Euskaltel (… Art and Bikes #2)

I’ve written previously about art and bikes and my current plan for a local artist to paint something for me that encapsulates my rides is currently taking shape.  I was very much interested today to learn of the above picture “Euskaltel” which is a commission that has recently been done by the British Artist Chris Billington.

I was interested in it for a couple of reasons, firstly the whole art and bikes thing and secondly as it is about the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team who are one of my favs.  I’ll be honest I was first drawn to them as they race in a distinctive orange and black kit which is not a million miles away from my beloved Newport County’s amber and black but they then got a lot more interesting for me for the following reasons:  They are a basque team and currently only have riders riding for them who are basque or who’s cycling development took place in the basque country; since they were set up in 1993 they have been run by Fundacion Euskadi a non profit organisation established to promote cycling in the Basque country (a somewhat different beast to our own Sky team); they ride Orbea bikes and Orbea are part of the Mondragon Corporation which is a federation of around 250 worker co-operatives employing around 80,000 people (and my niece who last year came 7th in the World Junior Triathlon Championships in Budapest rides an Orbea); finally the fans who along with the Flemish are probably the most passionate bike fans out there and whenever the races head into the Pyrenees turn the mountainsides orange as they cheer on their Euskaltel Euskadi team as the picture below clearly demonstrates

Photo Credit: Jon Devich

I think that the commission perfectly sums up the spirit of the team as it (represented by the orange blobs) heads up into the snow capped Pyrenees.  Perhaps the bold colours of the painting might not be to everyones taste but I really like it and Chris has this to say about his client’s reaction to the painting:

When my client finally saw “Euskaltel”for the first time she was absolutely stunned and delighted, and told me that it was the most beautiful painting that she had ever seen, in fact she went even further and told me that my colours were a reason to wake up in the morning. Going on to tell me that “Euskaltel” made her want to “Dive into the painting and swim around in my colours and get drunk on them” made me very happy indeed.

To create something that gets that reaction must be very satisfying and it makes me wonder how I will feel when my painting is done, can’t wait.