Ryan Doyle on Tall Bikes Jousting, Art Basel and a new iphone app.

Ryan Doyle is hard to miss, or at least the contraptions he creates and rides upon. You might recognize him riding a tandem tall bike around Bed-Sty Brooklyn or maybe toppling an advisory from a rival bike club in a tall bike joust, after all he is the world champion. He was featured in Fountianhead Films 2007 documentary B.I.K.E. about Doyle’s journey as an artist and membership with the NYC chapter of the black label bike club, hosts of the annual mutant bike extravaganza, “BIKE KILL.” Maybe you recognize Doyle by some of his cycle creations such as the Jet Bike, a jet engine powered bicycle or rode in his Hell-o-Copter at a Bicycle Film Festival “Joy Ride” art show.

Doyle_Hell-a-copter1-2(Ryan Doyle in the Hell-o-copter)

This week Ryan Doyle is taking his kinetic creations to Miami for the Art Basel, a international gathering of the world’s artists and is known as the most important art exhibit in America.
Doyle will be featuring the Hell-o-Copter and the regurgitator at the *Squisy Universe Gallery from December 3rd-6th, 150 NW 24th Street, Miami FL, 33127.
Bike Club Postcard Art Basel
Besides his installations of freak bike culture, Doyle will be on hand for Tall Bike Jousting which will have LIVE daily web streaming. This is also in conjuntion with another unique project Doyle has been working on. Freak bike culture is about to hit the masses with a new iPhone app called: “TALL BIKE JOUST,” which will be come available on the first of January 2010.

For more information about the app and the live web streams of tall bike jousting from Miami’s Art Basel visit the website:

Here is a teaser:

I was fortunate to grab a minute of Doyle’s time and interview him about Art Basel, Tall Bike art projects and what lead to the creation of the first Bike Club video game.

For those who don’t know, what is art Basel in Miami and how will you be participating in this?

Art Basel Miami Beach is an annual international contemporary art exhibition that was started back in 2002. It is a sister fair to the original Art Basel which was started in 1970 in Switzerland. I have heard it referred to as the Olympics of art, and compared mostly to probably the Venice Biennale in size and “importance.”

The bicycle has always played an important role in your art and life, talk about this and what impact it’s had on your art?

Bicycles were the starting point all of my mechanical knowledge. I was hit by a car in the alley behind my house and after I came home from the hospital, the bike was not okay. My neighbor friends dad showed me how to fix the bent pieces and get the bike back on the road, which was a real eyeopener for me. I realized that junk and trash could be useful and that things could have a second life. From there I started taking other broken trash apart and studying it’s guts, trying to fix things, breaking things more, and recombining unlike objects into new machines, with mixed success.
You’ve always been pushing the structure of the bicycle and ridable art in new directions.

What got you started? How did this lead from tallbikes, to jet bikes to the he’ll-o-copter?

I went to an art based magnet high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota to study sculpture. I started hanging out at the Hard Times Cafe in Minneapolis and started seeing Tall Bikes. A little while after I graduated I made my first tall bike, and became the thirteenth member of the Hard Times Bike Club. A handful of the members had just gotten back from touring the country tall bike jousting in a punk rock circus called Circus Redickuless, and the stories they had man… whoa. About two years later I was invited to join another circus tour called the Know Nothing Family Sideshow/End of the World Circus to travel the country Tall Bike Jousting. On tour we saw so much: Doctor Evermore, Madagascar Institute, Burning Man, meeting people in different cities and Jousting every night or every other night. After making those contacts and seeing just how many other artists were out there and what the rest of the country was doing, I really got the traveling bug. Home started becoming everywhere. I started joining up with other peoples big projects and continued to build my own around the US.

Tell us about the hell-o-copter and the regurgitator? Were there particular challenges in constructing them? Are the participatory pieces?

The Hella-copter is a mix between a bicycle, a swinging chair and a large industrial fan. The audience is invited to sit and pedal the large fan which gently spins the entire sculpture around while pushing the air in the room around. I saw it as an exercise bike that could hang in a loft in the evening and stir up the hot air near the ceiling, without having to turn on a heater or use an electric fan. (see photo) The Regurgitator is a sculpture I originally constructed for a show in Zagreb, Croatia that is a Pulse Jet powered centrifuge of sorts that spins about 1.5 times per second. I believe art is about creating emotions with creativity, and this piece is about fear and the sickening behavior caused by fear. The direct influence of spinning facing outward from the axis at up to 5 G’s causes 25% of the participants to regurgitate, or vomit outward towards the crowd.

Bike culture is really strong in places like Orlando and Miami? Will this be a factor at your show? Is Miami and art Basel ready for tallbike jousting?

I love Florida biking, it is flat and warm and the culture is very open to new types of transportation. I think that fixed gears in Orlando are really big right now, and Clubs like Bad Cactus and the Florida Freewheelers are riding everything down there all year long.

Bike culture could always get stronger and hopefully the objects and attitude I am presenting in Miami will inspire others to ride their bikes. 

People love bike kill types of events and tallbikes really open their minds to possibilities of the bicycles and bicycle clubs. The culture is exploding. Also your art is very hands on and participatory. How does your art foster bike culture and does it play a role in building the bike community as a whole?

I cannot possibly take credit for all that is Bike Kill, but would only impress upon your readers that, “if you build it… they will come.”

What do you think of this rise in popularity of bike culture? The rise in fringe bike sports like jousting, bike polo, art bike events? What’s causing it?

I think all of those things come from people starting to build a community around the bicycle and the benefits of exercise and friendship that come with starting your own bike club. From there, the environmental benefits and creative output keep driving it, not to mention some peoples need for competition.

What can you tell us about this new tallbike app? What got you involved?
I was approached by FountainHead and asked if I was interested in creating a bicycle themed video game. I used to love playing video games as a kid and I immediately wondered if making a video game would possibly help influence a younger audience to see bicycle culture. I chose Tall Bike Jousting as a platform to shock and inspire, and thought that it could work digitally as well in Tall Bike Joust. I am always into trying new things and learning to create in new technology so in those respects it just made sense for me to say yes. My bike club on the other hand was a bit more ambivalent. 

This seems like a really unique way to bring fringe bike culture to the masses? What will be the apps impact? Will we be seeing more art bike clubs popping up? More interest in welding bikes? More tallbikes on the streets?

Honestly I do not consider myself any sort of missionary of bike culture, nor do I try to lance my opinions or politics in anyone’s face. My goal is to create and cause communication, not whore out bicycle culture or sell tall bike jousting to the masses as a means of self gratification. I think riding a tall bike everyday in New York City has a greater cultural impact as it has a human to human interaction implied. I really love the responses that come from Bike Kill participants, or from Cutthroats’ Slaughterama, or Cyclecide’s Bike Rodeos, to me those are the inspirational events. I hope the bike building section and constant maintenance in the app inspire people to think about reusing materials and not contribute to our vast culture of waste. I am not looking forward to corporations eating up fringe bike culture and providing cheaply made foreign tall bikes at Walmart.

Will there be tallbike jousting in the xgames 2020?

I think the ridiculous nature of tall bike jousting will prevent that. 

What are your future plans for bike art?

New Orleans Black Label event Ridin’ Dirty on New Years. I am also trying to convince Johnny Coast of Coast cycles to get a booth with me at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond, Virginia in March 2010.

Anything you wished I’d asked you?

My stats…. 6’6″ tall, 254 lbs. Ride Yer BIKE!
*The Squishy Universe Gallery show is being hosted by Rip Ions to support the Waterside School in Stamford Connecticut.
Here is a press release with more about this event:

Squishy Universe is an exhibition organized to create opportunities for permanent placement of art for public benefit. Rip Ions is honored to host this exhibition at
Miami Art Basel 2009 to raise funds for a series of commissioned art projects for the Waterside School.

The Waterside School, located in Stamford Connecticut, is a co-educational k-5 independent school whose mission is to provide children too often underserved access to
opportunities for educational and personal excellence and to prepare them, in time, for positions of leadership and responsibility.

Rip Ion’s Miami Art Basel 2009 exhibit features a selection of work from the artists commissioned to create permanent installations throughout Waterside School. All sale proceedes
from the event will be donated to Waterside School to support these commissions.

Current artists commissioned for the school and featured at this exhibition include: Nils Folk Anderson, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir, Robert Breer, Michael De Feo, Ryan Doyle, Ellis
Gallagher, Howard Goldkrand, Mimi Gross, Michael Kerschbaumer, Anakin Koenig, Hilary Koob Sassen, Teddy Lo, Fujiko Nakaya, Jason Peters, Meridith Pingree, Erwin Redl,
Matthew Schreiber, SOFTlab, Hedi Sorder, James Turrell, Kai Vierstra, Leo Villareal, Robert Whitman, Richard Wislocky

These artists are proud to show a selection of their pieces from the permanent future at Rip Ions Gallery Squishy Universe exhibition 150 NW 24th Street, Miami Florida.

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