ARTCRANK 2013 preview: "Even the ugliest bike is still pretty cool," says Adam Turman
Since being founded in Minneapolis in 2007, ARTCRANK has spread across the country and the world. At first, the show's specific angle -- posters inspired by biking -- might seem like a gimmicky way of capitalizing on the recent resurgence of cycling. But after spending a little time with the artists and organizers who make it happen, it soon becomes clear that the "art" and "crank" of ARTCRANK are linked together by more than just a name.
ARTCRANK bills itself as a "a poster party for bike people." Saturday's event at the Grainbelt Brewery Warehouse will showcase original, limited-edition posters centered on biking in Minneapolis from more than 40 artists, all local and selected out of hundreds of applicants.
Like any good celebration, there will be beer (from Widmer Brothers, with all proceeds benefiting Springboard for the Arts) and grub (food trucks will be onsite). The opening reception looks to top last years' attendance record of over 4,000 fans.
It's sure to be a packed house, but that's nothing new. According to the show's founder, Charles Youel, it's been that way since the first show.
"We expected maybe 50 people to show up," Youel says. "We got 500. I think the only thing we weren't prepared for was that the show would be a success."
Adam Turman was a part of that first crowded event. "The place was hot and sweaty and crazy," he says. "There were TV stations and press outside."
As an illustrator and designer working in the Twin Cities since 2003, Turman's distinctive style of mixing elements of colorful vintage pinup posters with Minnesota influences is ubiquitous around town. He's been making art inspired by bikes since 2005. Since ARTCRANK started, it has become an increasingly prominent part of his repertoire. He's been in every "ARTCRANK MSP" show since the beginning.
When asked about the growing popularity of ARTCRANK, Turman acknowledges the role of the media ("bicycles are kinda big right now") and passing trends like the Minneapolis "rivalry" with Portland, but he also points out something that's been clear to everyone involved all along: Bikes and people who ride them just tend to be pretty cool.
"People who ride bikes -- at least in my experience -- are into art, they're into culture, and they're into beer," he says. "Art and bikes, a bike being a piece of art itself, these things kind of go hand in hand. Even the ugliest bike is still pretty cool."
|ARTCRANK MSP 2013 poster, Always Take the High Road|
And just as art can be inspired by bikes, in turn bikes can imitate art. Amy Jo Hendrickson is a graphic designer and screenprinter who runs a storefront studio, Who Made Who, in northeast Minneapolis. Her style is that of a punk-rock engraver, and her dark-yet-whimsical posters showcase gigs all over the Twin Cities.
She's been an ARTCRANK vet for six years, and gets around on a stylish set of wheels.
"I have an aqua blue Electra Superdeluxe Cruiser that people like to say match my posters," Hendrickson says.
Getting around this way does more for her art than simply fitting in with their aesthetic. Hendrickson sees it almost as a part of the creative process.
"There's a freedom with riding a bike that's very similar to making artwork," she says. "You choose different directions when you travel by bicycle, which allows you to see your surroundings differently. Not to mention all that fresh air clears your head and stimulates great ideas."