I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan – growing up just outside the Motorcity in a township called Grosse Ile. In 2001, I moved to Tucson, Arizona where I completed two undergraduate BFA degrees at the University of Arizona in Visual Communications and Media Arts. After finishing up my undergraduate degrees, I moved to Los Angeles, California where I started my graphic design career. I have worked with various design firms, in-house corporations and maintained a regular freelance business.
For nearly 10 years, I have been a graphic designer and now after earning a Masters in Branding from the School of Visual Arts, I am back in LA building a career as a creative strategist at a design agency, and within the American cycling industry. Notable cycling industry projects include the re-brand of H&S Bicycles and I’m currently working to develop a strategic bike safety campaign for the city of Santa Ana.
The project began on April 7th, 2014 and continued through July 15th, 2014, culminating on the day I graduated from the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
Each year, the students of the Masters in Branding program at SVA take on a 100 days project. The original project was started by design industry superstar Michael Bierut of Pentagram Partners.
As an individual, you work to develop an idea of your choosing where you do a meaningful operation that you are capable of repeating every day. The only restrictions on the operation you choose, is that it must be repeated in some form every day, and that every iteration must be documented for eventual presentation. The medium is open, as is the final form of the presentation on the 100th day.
The project becomes a testament to self discipline – you must become obsessed with the project because doing something for 100 days is not only difficult logistically but can become repetitive and boring after 20 or 30 days. A lot people don’t make it all the way to 100 without being completely in love and thrilled with their project. For the Masters students, we are urged to use 100 days to brand ourselves, summarize who we are with the project and develop an idea that not only asks questions about the greater good, but is shareable and relatable.
The concurrent 100 days projects for the class of 2014 are here.
The idea came about very serendipitously. I was living above a bike shop last year that was going out of business, and would walk past coming home every night to a sidewalk filled with left over “junk”. One day I came across a pretty much new set of mustache handlebars with butchers basket and snapped the gem up for future use.
The bars/basket sat on my landing for the next 5 months – taunting me to do something with them. When the time came to submit our ideas for 100 days – I tried to think of something that would summarize my life of cyclist + graphic designer. As I was writing out my thoughts, I kept trying to find ways to use this basket+handlebars but it wasn’t until I started thinking abut taking it apart that the magic happened.
My boyfriend at the time was a bicycle mechanic, and we shared a mutual love for art and design. Talking about how I could logistically make this project happen is when we had a seemingly simple thought about how cool the Clockwork Orange poster would be if it were made out of a U-Lock and a rear cassette. That one question is how 100 Hoopties was born. In fact, the credit also goes to him for the name 100 Hoopties – as he had for many years resurrected “hoopties” working as a bicycle Jesus.
At first I thought the project would be 100 movie posters, then it just became posters, and eventually works of art. I started my design career in the entertainment industry, but it became apparent that I needed to challenge myself with different categories to summarize all the flavors of design I have done throughout the years. I also paid tribute to the designers who have inspired my work, to the places that I have spent time in my life, and even to history, culture, and brands that are personally relevant.
I typically planned out the posters 7-10 days in advance, and tried to equally cover all the categories.
100 Hoopties is an individual project. I have sourced and created everything, built the website, photographed the artwork, color corrected the photos, and leveraged social media/industry contacts to drive traffic.
Others helped maintain the spirit of the project by instilling the idea that I needed to always consider how to use unexpected pieces to create the designs – and to not just rely on chain. This is how the Fargo, Weezer, Mad Men, Edward Scissorhands and other posters became such a success.
Each piece takes about 1-2 hours to actually make, then they have to be photographed, color corrected, resized for each touchpoint, posted to the website, researched, and written about. Since I am doing this project concurrently with a masters degree, I have to be very careful what posters I choose to do, hence why all of the posters are graphically simple and typically don’t originate as photographs.
In the beginning, the parts were so heavily cakes in street grime, slime, grease, and god knows what else, that I spent at least a day or two cleaning as much gunk off the parts as I could. I went through at least 200 pairs of latex gloves throughout the project.
When it comes to researching the original artists, most of the information is very easy to find, some take a little more time, and if I couldn’t find who did the original artwork within five pages of Google searching…I tagged the artwork as artist unknown.
To start a poster, I focus on what central piece(s) I want to feature – and work from there. When I did Magritte’s Treachery of Images – I used just about every piece I had in supply. For the posters that are mostly bike chain, I start from the outside and work in – creating a natural spiral effect with the pieces of chain.
Some people have urged me to leave the grime that falls off the parts, but part of my job as a graphic designer is to not leave traces of the making on the canvas. So I have to spend time removing handprints and grease stains from the canvas.
The most difficult part of making the posters is the typography. It means that I had to cut chain exact to size and hope that I could maintain proper leading and kerning. Also difficult were the posters with a lot of spiraled chain or intricate shapes. The chain moves around so much that you have to be very careful not to knock anything else out of place as you spiral the chain around and around. The derailleur end caps liked to roll all over the place when placing them, so I had to hold my breath when placing them.
For that past 10 years, I have been making art from things I source from swap meets, junk yards, the sides of freeways, and of course trash cans. I question the many lives of the objects that everyone else throws away and am fascinated by how much engineering goes into making the things we take for granted, like bicycle chain. There are the engineers, designers, machinists, the riders who pedal and stretch the chain, the mechanics who maintain it, the miles and road it rides on, and then the artists who repurpose exhausted chain.
There is so much history and beauty packed into commodities like bike parts, histories that are often overlooked. Some of my favorite parts are chainrings that are works of art on their own.
I have a lot of favorites, but so far they are Silence of the Lambs, Treachery of Images, Lucha Libre, Girl with Ball and the Monk + Coltrane Jazz poster, but in reality every poster represents a favorite moment of my life.
One of the surprising things about this project is seeing who relates to what poster, some posters I feel are a total miss and not every poster can be perfect, and then it is a hit with a lot of people.
In 2008, I rediscovered a life long love for cycling. At the time, the bike community in #BikeLA was exploding. There was a group ride every night of the week, and eventually I fell head over handlebars in love with the cyclist lifestyle. However this always seemed to clash with my business side. One company I worked for treated me as pond scum when I would walk in with my bike gear, other companies refused to let me enter the building with a bike, and for some reason people generally approached cyclists as “that sweaty girl who takes up space on MY road.” I found that I was always defending my cyclists side in the office, and teaching people about design on the bike.
Cycling has been my gateway to community, health, amazing achievements and doing work which makes my heart beat. I have always ridden a bike, but it wasn’t until I became involved with the cycling subculture of Los Angeles, where I cut my teeth and learned the ropes. I was on every #bikeLA ride, and worked with a lot transportation groups, bloggers, even promoters, and local shops.
My work with #BikeLA has taken many forms. In 2011, I redesigned the logo for Bike Commute News, and worked with Mr BCN himself, Joe Anthony on the Flight Vs Bike race across LA. I worked with IRT Wheels on their 2014 graphic design for their wheels/kits. I also re-branded my personal bike shop, H&S Bicycles – as well as created a beginner women’s ride which has now grown to the largest weekly women’s ride in the San Fernando Valley that aims to get more women on bikes and increase road confidence.
Cycling has turned me into a stronger woman – my favorite rides are the centuries I do to graphic design conferences. Over the years, Cycling has become my outlet and place to center myself. I love this industry, because just about everyone who works within it share a mutual obsession for all things bicycles. The people make this sport amazing because everyone is supportive and all around good human beings interested in encouraging the up and comer. You can’t say that for every industry.
All of the Hoopties are done with love and admiration towards the original artists. If you find your work on this site is not properly sited please email email@example.com to alert of the necessary change.
It is not my intention to exploit intellectual property, but if you are really fired up that I’m using your work as inspiration, then please let me know so we can come to an amicable agreement. Being an artist is hard enough, and this project is a copyright grey area that is not worth the money in court.
If I use your work as inspiration, it means that I love your work, plain and simple. It has shaped who I am as a person, and I can’t thank you enough for doing such great work to begin with. This is a school project, and stands no chance of financially breaking even.
Please join the list of artists who have found their work by chance and sent messages of support! Teamwork!