I think that Toronto really needs this kind of art. Something as beautiful and as simple as a neon bike brings smiles to people’s faces, sparks curiosity and encourages people to interact on the street — even if it’s just to talk to each other (something Torontonians do not do enough of). I think it’s a great idea, and that the city should be encouraging more of this kind of guerilla beautification in its dull, grey, concrete areas. Good luck with your quest!
The neon bike on Dundas Street, and more importantly, the reactions and interactions it generates, is a testament to the community building power of public art. As someone who is constantly on their bike, I can understand how some might be annoyed to see an art bike taking up valuable parking space; however, I think most cyclists would argue that the symbolic importance of the neon bike takes precedent over the free parking spot. Plus, we all understand that no one can actually ride the thing, and that we can just lock our bike to the painted bike. The role that bikes play in the downtown core is a hot topic. The neon bike, with its flowers and greenery growing from the basket, stands as a reminder of the sustainable and eco-friendly nature of bikes. Its vibrant colour calls everyone’s attention (even those sitting in their passing cars) and reminds us that biking is a beautiful and viable transportation option — especially in the summer season. If our bike posts are meant to serve the biking community, then we should all see that the neon bike is in doing JUST THAT. Thanks. Peace,
On Sunday, we were fortunate enough to have a group of committed, passionate friends help us prime the first ten good bikes, which were delivered to the OCAD U Student Gallery by the City earlier in the week. The two-wheelers were in a sad state when they were dropped at our doorstep — deflated tires, rusty baskets and tattered seats. After a coat of white primer, the mangled misfits started to look sculptural and wonderfully linear. Our painting party in Butterfield Park on McCaul Street was a curious sight and prompted more than a few inquiries. At the end of the day, everyone and everything was a sticky, white, beautiful mess.
We’ll be painting these bikes in our signature bright hues with the Regent Park community residents on Sunday, July 3. A very special thank you to Carly Ainlay, Dave Bedrich, Claire Bartleman, Rachel Buck, Jaime Posen and Erin Schachter for helping us on Sunday.
I’m writing to you from Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city known for embracing public art. I’m writing in to show my support for the neon bike installed outside of the OCAD U Student Gallery, which was recently threatened by the City of Toronto. There are two reasons why this installation is great and should stay in place. Firstly, Canada is a country where artistic expression in the public sphere is rapidly becoming the exclusive privilege of advertisers or falls prey to the bland, inoffensive tastes of the civil service. Unsolicited, unfunded pieces like the neon bike are essential to countering this homogenizing onslaught and returning artistic agency to individual human beings. Second, the story’s been picked up by BoingBoing, so if the City ever touches that bike again, they’re going to look like a bunch of humourless knobs to every Apple-polishing, Byrne-worshipping hipster yuppie on the continent. Thank you for your time,
The neon bike outside of the OCAD U Student Gallery was conceived as a simple art project that we hoped would beautify and energize the grim strip of Dundas Street West where we work. The bike’s bold, graphic and current aesthetic was an instant hit with passersby. When we were ticketed by the City, support for the bike poured in from locals and from people in far flung locations including Brazil and Australia; and now we’re teaming with the municipal government on a large scale project that will see dozens of variations on the neon bike placed strategically throughout Toronto. Each bike will mark a site that promotes the ethos of regeneration and community that sparked our creativity in the first place. By accepting support from the City on this initiative, we’re hoping to start a conversation about urban planning, biking and public art in Toronto.