This is one for our Canadian friends…
Luigia Zilli, an Italian artiste with a passion for cycling and currently has an exhibition in Ontario, Canada.
I caught up with Luigi to talk about her art, inspiration and hopes.
CyclingShorts: Tell our readers all about your art and why cycling features so prominently in your work?
Luigia Zilli: I love how my paintings bring out happiness in those who are passionate about cycling. I can see the joy they feel when they see my work. It’s priceless.
Freedom, by Luigia Zilli. Oil on canvas
CS: Why cycling?
Luigia: That is one question I have been asked very often; It may be somewhat unusual in a world where visual artists usually depict landscapes or still-life or the human figure, just to mention few of the more common subject matters. I feel that an artist who is true to them self paints what they feel connected to and passionate about. That is who I am. The passion I feel for the sport of cycling and bicycles in general is rooted in my past.
CS: Tell us about your connection to competitive cycling?
Luigia: I grew up around bicycles and competitive cycling. My father and brother were racing cyclists and introduced me to the world of competitive cycling in my early years in Italy. Between training and racing, watching my younger brother race, working for a TV show about cycling and watching grand tours on TV, cycling encompassed my everyday life. I really missed it when it wasn’t there anymore. That’s when I started to paint it. Although I have an interest in several subject matters, bicycles seem to capture my attention most often. Bicycles and cyclists became a muse and an inspiration for creating something which is embedded deep inside of me. I want to share it with others so that they can feel the passion I have expressed in my artwork. I try to immortalize bicycles in the environment that tells their story the best. With cyclists, my intent is to depict motion and facial expression; speed and movement, strain and pain, fatigue and exhilaration, spinning wheels, winding and weaving during their battle on the saddle. My medium of choice is acrylic paint on textured canvas. I apply texture to canvas creating the look of worn out roughness yet exhibiting an equally deep and rich perspective.
CS: It seems that cycling for you goes a little deeper than simple competition?
Luigia: … to me cycling is comparable to life in general in many cases. Like in life, perseverance will lead us to success, it doesn’t matter if now we can’t do it, if we make a mistake, if it’s too hard. Also hard work: that’s one of my favourite mantras. Hard work will result in success, sooner or later.
CS: That is beautifully put and very true. Do you think your art has inspired people to ride?
Luigia: I’m very positive in encouraging people to ride the bicycle. For some, after they start to do it, it becomes really addictive. I grew up in a small town in Italy where it was the most common utilitarian way to move around for people of any age. I have wonderful childhood memories riding the bicycle with my friends, being able to go everywhere in a short time, it really gives you a great sense of freedom. The bicycle, in my opinion, it’s a simple but very attractive machine, it has its own elegance and dynamism. It’s a great invention and I also consider it a symbol and a precious tool for living our future in a clean environment keeping ourselves healthy and happy.
CS: We see you have linked your exhibition to the Pan American Games?
Luigia: About the Pan Am Games, as soon as I knew they were coming to Toronto and they were building the new Velodrome practically next door where I live, I thought it was a good time for an exhibition to target not only cyclists and enthusiasts locally and from all over Canada, but also coming from the other Countries which are participating. During the Pan Am Games every city that hosts has a lot of events organized in celebration of the games and to entertain the public, either local or visiting. My art exhibition will be one of them and my cyclist friends and family are looking forward to it.
CS: Have you any success closer to home in inspiring people to ride more?
Luigia: I started my partner cycling and now he’s the one buying all the technology and gears for the bike, even more than me!
CS: You may well have opened a Pandora’s Box there Luigia! Good luck with all the bikes, components and gear that will slowly yet surely fill your apartment. Thanks ever so much for taking the time to speak to us during what must be a very busy time for you. Thanks also for the generous offer of a signed print competition – one of our loyal readers will surely be a very happy cyclist.
Luigia: Thank you Nick.
You can view and purchase prints of Luigia’s wonderful art at: http://www.bicycleart.ca/store.html
Enter our new competition…
Win a cycling sunset, enter by clicking here.
Luigia has generously donated a 50 cm x 50 cm signed Ltd. Edition print of ‘Sunset’; one of her most popular paintings.
Dispatches from Day 1… entry #1 Wednesday 28th August 2013, 9.15 AM
The intrepid Cycling Shorts correspondent.., ‘Our man in Germany’ sallied forth with sharp mind, keen focus and targeted questions designed to cut the cycling industry to the quick. Several minutes into the Euro Bike Show this highly trained, most hard-bitten of hacks became the very epitome of a small child entering Hamley’s on a ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Christmas eve!
Swamped in Dreamland… The Italian Pavilion – a taste of things to come? a doffing of the cap to the tradition of the sport?
EuroBike2013 – The Italian Pavilion – Tommasini 002- ©NickDey/CyclingShorts.cc
With eyes narrowed I entered the fray determined to discover the ‘truth’ about this myth-shrouded business. What myths and legends have emerged from Italy. Such icons. In the minds of many Italian bikes demand all pretenders measured against their history; their aesthetics and their beauty. My eyes met stand 505 and Tommasini, they widened, the inner child took over, and all was lost (but in a good way).
Feasting upon the designs laid out in montage before me, guided by Mz Tommasini herself and trying not to become too lost in the sheer beauty of these still-made-in-Italy frames. The beauty of the paintwork and the balance of the designs owed more to fine art than to a gritty road race. yet they ride well, very well. Enough. Let the photographs tell all…
Intoart Bicycle Tour 2013
Liverpool – Liege – Lille – London
‘L of a bike ride – Solo 1000 mile charity cycle ride across Europe
Ian Ritchie will be cycling 1000 miles solo, across Europe in June – July 2013 to raise money for Intoart artists to travel and research in Europe. Intoart is a small artist-led visual arts organisation working with adults and young people with learning disabilities.
Enthused by the cycling boom that has swept the UK in recent years, Ian will be pedaling a 1000-mile route inspired by cycling prowess and artistic achievement.
‘Intoart is such a fantastic charity, I am always struck by the quality of the artwork made in the Intoart studio and how hard the artists work; these are tough times for small charities so I wanted to show my support by doing something which reflects the endeavor and drive of the artists.
Cycling across Europe will enable me to do this as well as fulfilling some boyhood ambitions.’ Ian Ritchie
Beginning on the same day as the Tour de France, Saturday 29 June 2013, at the iconic Tate Liverpool on the banks of the Mersey, Ian will take in the Marc Chagall exhibition before making his way through Eccleston, the home of Sir Bradley Wiggins – Tour de France and Olympic Gold medal winner 2012. He will then continue on to pick up the Way of the Roses route to York before travelling by ferry from Hull to Belgium and follow the Flanders Cycle Route heading for Ghent, the cycling capital of Europe.
Whilst in Belgium, Ian will visit MADmusée in Liege, a gallery Intoart has a strong relationship with. It was here in 2011 that Intoart artists exhibited internationally as a group for the first time.
In 2012, MADmusée commissioned Intoart artist, Doreen McPherson, to create a portrait of British cycling star, Mark Cavendish for an exhibition that ran alongside the Tour de France.
Other highlights of the trip include: a visit to the LaM Museum in Lille to see Madge Gill works from the L’Aracine collection; stopping off for a beer in Leuven, home of the world’s largest brewing company; and cycling the route of the Paris- Roubaix one-day classic cycle race, in reverse.
Ian will be arriving in Paris with enough time to visit Brancusi’s Studio at the Centre Pompidou before seeing the Tour de France finish on Sunday 21 July in the French capital.
From Paris, Ian will follow the Avenue Verte cycling route to Dieppe and take the ferry to Newhaven. He will then take in Box Hill, part of the Olympic Road Race route, and onwards to London.
Ian will finish his epic 1000 mile ride at the Intoart Studio in Clapham, South London on Saturday 27 of July 2013 where he will share his adventures with the Intoart artists and enjoy a well deserved cup of tea.
It seemed a good idea to ride from Liege to London as a charity event. Since Ian lives near Liverpool and is now retired, it seemed a better idea to just get on his bike and ride from Liverpool via Liege and Lille to London – ‘L of a Bike Ride.
Clifton Wright (Intoart artist) met with Ian to find out more about the ride and you can read the full interview at: www.intoart.org.uk/studio/weblogs/studio/Blog.html.
Text: INTO13 £5 (or your amount) to 70070 (UK only)