Imaginary Friends Photos

I have always been amazed with the bike culture in Richmond, VA. Having my prior experience grounded in northern cities it is a trip to see cyclist of every variety traversing the streets of Richmond. Naturally then I should not of been surprised at the turn out for the Invisible Friends art show at Books Bikes and Beyond. Nestled within the main drag of Richmond’s first Friday the streets were full of art aficionados. Evan Venditti and Joby Springsteen put together a show that came from their passion of cycling. Evan and Joby were kind enough to answer some questions about their work. Also be sure to check out Steve’s photo gallery.

Evan and Joby, real talk.

Joby Springsteen

Where do you draw inspiration for your sculptures?
All sorts of places. Sometimes it is music that inspires the idea, others it is just seeing a piece of scrap and what I could do with it. On occasion people suggest or ask me to make something and I do what I can to portray it. However, a lot of the time its a dumb thought of something I think would be cool or funny to see done. I generally do it to amuse myself and for the ladies :)

You certainly have a number of creative outlets. How do you divide your time between manufacturing bicycles, playing in a band, crafting sculptures and propagating text messages?
Making bikes is the 9-5, sculptures come when the inspiration is there, music is done whenever I can, and texts are generally 24/7. There are few more things I like to spend my time doing too and never enough time (sigh) plus I don’t sleep as much as I should.

Of those disciplines is there one you wish you had more time for?
Music is my passion but there are even times I’m not in the mood for it. So I guess id say that… and sleep

Have you had any schooling in sculpture or music? If not how did you arrive at the knowledge that you have?
I have taken art classes in high school and college and some college music classes though I still work from the gut as I always have. A few bits of knowledge and techniques have been added from schooling but I feel they just supplemented what I knew already or gained from experience. Besides, school is lame.

Are there any artists that have influenced your style?
Are there any that specialize in welding crap together? haha but really, there aren’t any that I know of. I just take my inspiration and do what I can with it.

Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
For sure my mom she has supported everything I’ve ever done, and that includes building a 7.5ft junk robot in our front yard. Also my friends and teachers that have helped my along the way.

Evan Venditti

photo: Crandall

Where do you draw inspiration for your sculptures?
I’ve never really thought about it… Considering most of my work is from found items, usually I pick something up and notice a certain resemblance to something organic and go from there, months can go by between those instances though. This time around inspirations were drawn from certain romances, and typically a twelve pack and a spliff help things flow.

You certainly have a number of projects going. From running a bike shop, traveling on a bmx bike and creating sculptures. How do you find time for all of this?
I don’t know. There is always that feeling of something needs to be done, in the back of my head. Lately, I have been noticing that I will go, go, go for weeks or months then burn out and be unmotivated for a week, charge the batteries, and then… repeat. Run it, life’s too short.

Recycles (bike shop) certainly must provide a multitude of possibilities for bike sculptures. What helps you decide what is transportation and what is art?
For sure, I try not to use parts that can obviously be used/ridden again, most of the stuff I’m looking for is pretty decrepid or overly abundant, like punctured tubes.

photo: Crandall

Are there any artist that have influenced your style?
Not really. I’ve never really understood the concept of art school and don’t really pay attention to “the art world” so mostly just the beautiful and disgusting world around us influences my freestyle.

Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
My father Brad, when I was young I never understood why he saved everything that myself and most others viewed as crap, now I get it.

Bryan Tarbell

A vegetarian Ron Swanson.