ARTCRANK shows feature the work of 30 or more local artists who create an original poster design about bikes and what cycling means in their lives. “I was inspired by a desire to create something that allowed bike-loving designers to make art about something close to their hearts,” says Charles Youel, founder and creative director of ARTCRANK. “We began in 2007 with a single show at a bike shop in Minneapolis. We expected 50 people to turn up. We got 500. In 2012, more than 4,000 people attended our Minneapolis opening night party.” Mission: ARTCRANK uses creativity to change the way people think about bicycles and grow the cycling community.
As ARTCRANK has grown, the show has had a strong influence on the Twin Cities cycling culture. “I’d like to think that we’ve made a small contribution to changing the way that people think about bicycles, maybe reminding them that the reason we all started riding bikes in the first place was to hang our with our friends and have fun,” says Youel. “Giving independent artists and designers a forum to share their talents with a few hundred, or a few thousand people is something that I take a great deal of personal pride and satisfaction in.” The artist’s work is presented on posters. Yet within those borders, the interpretations of cycling is incredibly vast and deeply personal. Some people will move past a poster quickly while others will stand transfixed by the artist’s point of view.
“Our goal has always been to make art as accessible — and as enjoyable — as bikes are. That’s something that seems to resonate with the cycling community here in the Twin Cities, and everywhere else we’ve been with the show,” says Youel. Limited edition of signed and numbered copies to show and sell. All posters are made by hand, using printing techniques like screen-printing and letterpress. And all posters can be purchased for $50. Long lines start forming hours before the doors open. The venue is often packed as people ponder with artist’s interpretations of cycling in the Twin Cities. “ARTCRANK is a gateway drug for bike people who are curious about art, and for art people who are curious about bikes. Back when we started in 2007, our audience was probably 70 percent cycling enthusiasts and 30 percent artists,” says Youel. Now, I’d say it’s a lot closer to 50-50 split. At the same time, the Venn diagram showing the relationship between “bike enthusiasts” and “art enthusiasts” is basically two circles smack-dab on top of each other, so it’s hard to say.”
Additional viewing opportunities allow more people to see the collection and purchase posters. This year, the show will move to One On One Bicycle Studio and Handsome Cycleson Washington Ave. in the North Loop, from Thursday June 5th through Saturday, June 28. In addition to posters, ARTCRANK also offers T-shirts and cycling jerseys and kits. This year, we’ll be selling t-shirts based on Anne Ulku’s design for our 2014 tour poster. We’re also doing a new cycling kit design collaboration with local bike apparel company Twin Six,” says Youel. People who come to the Minneapolis opening on Saturday will get the last chance to vote for the design of this year’s jersey. ARTCRANK will be held at Shelter Studios• 721 Harding St. NE, Minneapolis MN from 4-10 on May 31st.