Like the Bicycle Film Festival, ARTCRANK has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a celebration a specific intersection of cycling culture and creative culture. The bike-themed poster exhibition started in Minneapolis in 2007 and has since expanded to nearly a dozen locations, adding more cycle-happy cities every year.
As in the tech sector, I think it's safe to assume that graphic design is a particularly cyclist-centric vocation, making the art poster a perfect medium for visually-inclined creatives to express their passion for human-powered alternative transportation. While poster series we've covered in the past (Crayonfire's 2011 Tour de France graphics and Guilherme Henrique's "Ville vs. Velodrome") are characterized by a narrative or infographic element, ARTCRANK hearkens back to the roots of graphic design. The exhibition features local artists' work in small editions, presented as "affordable, original works of art," showcasing the full spectrum of graphic design.
ARTCRANK Creative Director & Curator Charles Youel was happy to share a quick overview of their most recent show in Austin (which includes all of the artwork shown here):Since its birth in Minneapolis in 2007, ARTCRANK has staged bike-themed poster shows featuring hundreds of artists in ten different cities, including Portland, San Francisco and London. On February 24, we made our long-overdue debut in Austin, Texas. Our show featured hand-made, bike-inspired posters created by 30 Austin-area artists, with limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters available for $40 each.
One of the big ideas behind ARTCRANK is to make art as accessible as bicycles are. There's certainly a financial dimension to that—it's pretty cool to be able offer handmade posters for less than 50 bucks. But beyond that, we love introducing people to the artists who live in and work in their community. In Austin, my favorite part of the opening was being an anonymous observer who got to watch as people were drawn in, by the genius of individual posters, and by the sheer volume of imagination inspired by this simple machine we all love.
This, of course, is just a sampling of the excellent work that was created for ARTCRANK Austin, which will be on display at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop through this Sunday, March 18 (for those of you who are in town for SXSW), as well as in an online gallery. Next up is their hometown show, which opens with a party on Saturday, April 14, at Minneapolis's Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art.
As per the spirit of the show, they've announced a call for participants for ARTCRANK St. Louis, which is slated for May. See the details here.