[CR]Bikes as art

(Example: Production Builders:Cinelli)

In-Reply-To: <MONKEYFOODhQ262F4J400003468@monkeyfood.nt.phred.org>
From: "Dennis Young" <mail@woodworkingboy.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 09:17:27 +0900
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
cc: loudeeter@aol.com
Subject: [CR]Bikes as art

I haven't heard anyone suggesting to build bikes for the sake of art, at the expense of practicality. Frivolity no doubt occurs, and the bike with all the holes in the frame, possibly that canvas should be named, "Lightness to die for". I was thinking specifically of Brian when I suggested that approach might dictate the "art" classification being fairly applied, perhaps exclusively of intent. As a maker of practical objects myself, I used to think that the art reference was a little too dirty for me, a little too inclusive, but if it helps people separate what I do from the assembly line practices, where the raw material gets stuck into a machine at one end, and gets spit out as a finished product at the other end, then I think it's fair and I kind of like it.

"Whatever gets you through the night, well it's alright....it's alright" ~ John Lennon

Dennis Young Hotaka, Japan

> Lou,
> The art vs. bicycle debate has been raging since the beginning of
> time a
> lmost. I'm sure most people would classify me as one of the "Art"
> frameb
> uilders. I would consider that wrong; and it's not quite an insult
> to me
> , but only because I allow people to have their own opinions, and
> they d
> on't know any better. Sometimes it is difficult to seperate the
> two. Her
> e's how I see it. It's a bicycle no matter how beautifully you
> rendered
> the piece if there isn't anything on the bike that does not perform
> a ne
> ccessary and logical function. In lugged frame construction the
> luggs ar
> e neccessary. Lugs need a profile on the edges to eliminate the
> stress r
> iser that would be at thejunction. To put a shoreling on a lug is
> necces
> sary. Some may have a better eye for curves and perportions which
> could
> be art, but still it has a purpose for being done. I'm sure most
> framebu
> ilders have lost sight of this long ago. Read VBQ for the longer
> explain
> ation.
> When the shape of the lug takes a shape that is decorative and
> opens the
> door for frame failier, it's not art it's foolishness. I saw a
> couple o
> f "artsy" frames at the show that qualify for this. The bicycle and
> Y aspect of it's design and construction should be aimed DIRECTLY
> at fun
> ction first. If you can clecerly make it pleasing to look at, for
> some t
> hat is a plus. For others it is wasted money and time. Both are
> true. Ps
> ychologically one generally feels better if the object is pretty.
> Certai
> nly one feels better if you are wearing a nice pair of shoes that
> also f
> unction well for the surroundings as opposed to a comfy pair that
> are be
> aten and tattered and are out of place, in a bad way.
> A bike becomes an art bike as soon as stainless steel shows up on
> the fr
> ame anywhere beyond the dropout faces in my opinion. Also any piece
> that
> is not performing a neccessary function on the frame becomes art;
> and f
> or what purpose? Just to make a frame into "art"? I think it is not
> only
> silly in most cases it's also compromising the potential lifespan
> of th
> e bike. There are a bizillion ways to put a lable on the down tube
> of a
> bike. Brazing a stailness billboard on the DT is the last thing on
> earth
> I'd do to a bike. Most of these things are not cut by hand either.
> The
> money they cost should come out of the "advertizing and promotions"
> budg
> et. Fancy bits on a seat tube or head tube like Roberson has been
> doing
> for years is not really an issue; but anything in the top tube,
> down tub
> e, or forks and stays is bogus in my book. An example, with all due
> resp
> ect to the builder and he gets points for "thinking out of the box"
> to s
> ome degree, would be the clever? idea of brazing a stainless collar
> to t
> he top tube of a fancy track bike to prevent the bar from denting
> the tt
> or scratching the paint. Only problem is that it's back aways from
> the
> butting of the thinwall tube, the design is a straight line going
> direct
> ly around the circumfrance of the tube. Knowing what I know about
> such t
> hings; I would expect a few good wacks with the bar or just the
> torsiona
> l forces of the frame will cause a failier there whereas any
> traditional
> method of solving that problem will never cause a failier. A case
> of a
> "problem being solved" by making it worse. The collar isn't a
> totally ba
> d idea, but it needs a shoreline, one without any points on the
> edge and
> the metal should not be more than about .020" think when
> completed. Thi
> s is the difference between a builder trying to "reinvent the
> wheel" and
> set the world on fire (it's what all of us did when we were young
> and f
> ull of piss and vinegar) and trying to make his mark amongst the
> older t
> raditional framebuilders. I'm sure in time he will settle into a
> more pr
> actical approach, like all of the rest of us; or maybe not.
> When a bike is made for art's sake, say with a LOT of stainless,
> lot's o
> f carving, trinkets and castings brazed on, etc., my opinion is
> they sho
> uld do what they probably did befor taking up framebuilding. As a
> jewele
> r that kind of talent will make you real money and is totally in
> it's pl
> ace. My opinion, as much as I respect and appreciate the skill
> involved,
> I feel strongly that this stuff is very out of place ona bicycle.
> Look
> at bicycles designed to function that take the traditional methods
> and r
> ender them in a practical balance of function first. The paint or
> finish
> can reflect the owners and builders style and character without
> going t
> o extreme lengths to get attention and stand out. The "art" there
> is in
> blending the style and preferences of both parties into a
> harmonious and
> attractive piece without pimping it out or shooting yourself in
> the foo
> t by adding things to the bike that do nothing other than deceorate
> it a
> nd compromise the integrity of the frame and shorten it's lifespan.
> Others my have differing opinions. I don't make art bikes. It
> annoys the
> crap out of me when people say that. I firmly believe in the
> bicycle as
> a practical piece, not a canvas for the budding artist. Look at
> what I
> make and hopefully you will remove me from the art builders
> catagory in
> your mind. I DO NOT want to be there. I prefer to do a bang up job
> of th
> e "traditional" bike, but that's just me.
> Brian Baylis
> La Mesa, CA
> -- loudeeter@aol.com wrote:
> I guess you have to define art. To me, if something is pleasing to
> the
> eye, that makes me look at it from different angles and
> perspectives, th
> en it classifies as art. It might be a building, a bicycle, a
> masterpie
> ce portrait, or a beautiful woman. I do believe bike frames are
> more th
> an functional. If I wanted something that was only functional, why
> in t
> he world would I pay more dollars to get fancy lugs, done just
> right, or
> superb paint? Just my three cents. Lou Deeter, Orlando FL
> Policeman: "Just how big were those two beers?"