Sunday, December 8, 2013


A recent challenge and test run for a couple of new rigs was a climb to our local summit, Mt. Lofty.  Of course the fun is in the descent.  Pictured below.

Friday, December 6, 2013


The Apollo program undertaken by NASA was one of true frontier exploration and irrational adventuring.  It yielded science many breakthroughs and entertained the world.  It has also been borrowed as a brand name for an Australian bicycle company.

I am currently missing two of my favourite machines as they are locked away in the stark white confines of galleries.  This has led me to pondering a number of things - the ongoing rhetoric of whether art objects can be useful (and whether art objects need to be 'not' useful in order to be art)? -  what am I going to ride now?  and can I further my quest to build a tall bike that can pack down to be transported to other places in the world before beginning an adventure?

A design solution epiphany came in the form of realising that when adapting something to break down into smaller parts, why not begin with something that already is constructed of smaller parts?  Enter the dual suspension frame design, essentially two parts that are joined together.  This particular build uses an existing dual suspension design to achieve an outcome that is easily disassembled and packed down into a compact form.   The particular design also overcomes a number of other bike nerd problems which I wont go into detail with now.  Here's a little step by step of the first phase.

Donor bike - sourced via your local friendly Gumtree directory.  A mid 90's rad machine that has been sitting in the gentle time capsule of someone's shed for twenty years, avoiding the inevitable thrashing that most of these received by eager teens who believed they were in posession of an ultimate downhill bike.  Carefully selected for its steel rear end and a host of other handy nuances.

Dissection and loose configuration, with care taken to retain the frame pivot which will become the main point of disassembly.  Removal of now redundant rear suspension spring.

Fabrication of freshly mutated rear end.

Experimentation with angles via cleverly integrated adjustable components.

First assembly and test ride.  Now all that's remaining is a consideration of carriage potential and which Apollo mission to name the bike after.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


One shot of said machine in the saccharine sweet sanctuary of a contemporary art gallery, as accompanied by a suite of sassy paintings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Here's version two of the Easel Rider attachment tall bike combo.  Perfect for the suburban artiste with outdoor tendencies.  The bike will feature in a show opening this week at Ryan Renshaw Gallery in Brisbane.  It will accompany a bunch of paintings of suburban landscapes including holes in fences, dumped hydro set ups and decapitated palm trees.
Those of you who are farcebook oriented can check out the event page here-

Monday, October 21, 2013


Here's a little sneak peek of my bike as it is presented at UQ Art Museum in Brisbane. 
The curator, Samantha Littley, spoke to local radio station, 4ZZZ about the exhibition.  The interview includes a bit of a chat with yours truly which you can listen to here -

The whole show goes for an hour, if you would like to cut to the bikey part go to 34:00...

Thursday, October 10, 2013


There are many parallels that can be drawn between art and adventure.  They are both romantic ideas that can fill a heart with buoyancy, eyes with fog and a head with so much determination that it endangers the very well being of the individual.  Grand ideas such as risk, frontiers and the unknown, all echo loudly in the opening credits and imbue the audience with a sense of wonder and expectation.  They quiz one another, curious as to whether the artist has realized a true cultural breakthrough or merely presented another walk around the block. 

I am most fond of the idea of adventure in two particular nuances.  Firstly that of boyhood escapades – things like the Huck Finn story, two boys on a raft, set adrift on a whim.   Things like Saturday afternoons spent ushered out of suburban kitchens and into laneways and scrubby fringes to building BMX jumps on vacant blocks and making cubby houses in trees – all of that classical youthful stuff that I lament we may be losing to handheld technologies and a fearful libelous epidemic.  Secondly, I like the kind of adventure that makes the elements of the traditional adventure tale – things like Moby Dick, or Robinson Crusoe where the trusty hero’s path is somehow lost, yet the core of the story requires these very mishaps and the unfolding events for their very existence.

There were times in the world were these tales or myths were the things that made up the very fabric of everyday life.  Various kings, empires, scientists and nutcases have all set forth from their various home corners of the globe to try and discover things – usually riches or glory.  There were, indeed, national institutes of explorers.  Entities such as the National Geographic Society began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel.  There were people like Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer and writer who was convinced he could sail a raft across the Pacific Ocean between South America and Polynesia.  This supported his theory that ancient civilisations could have done the same. Thor pleaded with these types of walnut paneled institutions to financially support an expedition such as this in much the same way that Australian artists might put forward a case for their own creative expedition to creative funding bodies.  Thor, however, received a letter of rejection in the mail and had to sweet talk a Peruvian despot into privately funding his fantasy.  The expedition eventually went ahead with great success and all of this in the late 1940’s. For those of you interested, there is a great film of the Kon Tiki voyage which was released in 1950 and a half decent dramatization of this story.

There is a riveting example of an Australian artist who took the raft into his own hands, sealing his own rocky fate and an undeniable place in the cultural psyche of our nation.  The Scottish born Ian Fairweather was a typical creative genius loner.  He was well-heeled young man of the world had received a bunch of high level art training and was, by all accounts, quite talented.  Not long after our friend Thor Heyerdahl completed his Pacific crossing in the Kon Tiki, Mr Fairweather found himself living on the beach in Darwin.  He hatched a plot to build himself a raft and sail it across to Indonesia and set off under cover of darkness one evening so as not to be restrained by local (safey concerned) authorities.  Fairweather promptly disappeared and was considered lost at sea.  He did wash ashore later, though news of this, for various reasons, took a long time to return to Australia.  Suffice to say, Fairweather’s adventures were many, varied and intense and worth pursuing.

Here’s a little clip of the man himself.
And a great clip of New Zealand artist Mike Stevenson telling Fairweather’s story by way of the artwork he has made in homage to the man and his extended journey.

Perhaps these have contemporary manifestations in popular media in the form of shows such as Lost, Survivor or Bear Grylls (who has made an appearance previously in this blog.)  I would also say that the unknown in the world and inquiry into it, as represented by my superhero, David Attenborough, might be a good example to note of my kind of televisual adventure.  David’s frontiers are combined in both that of the physicality of the planet and those of our nominal understanding of the magical life forms that inhabit it.   And so, it seems, adventure requires a solid sense of investigation.

It has become clearer to me over the period of this project that I am quite interested in looking for intersections between adventure and art.  I like the idea of analogies that can be drawn between the motivations, ideals and actions of both artistic and adventurist undertakings.  They are clearly both endeavors of passion that are not the path well trodden.

There are a couple of Aussie artists that I would like to mention in closing.  Patrick Wundke is a young Adelaide based artist who has taken it upon himself to pursue urban camping. Sometimes this is in places where he simply plonks himself but, more often, he finds himself refuge in people’s yards via way of door knocking and asking if it is ok. More of Patrick's action here –

I have to include the wonderful Australian photographer Murray Fredericks.  Of course Murray comes to the surface because he has various bicycles at the centre of his creative adventures.  That is not to deny for a minute the amazing photographs he captures whilst camped at the centre of Lake Eyre for days at a time.  You can see some of his greattimelapse work and a little doco of his processes here.

And to sign off – my favourite cartoon of the moment, for those of you who are as yet unaware of it’s pure brilliance – Adventure Time!

Monday, September 30, 2013


Here's a shot of a fun little work that has been on my mind for a while and recently made it into reality.  It is something of a multi-layered one liner  and it is also one of those artworks that makes a whole lot more sense to someone who has studied art than someone who hasn’t.  It has occurred to me on a couple of recent occasions that it deserves a little unpacking for those people engaging in this project who are more interested in bikes than art.  Whilst it may seem to be an obscure kind of wacky object, it arguably references the most significant artwork made by any artist of the last century.

One hundred years ago a French bloke by the name of Marcel Duchamp revolutionized the idea of making art.  Up until that point the dominant way of thinking about art making was that an artist should find a nice landscape or still life to paint or find a model who would take off their clothes so that they could create a statue in that person’s form.  Duchamp and his mates had different ideas.  Mass manufacturing, an outcome of the Industrial Revolution, was only a relatively recent reality and it occurred to Duchamp that perhaps the products of this process could be considered as art.   As a bit of a smarty pants scallywag, Marcel wanted viewers to question relationships between labour and art, techniques and concepts and the general space in which art operated.

He made (or didn’t make) a number of these works over time.  The most known of these include Bicycle Wheel, a urinal, renamed Fountain and a simple Bottle Rack.  To name these artworks and this way of approaching art making, Duchamp coined the phrase ‘Readymade’.  His ‘work’ was rejected and derided by institutions and establishments of the time but has turned out to influence the whole of the art world of the Twentieth century in proposing that the idea behind an art work is as important or even more so than the object that we are presented with.

Some of you might know of another significant artist of the last fifty years called Andy Warhol.  Most famous for his screen prints of Campbell’s soup cans, and considered challenging during his time, Warhol could not have conceived of this work without the prior work of Marcel Duchamp.  It is a little known fact that whilst Andy could make great art and be a superstar he couldn’t ride a bicycle.  Here is a picture of Andy being pushed along, grinning like a small child, pretending to ride his friend’s bike.

If you are still curious about the idea of a Readymade, check out my mate Hennessey Youngman delivering streetwise knowledge on ‘How to make an Art’ (below).  Hennessey also fits neatly into the broader scope of this project in terms of examining portraiture and identity as constructed and portrayed in a social media context.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


A little spread on people who experience Adelaide form places high up - such as tree fellas.. er, fellers, high rise window cleaners and freaky cyclists.  In this October's Adelaide* magazine.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


‘Bike packing’ is a term used in place of ‘cycle touring’. It has a set of connotations much more closely related to the idea of backpacking, trekking, rugged-ness, leaving the beaten path and pursuing adventure. Whilst cycle touring, as terminology, does not preclude these things it is certainly more indicative of the European traditions of behemoth pannier bags, socks and sandals and a legionnaire hat type attachment flapping around at the back of the riders helmet.

In the instance of this particular post, however, it refers to that art of packing a bicycle into a box for the purpose of its own travel. Of course with conventional machines there a set of conventional approaches to this, most commonly a simple, disposable cardboard box. Travellers who are often taking their bikes with them might invest in such things as ‘hard cases’ that resemble a massive, firm suitcase in which their beloved steed will fit. Or there are lighter-weight, less protective versions of these, referred to as a ‘soft case’. 

In my case I have create more of a monolithic cabinet which, whilst still comfortably lifted by two adults is preferably hoisted onto the back of a vehicle by way of a tailgate lifter. This is definitely not going to make it through domestic airline excess baggage check in, although I assure you this machine is designed to dismantle and fit into a conventional cardboard travel box as supplied by your friendly international carrier. In defense of it’s excessive nature, I note that the crate will serve another function in due time. More updates are pending regarding the destination of my machine and the application of its ridiculous travel case. 

Monday, September 9, 2013


Many of the investigations presented as part of this project are simply that. This is an opportunity to test ideas without them necessarily becoming totally resolved. This little video fits into this category. The idea has been on my mind for a while but it needs some more time for it to become tight. Regardless of that, I would still like to share it in it's current form, to be considered as something like a sketch. 

Jimmy's Tall Bike Adventures - Sunset Motion from James Dodd on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


One of the things that interests me in undertaking this project is to explore the idea that people can improve their potential or extend their ability to engage with the world via machines.  More particularly, I am interested in the ways in which people undertake this process in a DIY manner by building things in sheds or yards and testing them on themselves.  This, to me, indicates the true nature of innovation and of invention.

Take, for example, the idea of human flight.  This has been around for a while, beginning with our old mate Leonardo da Vinci through to the early successes of the Wright brothers.  Who, by the way, were bicycle manufacturers in their day jobs.   Human powered flight is another thing, though, perhaps better examined as unpowered flight that has reached particular resolution in forms of hang gliding and radical new wing suits.  There are still those people out there who insist that they can build something in their very own garden sheds that will defy, or at least suspend, gravity for extended periods of time.  This type of individual is referred to as a ‘birdman’.

They get together and jump off of things, over water, for the purpose of entertaining one another and masses of heaving, excitable crowds.  These events are referred to as Birdman Rallies, one of the most famous Australian ones being that which accompanies Melbourne’s annual Moomba festival.   There are also high profile global equivalents such as the UK’s Worthing Rally and the Japan International.

What does all this have to do with art making, portraits and bicycles you ask?  Well, I believe there are a number of Australian artists who espouse the ideals of the birdman in elements of their practice. They take perfectly working objects and modify them in a way that further enables the objects real world and creative potential.  They cobble things together in fantastic ways that give us glimpses at new outcomes and insights.  This group is by no means exhaustive, but it does offer a sense of what is on my mind.

Firstly I would like to introduce Michael Meneghetti, a performance artist who creates various body extensions and personas with which to test ideas.  A 2012 collaboration with Joel Gailer, presented at Fremantle Art Centre, titled Performprint yielded the particularly impressive ‘Harley Printmatrixson’ costume, pictured below.  Check out more detailed documentation and a swag of other great things that Michael has done here -

Henry Jock Walker makes the list with his modified surfboards that become sculptures and also sites from which to make paintings (whilst surfing).  There is a little vid below of some of Jock’s water borne creativity.  He is currently touring around Australia using his van as a mobile studio.  Whilst this may not sound that unique, Jock’s painting technique often involves the vehicle being in motion at the time.  Check out more here -

HMS: Making boardart and Surfing Paintings from Henry Jock Walker on Vimeo.

Simon Pericich is another young man who takes everyday machines or tools and repurposes them for strange human extension.  Often referred to as art that is dark, disturbed or dystopic, his works collate everyday objects into groupings and investigations that are not quite comfortable.  Sometimes makeshift weapons emerge in fusions of tired cricket bats, Astro Boy’s head and some hastily fixed and very sharp looking screws.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Unusual bicycles create wonder and puzzlement in many forms.  The jokers are always quick with a pithy remark like "Don't fall off!" or "What's the weather like up there?"  The simply dumbfounded ones tend to blurt out comments such as "Wow, that's a tall bike!" or "What's that for?"  Then comes the more considered or curious questions like "Did you make that yourself?" or "How long did it take you to make it?"  Of course the perennial favourite is "How do you get on that thing?" or "How do you get down?"  Whilst I don't want to sabotage any mild semblences of mystique that might remain in this project I thought that I would share with you guys a little bit of a demonstration of the technique of mounting and dismounting a tall bike.

Jimmy's Tall Bike Adventures - How to get on and off from James Dodd on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


There's been a small break in action on this page.  As an artist there are often periods where work requirements are more administrative and behind the scenes and the last few weeks have definitely been like this for me.  Of course, what that ideally means is that there are bigger and better things to look forward to that will come out of all of these various discussions, negotiations and applications.
Recently, though, I did have the pleasure of spending an afternoon with one of Adelaide's finest photographers, Sam Roberts.  We visited a top secret tall bike testing ground and snapped off a couple of glamour shots.  Witness the magic below in these transcendent moments.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


After last week’s post regarding the idea of regular public performance as a simple gift from individuals to society, a friend of mine brought to my attention the Legend of Zyzz.  Whilst not quite the same thing as I originally proposed as a Performance Lifestyle, Zyss is only a small step away, though in which direction I am as yet unsure.  Zyzz fits perfectly as a point of discussion in this broader project presenting fertile dialogue in relation to ideas of self-portraits constructed in the context of social media.

Zyzz is a contemporary manifestation of the classical Greek myth of Narcissus, a beautiful young man who falls in love with his own reflection, only to be trapped by it, bringing him to his death. Where this story moves beyond the often simple concept of narcissism is in Zyzz’s following.  His presence on the internet is wide ranging and it is stated that his legacy is inspiration to a generation of young people aspiring to reach the peak of their fitness, physicality and appearance.  His motivational videos have influenced thousands of people across Australia and the world, resulting in a generational shift that is quickly apparent at any dance music festival or metropolitan night out on the town.  One of the videos that I am presenting below has had more that 5 million hits and whilst it goes without saying that the content is compelling and astonishing I ponder on  the viewers of this work and each of their motivations.

Best viewed in the order they are shown, the first video shows my favourite part of Zyzz, his dancing, and the second is a bit of an extended remix which builds out more of his character.  Until next time – train with passion, rage and heart.

Friday, July 26, 2013


The words ‘performance’ and ‘lifestyle’ are bandied around a lot these days.  They conjure up ideas of individuals making the most, or getting the most, or squeezing the most out of whatever lifestyle choice it is that they are currently pursuing. The idea of performance in contemporary society is one that might imply ‘performance indicators’ or ‘high performance’, and perhaps a sense of fitness, committed training, elite athleticism, triathlons, bodybuilding and other overachiever obsessions.  ‘Lifestyle’ is one of those dirty words that I often feel a little cynical towards, especially in light of ‘lifestyle television’ or ‘lifestyle choices’, though there is no escaping the fact that we all make ‘lifestyle choices’ and live out one lifestyle or another.

In the context of this research project and reflections upon the idea of portraits and personalities I think of ‘performance lifestyle’ in another manner.  In particular, I think of those people who develop a lifestyle devoted to performing. Not performing in the sense of ‘in the theatre’ or “I’m a performance artist – come and watch my video” but those people who are committed to outdoors, on the street, real live, everyday type of performance.  It’s the kind of performers who genuinely engage with a real public and challenge people’s day-to-day sense of what may or may not constitute reality or the norm. 

I’m not talking about buskers and people who pursue or expect a financial exchange. I’m talking about people who put on a show, regardless of financial outcomes. These are the people that ‘give’, culturally, on a daily basis.  It’s something like the ideals of street art where art comes out of the confines of a gallery and is “just there for everybody, man”, though we all know that street art always has a bit that you can buy.

Certainly, this project aspires to those big ideals and I get a huge kick out freaking people out on a daily basis.  My research seems to indicate that the general public are at ease with bicycles as they know them, but they are often flabbergasted that someone might alter a bicycle in order to make it more entertaining.  I love the looks that people give you – kind of variations on fear, shock, nausea, having just soiled their smalls and outright hilarity.  This contorted facial expression is often combined with overall body language that indicates the viewer has just witnessed some giant glitch in the matrix that they better hurry up and photograph on their mobile device before the gaping schism in reality closes over again. (As an aside, I wonder whether contemporary Ghostbusters might simply capture supernatural nemeses on iPads.) These comments should not be read as a criticism of the general public as I enjoy acting out this cultural transaction and playing on it, I enjoy the role of performer.

There are many heroes, all over the world, of the Performance Lifestyle genre and I would like to take this opportunity to tip my hat to some of the more distinct that I have encountered and enjoyed on a regular basis.

Johnny Haysmann’s physical stature is dwarfed only by his legendary status as an Adelaide icon.  Equal parts enigma and celebrity, Johnny’s white gumboots, speedos and various array of accessories have been seen striding proudly through Rundle Mall and into the South Australian shared psyche for what seems like decades.  Here is a link to his own website which offers a warm and personal insight into the man and his motivations.

Victor Lancaster, Melbourne’s infamous bucket drummer has kept the CBD alive for many years.  His beats have been celebrated on numerous occasions and made into several recordings.  You can read a little more about Victor here.

You simply must watch this beautiful video of Darwin’s Trevor Jenkins, the Rubbish Warrior.  Trevor devotes his time to constructing ephemeral sculptures out of roadside detritus- in between running for mayor and generally fighting the good fight.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Have you ever wondered how it is that our intrepid adventurers maintain body heat on the wild tundras of the Adelaide Hills?  Here's the secret - Adventure Pants!  Made from Australian fabric and hand printed in Melbourne, these high quality garments have been seen wrapping the pins of the finest tradies, outdoor athletes and rock stars.   These are my own personal choice for their cotton construction, sans fleece, allowing a high level of breathability and their resistance to the mobile sauna outcomes of other similar products.  They also are perfect for my application in their own fusion of both art and adventure.

Beyond my completely objective rant I make note that my services are available for the promotion of any Australian made product that makes use of the word 'adventure' in it's title.  I am also open to alliances between any handmade products that assist in the pursuit of high end freaky adventuring.

Stay warm kids - you know how!

Friday, July 12, 2013


When I began this particular blog I thought that it may become focused on the adventures of one particular bike.  Of course that could never be the case as I’m just not a one bike kind of person.  In fact, there is a formula that is widely applied throughout the bike world by which you can calculate the number of bikes that you need.  It is a simple calculation of n +1, with n being the number of bikes that you already have.  The same formula could also be applied to art collecting. 

The affliction of bicycle collection or accumulation can become even more serious when you start to give old bikes that are otherwise discarded a new lease on life. Old bikes tend to appear magically in the street, people who know that you collect bikes start to deliver them to your door and pretty soon you have quite a pile of raw materials from which to create. In this case, the practice of tall bike building could have that contemporary catch phrase, ‘upcycling’, applied.  The term then becomes nicely stacked with extra analogy.

There is an element of this project that I have decided to develop a little further, and whilst I’m not quite ready to reveal it in it’s entirety, I can say that I have decided that the project will require a specific new tall machine.  So, here’s a snap of this latest lanky creation currently in the stage of being rigorously test ridden before receiving a little more finite finishing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Jimmy's Tall Bike Adventures - Three Tall Bikes One Long Weekend from James Dodd on Vimeo.

This is a tale of three young gents on three unusual machines, bike packing through the picturesque Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.  It is a slightly longer compilation than my usual output so make yourself comfy, sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


A more obvious variation of the theme of this project, followed below by a bit of an expansion of conversations I find myself having whilst straddling various camps.


It has occurred to me, in my attempt to fill a gap between art worlds and bike worlds that there is a lot of specialist language that is employed between the two.  Certainly, this is not a revelation and this kind of thing occurs in all subcultures.  These nuances of language are developed both for a need to be able to have highly specific and resolved communication and also become present in more informal contexts.  These less formal applications include things like the use of slang which has built in cultural implications that indicate complex understandings and can be applied in ways that can leave outsiders feeling excluded.

Let me give you some examples that are fitting to this project.  If I was talking to a trained art head I would talk about things like how I am interested in notions of hacking, hijacking and punk.  More specifically, I would make reference to movements such as Arte Povera, Grunge and maybe even take a stab at the idea of freak bikes being related the notion of the abject and it’s reanimation of things otherwise dead or discarded.

There are those people I know who are left leaning, politically, who I would talk to about the idea of freak bike culture purposefully rejecting existing systems of order, opposing primary elements of commodity based culture and encouraging DIY in the post apocalyptic sense rather than the Jamie Durie sense.  I might even try to strike up a conversation about true radical creativity.

To my bike buddies I talk about things such as bike-packing, how the relative head angle of a tall bike effects the trail of the fork, overall weight position and the machine’s tendency to perform uncontrollable mad wheelies and my futile attempts at joining delicate 4130 tubing with the decidedly undelicate process of arc welding.  Most of these conversations are relevant to an understanding of all things two-wheeled and pedallable and are shared with the majority of my long term bike friends who tend to have a passion for anything that vaguely resembles a bicycle.  They, in-turn, have arrived at their specific points via original interests in specific cycling subcultures such as BMX, MTB, fixed or road, all of which have a specifc set of language and understandings. Indeed, most of these specific subcultures act as a bit of a gateway drug to get riders hooked into a lifetime of bicycle use.

So, after all of that nonsense, I would expect that you are scratching your head in confusion, regarding one angle or another.  At this point, I must also make clear, that there is no quick way to resolve these gaps, only that it is up to those people who use specialist language not to use it in anger and to help out those who are still coming up to speed.  Similarly, don’t be intimidated by big words, just consider them another step forward in your own ongoing language adventure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


As an extension of my ongoing creative projects and a shared love of bikes and adventure, three of us set off on a three-day tall bike camping excursion over the recent long weekend. We travelled from Adelaide, through the Mt Lofty Ranges and down the Fleurieu Peninsula, stopping overnight at Meadows and McLaren Vale.

Part extreme expedition, part performance art on wheels, this journey was a lot of fun.  It was an exploration of our own potential, the potential of strange machines and an ongoing service to community via free public entertainment in the form of a tricky to label, kind of mobile street art freak out. 

It was a very successful trip and we eagerly anticipate more to come. I have made a short video to share our experience.  This is the taster - full report coming soon.

Jimmy's Tall Bike Adventures - Three Tall Bikes One Long Weekend - Taster from James Dodd on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The French term en plein air translates simply as in the open air.  It is commonly applied in the art world to describe paintings created outdoors.  Artists find themselves drawn to the outdoors, favoring the cool breeze in their hair and the distinct natural light to the often musty confines of their studios.  Armed with portable easels and materials, artists set off into the landscape to create studies and finished works of the world around them.

Australia has a fantastic history of plein air painting stretching from early colonial artists such as Eugene Von Guerard and George French Angas, through wonderful Impressionists such as Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Charles Conder, to artists working today.  One of the many nuances of plein air painting is that the artist is more immediately experiencing the place that they are representing.  The process is often discussed in romantic, heroic terms, with the artist consistently referred to as ‘capturing’ a sense of place or time.  Amongst our contemporary Australian artists are figures such as John Wolseley, famous for his extended treks which move beyond simple painting via the incorporation of processes such as the use of branches and leaves for mark making, adding soil to his surface and even the burial of canvases for later excavation.  In all cases, these artists are considered in terms of their adventuring expeditions and the observations and artworks resulting from them.  So, it only makes sense that I should develop an easel attachment for my tall bike.  

Pictured here in its prototype stage, the attachment allows the rider use the bike as a support for painting, enabling the artist the freedom to ride to any desired location and pursue their making, plein air.   The process of traversing the landscape on bicycle imbues the rider with a tangible experience of that place, which becomes transferred to that persons understanding and the work that they produce.  The easel attachment also lends itself nicely as a metaphor for this project as a whole, where the bicycle is the primary site for creativity.

This variation is collapsible, breaking down into it’s various components for easy stowage and carrying.  Those of you who are more bike oriented might recognise some of the commonly available bits that have been repurposed  here.