Taliah Lempert’s art in RIDE 2
When I was putting together the first RIDE (Print! Kindle! Nook! iBooks!), I got to the point where I needed cover art, and mused aloud on Twitter. Another #bikenyc cyclist said, What about Taliah Lempert? She’s right over in Brooklyn.
I hadn’t paid much attention to bike art at that point, but when I went and looked at Taliah’s site, my reaction was immediate: These!
So I wrote to her and asked, and she wrote back and accepted, and now she’s provided the cover and interior art for both RIDE books.
As well as the series emblem that appears on both covers:
Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a head tube badge.
I’m still experimenting with the interior art for the series. For the first RIDE, I gave each story its own mini-cover, with its own bicycle painting, plus a Lempert-created header on the first page of the story. When I got to that stage with RIDE 2, I was so busy with print and ebook work that I knew I couldn’t get the book done by year’s end if I waited until I had time to do the mini-covers again. It doesn’t take that much time to choose art for each story, crop, place, design, tinker, but even if it comes out to an hour per story, I didn’t have the day and a half to spare.
So the art side of RIDE continues to evolve. We’ll see what happens in RIDE 3 (call for submissions coming soon; deadline will be August 31).
Oh, and she sells STUFF, too. Go buy a mug:
Nigel Greene (“Passing Thoughts”)
asks three questions of
Nigel: You have a Masters in Fine Arts from New York Academy of Art and, it seems for the last 10+ years your work has featured bicycles. Why or how did bicycles become the focus of your art?
Taliah: Bicycles became the focus of my art when I started riding for transportation. Before then I mostly painted pictures of people. I bought a bike on a whim. It caught my eye, in front of a bike shop on Smith Street. I had not been thinking of commuting by bike but once I got one, I had to use it. Riding through the city was more awesome than I expected and the bike so beautiful. I became inspired!
Nigel: The gallery of your website shows a range of bikes: fixed gears, tourers, tandems, mixtes and children’s bikes, but I didn’t see anything that looked like a current carbon fiber racing bike. Is that an intentional choice and if so why?
Taliah: There are carbon fiber racing bikes. I can think of 5 without really looking. One was fresh from the pro peleton. I like the shapes that carbon can take. It is true that there are more steel frames, both in my studio and in the world. It’s not a conscious choice.
(Editor’s note: One of the things that really drew me to Taliah’s work is that while you can find racing bikes in there, she paints BIKES. Kids’ bikes, city bikes, bikes with dents, scratched bikes, bikes with questionable handlebar positioning…in that sense, her work very nicely reflected what I want to do with RIDE.)
Nigel: I like the contrast of the detailed images on simple, often monochomatic backgrounds. Is there a particular detail of a bike that you feel portrays its individual nature best?
Taliah: It depends on the bike. Different things stick out. Sometimes the drive or the seat… But I’d say that it is often the bars that show the most character.
Next (and last) up: Taliah’s three questions for SJ Rozan.