James Straffon for Paul Smith


James Straffon for Paul Smith

This is what I’m talking about!

Coinciding with the 97th Tour de France’s snaking journey across French mountains and vineyards, Paul Smith has again opened up his ‘art wall’ to cycling-inspired art. Last year he hosted a collection of photos from Rouleur magazine at his Heathrow Terminal 5 boutique; this year it’s the turn of London artist and cyclist James Straffon, curator of the online NÖ Gallery.

Straffon cites bicycle artist Taliah Lempert, as an inspiration, but his canvases go beyond the geometric shapes and abstract negative spaces enclosed by the bicycle frame and delves into the rich history and visual heritage of cycle sport. Brightly coloured caps display the logos and typography of hallowed sponsors Molteni, Brooklyn and Colnago; the acrylics and mixed media of the portraits series capture cyclings icons in familiar poses yet isolated, marooned mid-race in a flat acrylic ground. Also being shown are Straffon’s paintings of head-badges, the heraldic brands that adorn the front of classical bicycle marques.

‘I had already finalised a collection when the T5 wall project came into being,’ says Straffon, explaining how the opportunity to exhibit with Paul Smith, a well-known member of the tifosi came about. ‘I already knew of his love of cycling, and thought his eye for the “fine-grained” and idiosyncratic might view my work favourably.’
Let’s hope these pictures pop up in another context; it would be a shame if this summer the non-flying public miss out on these completely.

Text from Grafik Magazine‘s coverage. Some of the paintings remind me of the NÖ Gallery: Félix Potin Collection entry from not too long ago.