Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I'm searching for an explosion of speed in this ode to one bad-ass cyclist. A man who rose to the top during the turn of the last century...despite being an African American. He was raised in Indiana, starts riding in his late teens and wins his first race at age 22. Racism keeps his name and a couple of cycling's fastest records off the charts in 1896, but in 1899 he breaks his own record for a 1:19 mile win for the World Championship and the World record.
Eventually he travels to Europe and makes a hell of an impression, as well as a lot of good friends. He continues to race at the top until around 1904. Then, sadly, poor business decisions and illness leave him pennyless and he winds up living in the YMCA downtown Chicago. Where he dies at age 53.
I hope I can do him justice in this painting, he deserved much more.