At its core, a bike race is all about movement. It is fast, frenzied and fascinating. The work of artist David V. Gonzales was chosen to represent the Breckenridge and Woodland Park stages of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge for just those reasons.
Gonzales’ winning piece for the Breckenridge stage of the race is titled “Destination.” Through bright colors and swift movement, the piece captures the essence of the Pro Challenge’s intense finish.
“It is the finish for the stage, so I wanted something where the adrenaline, the heightened physicality of racing to the finish line was captured,” Gonzales said. “The painting reflects completing the race.”
Gonzales set the scene through capturing a group of riders cruising through Breckenridge with focused faces, controlled rhythm and intentionally blurred bikes. Gonzales’ intentional use of extra lines throughout the piece provides a sense of flying through the time and space that the bikers occupy in the painting. There is a clear destination just past the viewer’s perspective, and whichever rider reaches that place first has clearly met his goal. Peak 8 of the Tenmile Range is unmistakable, making Breckenridge a central figure in the epic race to the finish.
The work is available through the Art on a Whim gallery in downtown Breckenridge, as well as from a booth in the Festival Village.
Capturing the speed and intensity of a bike race is no easy task. Gonzales draws upon his love of sport and his reliance on a bike as his only source of transportation to make it happen. Movement inspires the sports theme found in much of Gonzales’ work. He loves experiencing that “instinctual feeling in which you don’t have time to think.” For Gonzales, the feeling is found both in participating in high-energy sports and in working quickly with acrylics.
Much of Gonzales’ sports-themed collection is created right after expending all of his energy practicing martial arts, playing basketball or riding his bike. He will end the activity and immediately begin a painting in order to carry over the energy created through intense physical activity. He finds that this perfectly transfers the vigor of the sport into the painting.
“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.”
Gonzales’ piece titled “The Undertaking” was also selected to represent the Pro Challenge for the town of Woodland Park, which hosts the beginning of Friday’s Stage 5 of the race. Despite winning this painting competition, Gonzales believes competitive spirit is not about winning.
“It is about pouring out your heart and soul in that moment,” he said. “I want to capture that same feeling in my work.”
His work exemplifies the spirit of this magnificent race. The color and movement bring vivacity to the paintings, much as the race does to the mountains.