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article imageToronto artist makes 'Cycle Critters' out of recycled bike parts Special

article:341386:30::0
By David Silverberg
Jan 16, 2013 in Arts
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Toronto - It started with two kickstands. Toronto sculptor Mike Schram looked at those simple discarded bike parts and decided to craft a new piece of art, making a small bird. Now his passion has led him to sculpt 70 so-called Cycle Critters.
Recycled bike parts is the medium of choice for Schram, a 34-year-old downtown Toronto resident who just last year decided to venture into the mysterious waters of creating artwork out of bike seats, pedals, inner tube, bike lights and much more.
Today on Facebook Schram revealed the fruits of his labour: animals made from dozens of bikes his neighbour offers him, thanks to the generous man's bike shop. The animals range from a mouse on hind legs to a turkey to a humpback whale to a turtle. Sometimes, a bike seat doubles as a head. A break pedal could work as a nose. A bike light is a creature's eye.
"I like this idea of mechanical animals," Schram says in a phone interview. He's always been fascinated by the biomechanics of a bike, and how recycled material can create new objects, so this visual art project - his first - felt like a natural extension of this newfound love.
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
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Schram, who works in film and also performs spoken word, uses 100 percent recycled parts - no glue, fasteners or soldering. He attaches the parts together using inner tube, which he calls excellent fastening material. Break cables also bind some of the parts together.
The creation process is almost like a brainstorm. Schram will sit at his workshop table and look over a bike part and figure out what other part might fit with it to inspire the beginning of an animal. He calls it "3D sketching," as one part begins to fasten to another. Some pieces take around six hours to finish, and often the smaller critters will take longer than their bigger counterparts.
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
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He's sold several critters and given away a few more for presents, and is now looking to apply to arts festivals and "art crawls" such as a popular event on Queen Street West.
To Schram, he's satisfied when a friend is overjoyed to learn about his artistic hobby. "After someone sees a piece for the first time, I love their smile, and how they tell me they can't stop smiling because of my work."
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
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Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
image:138698:2::0
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
image:138697:2::0
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
image:138696:2::0
Cycle Critters  made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
Cheryl Jean and Dexer Ico
Cycle Critters, made from recycled bike parts. By Mike Schram of Toronto
image:138695:2::0
article:341386:30::0
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