We talk to artist and illustrator Rebecca Kaye (designer of the 3 Mile Ride logo), about the creative process that has seen her fabulous work adorning the banks of Paris’ Seine River, as well as Howies T-shirts, the pages of Boneshaker Magazine, and in the UK’s Bristol Bespoke Bike Show.
Aside from designing the wonderful logo found throughout this site, Rebecca Kaye has been commissioned by some of the most creative, bicycle-related publications in the UK, including The Ride Journal and Boneshaker Magazine. From her base in Edinburgh, she’s also worked for a number of brands, like the clothing companies Vulpine and Howies.
Aside from her illustrative work, Rebecca also ran the beautifully curated Middle of Nowhere. This website gathered together a body of work from a number of photographers, “two wheeled explorers all over the world that are taking a chance on that dead end road and finding somewhere to lose themselves”, showcasing their images from remote, backcountry rides.
When did cycling become a part of your life. And what inspired you to use it as both a creative and professional outlet?
Cycling was something I enjoyed, as most people do, as a child and never stopped. The reason bikes and cycling are so integral to my illustrations is that I think of most of my ideas when I’m on my bike so the theme is inevitably entwined.
Where you formally trained as an artist and designer?
I formally trained in mathematics, which people often think is a strange route but they seem quite similar to me. They both involve problem-solving and the geometric shapes in my illustration work are directly influenced by my mathematics background.
How would you describe your style of illustration?
I’d say my style revolves around bold colours and geometric shapes. I also like to try and visualise words literally such as my ‘track cyclist’ print.
Do you commute in Edinburgh? Enjoy day rides through the highlands? Bike tour further afield?
I used to occasionally commute by bike but always ended up frustrated by the traffic so now I walk most places and use my bike to escape further afield. The majority of roads in Scotland, especially in the highlands, are made for cycling – few cars and plenty of amazing scenery. It’s the best way to see Scotland so I often spend holidays touring the Highlands and Islands of Scotland by bike.
I created a set of limited edition prints of the design that were exhibited in the Grand Palais and then latterly reproduced as giant totem poles that were displayed along the Seine.
You were one of nine artists approached by Paris’ Velib Bikeshare scheme, commissioned to help celebrate its success and express the joy of cycling through Paris. Please tell us more…
That was a great experience. I’d been part of art crank (a print party for bike people where various illustrations create cycle themed art to be sold at events held across the world). The Velib commission came off the back of that and I was asked to create a poster inspired by the Paris cycle scheme. I created a set of limited edition prints of the design that were exhibited in the Grand Palais and then latterly reproduced as giant totem poles that were displayed along the Seine.
What other bike-related works of art and collaborations can you share with us?
I’m currently working on a collaboration with Coloral, a company creating beautiful steel water bottles, which will be released soon.
Can you tell us about some of the illustration and screen printing events you’ve held, at Bristol’s Bespoke bike show, for instance?
I used to spend a lot of time taking part in cycle events such as the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol and the London Bike Show. These were great events and led to a number of opportunities such as holding a screen printing event at the V&A in London as part of their bike themed lates event. I’ve had a bit of time off from events but am starting to miss them so I’m hoping to do some more this year.
Future plans, of a bicycle-related nature?
My future plan generally involves making sure I make more time to ride and if I fail to do that then that’s hopefully because I’ve achieved my second plan of making sure I screen print more cycling related prints.