Air, Grip, and Flow – An Artists Collaboration

Apr 19, 2017
by Laurence Crossman-Emms  
AIR GRIP FLOW MTB Art - An artist collaboration - http mtbart.bigcartel.com

Many will argue: Is photography art? This question has widely been debated since the creation of the camera.

In a sense photos are like mirrors; they capture the exact moment that the camera sees. However, if an artist is holding the camera this is a moment captured through an artist's eye, which beckons the question: Is this art? What about if an artist takes a photo but then you have another artist create a painting of that photo? You have the recipe for an art inception…

Myself, Laurence Crossman-Emms, and digital artist, Carl Ringquist (founder/artist for MTB-Art) decided to join passions and take a shot at this art inception, putting shutter and pencil together to create a trilogy of mountain biking photography inspired pieces.

Air, Grip, and Flow are three components of mountain biking that Carl really wanted to hit. Carl created these three minimalistic scenes filled with detail and precision to replicate their photography counterparts while adding his unique twist. These masterpieces are not your simple copy, paste, run an effect, stick it through an app, kind of art. They are hand drawn from start to finish, finely detailed and coloured works of art.

Find more about MTB-Art on his website found here.

Carl Says: "I got in touch with Laurence when I came across one of his pictures of Greg Minnaar. I was looking for a sketch to do as Greg had just taken his record breaking 18th World Cup win. Laurence was really cool about me basing my work on one of his shots, and we were both stoked with the outcome! We met up in person for the first time some months later at the World Cup in Vallnord. Here we decided to develop a project together, loosely based around the concept of 'The Essence of Mountain biking'.

My work is mostly based on photographic reference. When I don’t work from my own photography I feel very humble towards using other people's photos. For that reason, I always make sure to reach out and try not to step on any one's hardworking toes. Doing a collaboration with Laurence was a great opportunity to work with a professional with a deep understanding of what makes good mountain bike photography. It also made what is normally a quiet solo effort, a lot more interesting and dynamic."

AIR GRIP FLOW MTB Art - An artist collaboration - http mtbart.bigcartel.com

Carl has an artistic background and 15 years experience as an automotive designer. The combination of knowledge on traditional art mediums and that of a digital process has led to the style and manner in which he creates his pieces. He started with a couple of acrylic paintings but now does it all via digital sketching: less hassle and less mess! Working layer by layer, detail by detail gives him a connection with the subject beyond the basic stoke he already feels while depicting the best athletes in the best sport in the world! On average, one piece takes him probably around 15 hours to complete, but some are looser and take less time for sure.

Carl and I decided to base our collaboration around Whistler and the Bike Park. Carl felt that imagery from my Deep Summer slideshow from 2015, captured the essence of what he wanted to depict in the trilogy…presenting Air • Grip • Flow

Air
The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass, speaks to me – Chief Dan George, Geswanouth Slahoot

AIR The beauty of the trees the softness of the air the fragrance of the grass speaks to me Chief Dan George Geswanouth Slahoot Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

AIR The beauty of the trees the softness of the air the fragrance of the grass speaks to me Chief Dan George Geswanouth Slahoot Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com


AIR The beauty of the trees the softness of the air the fragrance of the grass speaks to me Chief Dan George Geswanouth Slahoot Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

Mike Hopkins boosting the hip with steeze - Laurence CE - www.laurence-ce.com
Rider: Mike Hopkins / Callaghan Valley, Whistler, BC, Canada

The artworks aim to capture the essence of mountain biking—that being in the moment, in that flow where your mind and body are one and when time seems to freeze.

Grip
Hold on to what is good, even if its handful of earth – Pueblo Prayer

GRIP Hold on to what is good even if its handful of earth Pueblo Prayer Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

GRIP Hold on to what is good even if its handful of earth Pueblo Prayer Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com


GRIP Hold on to what is good even if its handful of earth Pueblo Prayer Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

Mike Hopkins ripping a berm on Bear Cub - Laurence CE - www.laurence-ce.com
Rider: Mike Hopkins / Blue Velvet, Whistler Bike Park, BC, Canada

All artwork is hand drawn by Carl. Although working in digital, he uses a very similar process to that of a traditional artist, no shortcuts! This gives him a stronger emotional connection with each piece.

Flow
In the midst of chaos and movement, keep stillness inside of you – Deepak Chopra

FLOW In the midst of chaos and movement keep stillness inside of you Deepak Chopra Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

FLOW In the midst of chaos and movement keep stillness inside of you Deepak Chopra Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com


FLOW In the midst of chaos and movement keep stillness inside of you Deepak Chopra Drawing by MTB-Art Carl Ringquist inspired by original photography by Laurence CE - Buy here http mtbart.bigcartel.com

Sterling Christenson not phased by the precipitation - Laurence CE - www.laurence-ce.com
Rider: Sterling Christenson / Afternoon Delight, Whistler Bike Park, BC, Canada

These incredible pieces of work are available in a limited print series from the MTB-Art shop found here

Prints are made at Copialab Barcelona, specialists in fine art prints for more than 25 years. Highest quality Giclée print on Photo Rag paper 308 g/m2 · 100% cotton – Shipping Worldwide

Photography: Laurence Crossman- Emms // www.laurence-ce.com // Instagram
Digital Illustrator: Carl Ringquist // www.mtbart.bigcartel.com // Instagram



MENTIONS: @WhistlerMountainBikePark / @Laurence-CE / @hopkins



38 Comments

  • + 28
 Awesome stuff. I would love to see more quality art in MTB. Maybe it's the emphasis on engineering, but our community lacks an aesthetic core like you tend to find in skateboarding, snowboarding or surfing, where art, design, and expression are traditionally just as important as numbers, performance, and materials. On the industry side, A few outliers like Deity harness the power of form and function, but from Five Ten shoes to Fox helmets to SRAM+Troy Lee handlebars, form is often a miss if it's attempted at all. on the enthusiast side, we don't seem to attract the creatives the way some of these other communities do. Although photography and videography are one place where I we shine. I'm just kinda spit-balling here, what do you guys think?
  • + 1
 There's plenty of good looking products in my opinion. Yeti, Unno, Antidote, Swarf, SWorks Demo, Wilson, latest Commencal Meta in alu raw, mavic wheels, Fox forks, RS-1, TLD D3/A2, POC.
  • + 6
 Aesthetics are subjective. Like waki said, there are tons of beautiful products in the biking industry, it just depends on how you look at them. Snowboards, skateboards, and surfboards are flat planks, perfect for applying some sort of graphic or artwork. Bikes are not shaped like this. As a result, we get to admire paint jobs and designs rather than artwork and board graphics, which are also subjective. Furthermore, the mountain bike community is one of the most creative in my opinion. Just look at all the failed and crazy frame designs from past years, as well as all of the people out there making frames in their garages.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: you're right. There are beautiful products. I muddied my point by bringing up product manufacturers. I was thinking more about the 2D aesthetics on or around those products. Alchemy Arktos, for example, beautiful frame with a logo and paint job that appear to have been tossed together by an engineer. I guess overall I'd appreciate more MTB related art that I could hang on my wall. Not that manufacturers should provide it, but that the community would support and promote more of it. Paintings. Murals. Sketches. That kind of stuff.
  • + 4
 @ewoodard024: great points. I think the "canvas" provided by skate and snowboards is a big part of the difference. Perhaps I should better appreciate MTB as sculpture.
  • + 5
 @BiNARYBiKE @ewoodard024 I'm a graphic designer and I think bike frames are a great canvas! I guess I tend to think of bikes as having liveries, like a car - a bit of a different concept than board sports graphics, but a rad opportunity for design nonetheless. I dig Yeti's graphics, but my personal favorites are the Intense designs of late, that color blocking and the way their type treatment perfectly matches the contours of the frame tubes.... gaddamn. Would get one if I didn't care about a threaded BB, which leads me towards Santa Cruz bikes, which in their own right have sexy graphics - that 2016 Bronson in hot pink/neon yellow... jesus take the wheel. I also think you're right that bike frames can be appreciated as sculpture to an extent, and some look very nice in just raw alu or ti, or flat black. I've dreamed of designing boardsports graphics as a career but I think being on a design team at a bike company would be just as rad.
  • + 4
 @jcrrr13: The only way I can deal with your comment after you put together "I'm a graphic designer" and "Intense paint jobs of late are great" is repeat 50 times: "beauty is in the eye of beholder" followed by a 100 of "looks are personal". You just gave me flasbacks of traumas given me by teachers from art school judging my drawings and paintings, and always giving me lots of sht for the stuff I was proud of and worked hard on for many hours then giving me top marks for sht I did in 30 minutes, some of which were stuff copied straight from my friends drawings by putting one on top of another on glass table with lamp underneath.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I really quite like your drawings, and actually I think the pinkbike community as a whole should thank you for sharing your opinion on pretty much any issue that shows up on here. Regardless of whether our ideals match Waki I'd like to thank you for promoting discussion on this website, and quite possibly being the most vocal commenter with no filter (no filter is a good thing, the man speaks his mind).
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Haha yes, most definitely in the eye of the beholder!!! Can't judge another person's taste! And I definitely had some experiences like that in design school, you're not alone! I think the intense designs of the past 2-3 years are nice and clean, especially in the more subtle colors. The ACV makes ugly 70s colors look modern and chic IMO. Call me crazy!
  • + 0
 the aesthetics mountain bikers should be concerned with are how they move through space to the best of their abilities and work on excellence
  • + 2
 @gnarcasm: As much as I agree that actually riding your fn bike is the highest priority, I also think it's of great importance to maintain, promote, and further foster the symbiotic relationship we've seen grow between action sports and the arts. Art has always been a fundamental part of action sports, which is one of the only industries where many artists are allowed total creative freedom while being compensated appropriately for their work and getting great recognition and exposure at the same time. Maybe this is all true most in skateboarding and snowboarding, but I think biking can take some cues from those sports to foster more artistic involvement in the industry. A prime example of this great relationship between action sports and the arts is the work of Jim Phillips. Would love to see a Santa Cruz frame with the screaming hand all over it or something crazy. While not as popular as it once was, Warped Tour is another great example. But yeah, ride your f*cking bike first and foremost!
  • + 1
 Just going to leave this here www.sketchytrails.com
  • + 2
 @jcrrr13: Funny you mention the screaming hand Santa Cruz skateboard. I built one for my son for a christmas present in 2010. Brilliant artwork!
  • + 8
 I'd love to see more artwork like this. The price is tad steep for me, but its limited edition so it makes sense. Good all around.
  • + 3
 Great art and kudos to the artists

Does anyone have any of Stevie smith

Maybe do a limited edition run and we can donate to the foundation?

I'd be interested
  • + 1
 standing in the finish area, devinci held high
  • + 3
 Amazing work, and it is very interesting to see another take on an already great work of art!
  • + 2
 Probably it is my own personal tragedy but why waste time and copy photos?
WAKIdesigns conceptual scribblings are much artsier than these...
  • + 1
 Agreed. Can we hire Waki to a full time job making scribblings I can use for my background?
  • + 1
 Really really cool work! I love the rendering style.
Is it wrong to share where I'm lucky to work? Sharing for those who want to see more tech imagery/3D - studiowestllc.com/cycling
  • + 1
 Nice work, not a fan of the white brushing on the AIR one. Seems a little sloppy and a bit amateurish. Overall, I like all three of these. Makes me want to get back into making fan art.
  • + 3
 Love the loose design sketching style paired with mountain bikes- its a fresh take on the sport!
  • + 3
 Now I know why upper Blue Velvet is always littered with holes and brake bumps!
  • + 1
 If this artwork (or similar) was made into a large scale calendar (think bigger than the wimpy 8x11 PinkBike calendar) then I would definitely buy it.
  • + 2
 awesome, great to see some art in the sport
  • + 1
 Love it. I'd kill things for the tailored option, mind you at $500 I'd pretty much have to.
  • + 1
 Does anyone remember a video on PB of someone creating a digital image of Peaty? I should have faved it.
  • + 0
 Nice way of using the Filter Gallery on PS and the extra touches you've thrown in, Great work!
  • + 3
 You just described the terror of matte-painting artist... like realists had to face the photography. I do respect guys painting over stuff, it takes time and skill, but too often it looks like a filtered photo. The grudge of realism...
  • + 2
 I don´t use any filters man, but no problem if you´re not into the work. Its all pretty subjective stuff this "art" business, I understand. Anyway I hope to keep learning and evolving.
  • + 2
 I know this is going to generate some hate.

"My work is mostly based on photographic reference." More like tracing/drawing on top of the existing photo.

I just took the Mike Hopkins / Callaghan Valley photo into Photoshop and placed the "illustration" on top. It's an exact match.
  • + 1
 @srh2: No hate at all, Love and peace Smile When I say my work is "mostly based on photographic reference" I meant that sometimes I sketch based on other things, from other media or from other sources of inspiration such as graphics I like or whatever. I dont hide the fact that my art is based off of great photos. Which by the way is no different from many artist in different all sorts of areas. The things is I could do this freehand, trust me, but I want time to get out and ride too! But thanx for the comment, as I have said I am learning and evolving.
  • + 1
 Oh man, these are bangin!!
  • + 2
 totally wicked
  • + 1
 These would be cool as massive wall decals.....
  • + 1
 sick stuff
  • + 1
 These are wicked !
  • + 1
 Next level shit!

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