First turns of the crank

It all started when I was about 17. I gave my first paintbrush and pedal strokes at about the same time. In Salette College, where I did my graphic design studies, we learned all the techniques to be as versatile as possible . The atmosphere was relaxed and graphics, the only subject taught . It was great, no more math , physics , chemistry, only arts day in day out.

Later, once on the labor market, I traveled each day nearly fifty kilometers to go to work, commuting while training. Sometimes I made the trip with my graphic suitcase under my arm, without a helmet and without holding the handlebars, which would be unthinkable today. At the time, cyclists, dressed in wool shorts and a jersey, were few on the roads and were often looked at as if they were aliens. It was even more strange to cross one in the elevator leading to the office.

It was 1980; computing was in its infancy and all stages of the graphic design process, whether it’s lettering, illustration or photo retouching was done by hand. At the beginning, my work, not challenging much, was to mount different pieces of texts on cardboards, which were then photographed and printed to form ultimately the pages of technical manuals that accompanied word processing machines this company was manufacturing. But this work only lasted a while, as these dedicated machines were replaced by computers and word processing software. I thus found myself unemployed.

Cycling vs work

In 1984, while continuing to accumulate mileage on my bike, I became freelancer and built myself a bank of customers. I then applied the different techniques learned in school to make all kinds of promotional items, from simple brochures to product packaging and photo retouching. This new lifestyle ensured me decent earnings while leaving me plenty of time to ride ans race.

In 1990, in response to parental pressure, I decided to stabilize my lifestyle and I accepted a full time employment with a corporation where I had the opportunity to learn technical illustration. This job compromised my ambitions of pushing further my biking experience, but gave me some security. IT is still young back then and I gain experience in computer graphics. But I do not forsake the pen or brush, just to keep the hand.

Years later, during a particularly gray autumn, I took a painting class and I bite for oil painting. I had already taken watercolor lessons, but no passion in arises. As one might expect, the theme of my first painting was cycling. Ever since I paint the efforts of cyclists, these “convicts of the road” as described by French reporter Albert Londre.