Thursday Salute to Originals: Draw a Bike
Draw a bike. No really, get out your pen and paper and try to sketch it as accurately as possible. The request seems like a pretty simple task – after all, bicycles are something we’re familiar with from childhood on up. But as you begin your doodle, it’s likely you’ll start scratching your head. Which wheel is the bike chain linked to again? And what does the frame look like? How are the pedals connected? Are these proportions accurate?
How can it be the details of an object we know so well, seem to suddenly evade our memories when we start to draw? This phenomenon is exactly what Italian/American designer Gianluca Gimini wanted to test when he started on this series called “Velocipedia.”
Asking 376 random strangers to draw a bike completely from memory, Gimini collected a number of sketches, all with vastly different outcomes – some more realistic than others. But instead of just collecting the sketches and calling it a day, he went a step further and actually modeled the bicycle drawings, bringing the 2D scribbles to real life. It’s then when you look at these 3D versions that you can more clearly tell the distinct similarities and dissimilarities between the memory sketches and reality.
As for Gimini’s thoughts on his series? “There is an incredible diversity of new typologies emerging from these crowd-sourced and technically error-driven drawings. A single designer could not invent so many new bike designs in 100 lifetimes and this is why I look at this collection in such awe,” Gimini says. And in viewing his series, we would tend to agree.
An experiment that touches on both cognitive memory and artistic ability, one very original and eye-opening visual assemblage is created. And for that, we salute Gimini and his “Velocipedia” series. We wonder what other common objects would look like if we were asked to generate an accurate drawing solely from memory. How might the form of an electric mixer, a shopping cart, or an umbrella be skewed with just our recollections as the visual cue? How could the interpreted drawings spur further inspiration? Only our flawed memories truly know – or don’t know – for sure!