Many will argue: Is photography art? This question has widely been debated since the creation of the camera.

In a sense photos are like mirrors; they capture the exact moment that the camera sees. However, if an artist is holding the camera this is a moment captured through an artist's eye, which beckons the question: Is this art? What about if an artist takes a photo but then you have another artist create a painting of that photo? You have the recipe for an art inception…

Myself, Laurence Crossman-Emms, and digital artist, Carl Ringquist (founder/artist for MTB-Art) decided to join passions and take a shot at this art inception, putting shutter and pencil together to create a trilogy of mountain biking photography inspired pieces. 

Air, Grip, and Flow are three components of mountain biking that Carl really wanted to hit. Carl created these three minimalistic scenes filled with detail and precision to replicate their photography counterparts while adding his unique twist. These masterpieces are not your simple copy, paste, run an effect, stick it through an app, kind of art. They are hand drawn from start to finish, finely detailed and coloured works of art.

Find more about MTB-Art on his website found here.

Carl Says: "I got in touch with Laurence when I came across one of his pictures of Greg Minnaar. I was looking for a sketch to do as Greg had just taken his record breaking 18th World Cup win. Laurence was really cool about me basing my work on one of his shots, and we were both stoked with the outcome! We met up in person for the first time some months later at the World Cup in Vallnord. Here we decided to develop a project together, loosely based around the concept of 'The Essence of Mountain biking'. 

My work is mostly based on photographic reference. When I don’t work from my own photography I feel very humble towards using other people's photos. For that reason, I always make sure to reach out and try not to step on any one's hardworking toes. Doing a collaboration with Laurence was a great opportunity to work with a professional with a deep understanding of what makes good mountain bike photography. It also made what is normally a quiet solo effort, a lot more interesting and dynamic."
Carl has an artistic background and 15 years experience as an automotive designer. The combination of knowledge on traditional art mediums and that of a digital process has led to the style and manner in which he creates his pieces. He started with a couple of acrylic paintings but now does it all via digital sketching: less hassle and less mess! Working layer by layer, detail by detail gives him a connection with the subject beyond the basic stoke he already feels while depicting the best athletes in the best sport in the world! On average, one piece takes him probably around 15 hours to complete, but some are looser and take less time for sure.

Carl and I decided to base our collaboration around Whistler and the Bike Park. Carl felt that imagery from my Deep Summer slideshow from 2015, captured the essence of what he wanted to depict in the trilogy…presenting Air • Grip • Flow

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass, speaks to me – Chief Dan George, Geswanouth Slahoot

Rider: Mike Hopkins / Callaghan Valley, Whistler, BC, Canada

The artworks aim to capture the essence of mountain biking—that being in the moment, in that flow where your mind and body are one and when time seems to freeze.

Hold on to what is good, even if its handful of earth – Pueblo Prayer

Rider: Mike Hopkins / Blue Velvet, Whistler Bike Park, BC, Canada

All artwork is hand drawn by Carl. Although working in digital, he uses a very similar process to that of a traditional artist, no shortcuts! This gives him a stronger emotional connection with each piece. 

In the midst of chaos and movement, keep stillness inside of you – Deepak Chopra

Rider: Sterling Christenson / Afternoon Delight, Whistler Bike Park, BC, Canada

These incredible pieces of work are available in a limited print series from the MTB-Art shop found here

Prints are made at Copialab Barcelona, specialists in fine art prints for more than 25 years. Highest quality Giclée print on Photo Rag paper 308 g/m2 · 100% cotton – Shipping Worldwide

Photography: Laurence Crossman- Emms // // Instagram
Digital Illustrator: Carl Ringquist // // Instagram
Back to Top