 a.m. — Trail Mix concert with Michael Ward-Bergeman, Hannah Yim (violin), John Klinghammer (clarinet) and Rajesh Prasad (percussion), Iowa Hill Trail

Noon to 5 p.m. — “Abound,” an installation by Julie Hughes, Old Masonic Hall

2:30-3 p.m. — Trail Mix concert with Miika Gregg (violin) and Hannah Yim (violin), Moonstone Trail

4-4:30 p.m. — Trail Mix concert with Michael Ward-Bergeman, Illinois Creek Trail

6 p.m. — Low Hanging Fruit concert, Festival Square

7 p.m. — ARTCRANK BRK, Old Masonic Hall

7:30 p.m. — Gaslight Street concert, Festival Square

7:30 p.m. — “VOLO” by Diavolo, Riverwalk Center

For more details on locations and a full schedule of events for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, visit http://www.breckcreate.org/bifa.

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