Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011

San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza will set the scene for a collision of fixed gear biking and urban contemporary art Saturday, April 30, for the Red Bull Ride + Style event, with obstacles designed and by local artists Erik Otto, Aaron De La Cruz, Nate Van Dyke, Arlo Eisenberg, and a custom installation by Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector. More than 50 riders from fixed gear meccas SF, Portland, and New York will descend upon the City to compete, as well as riders from Japan this Satuday.

As a collective, Otto, De La Cruz, Van Dyke, and Eisenberg merge their styles to bring life to the freestyle event via a clever juxtaposition of objects that will play with the elements of space, dimension, and movement. “I was initially inspired by the thought of creating large-scale work,” Otto said when asked about his first reaction to the project, “that could interact with the elements of the event—three-dimensional surfaces, movement of riders, and an outdoor setting.”

I spoke with Erik about his involvement, and what really makes him tick as artist. —Erin Dyer

All photography by Randy Dodson. Interview by Erin Dyer.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more photos of Aaron De La Cruz, Nate Van Dyke, and Arlo Eisenberg.

What portion of art are you creating for the Red Bull Ride + Style this weekend?

I’m one of six artists selected to develop an artistic style to the event. We will collaborate to paint the three-dimensional obstacles in the course, as well as have artwork on display.

What about the event stoked your fire to participate?

It was the chance to present my work in an unconventional way and participate in something that’s so new and fresh.

How’s it going working alongside follow artists Aaron De La Cruz, Nate Van Dyke, and Arlo Eisenberg, Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector? Did you know them each previously?

Should be cool, and maybe hectic at times. I’m familiar with everyone's work, but don't know each other’s working styles. Aaron and I have been planning to collaborate for a while so this comes at a perfect time. The fact there is four of us will help make sure we get this done in time too.

Here are some quick-hit questions we call Firing Line:

Erik Otto

AKA: Otto

Age: Old enough

Art specialty: Resident reclaimer

Lives in: San Francisco

Current project: Empty storefront window installation for SF Arts Commission on Market at 6th Streets

Biggest inspiration: Eternal life

Proudest accomplishment: Choosing to do what I love and going for it

Show/event you wish you were apart of: Venice Biennale

Art bros: The other dudes in this event. VESL crew. HB

Longest art bender: I’ve done a few straight-through, 24-hour work days when necessary, but those are far and few between

Best thing about being an artist: Anything’s possible

Worst thing about being an artist: People think you're lazy

Artistic achilles heel: Laziness

Paint it or blog it: Paint first, blog it later

Hobbies: Music, biking, exploring my city

Favorite hang out outside my studio: In a park. Any park

Best attribute: Organized

Worst habit: I forget to eat

Books or the Internet: Both

If I weren’t an artist, I’d be: Production designer, architect, or one of those people that hike/camp for months just to get the photographic shot of their lifetime

Pay attention to (artist and/or art movement): Both

Make a quick mil versus life-spanning success: Life-spanning success, most definitely

Last big purchase: A last-minute flight to New York

Recently sold: Something I created

Outdoor art or gallery setting: Both

Favorite art destination: NYC, as of yet

Most artistic city in the world: Don't know—I need to travel more

Artist’s style farthest from mine but I envy: Olafur Eliasson

I create best when: My bills are taken care of and I'm left alone for long periods of time

I hit a creative block when: I haven’t eaten a meal in a while

Motto: Enjoy life, even when it’s raining shit

Advice: Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us get to work


Red Bull Ride + Style is free and open to the public, beginning at 12pm on Saturday, April 30, and ending at 4pm. A bike valet will be available for guests and spectators by San Francisco Bike Coalition. For more information, visit, on Facebook, follow on Twitter @redbullSFO / #rideNstyle.


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