Thomas Yang, a Singaporean Creative Director, is the mastermind behind 100copies, a collection of cycling-themed art prints that come in limited editions of exactly 100 per design. One of his recent projects, a series of four designs featuring architectural landmarks, was created with the tread patterns on bike tires! Of course curiosity got the best of us and we had to find out more. We’re big on sharing and spreading the good word here at Nuvango, so we’ll share Thomas’ answers with all of you guys too:
Since you’re an avid cyclist, we have to ask: what’s your preferred bicycle set-up?
I have four bicycles: a single-speed self-modified Flying Pigeon gentlemen bike from China, a Specialized Stumpjumper SWORKS mountain bike, a Brompton Foldie from London and a Bianchi Mini Velo imported from Japan. I cycle thrice a week about 17 km on each ride before heading to work.
Impressive collection! What’s been your greatest cycling adventure so far? Where would you like to travel next with your bike?
So far I have cycled in Nice, France during Cannes Advertising Festival as a jury. I love the cool, dry weather – unlike Singapore, where it’s warm and humid. I would like to cycle in Taipei for my next adventure with my bike.
Let’s talk about the 100 part of 100copies. Why that particular number and not, say, 99, or 101?
Before I started selling online, I needed a name for my brand and I wanted every creation to be a limited edition. I Googled and a common range was between 50 – 300 copies. I had an idea at the time that I needed 2 “0″s in the brand in order in fit a bicycle symbol between them. The lesser copies the better and so all I could think is “100”. That led to the formation of 100copies as the name, which I thought was quite easy to remember. Following this, I created www.100copies.net so that I could share my unique creations with other cyclists all around the world who are also looking for cycling-inspired designs.
Certainly a very logical train of thinking! A number of your pieces are created with the imprints of bicycle tyre tracks. How did you first think of doing this?
It was much like doing my day job as a creative director: keep coming up with ideas to solve my client’s problem.
With the advantage of being a cyclist myself, each design concept on 100copies is based on different insights coming from cyclists like fixie, BMX, road and mountain bikers. If you have noticed, there’s always a short rationale on each design before you decide to buy the poster or t-shirt. The idea came up while I was toying around with ideas on how I can paint with a bicycle. Tyre tracks was the first thing in mind. Then I went further to explore the characteristics on each of the tyre pattern and realised that I could possibly paint some building structures.
What’s your process like for creating these pieces – do you sketch or visualize the final image first, or do you just put the tyre to the paper and go? If anything goes wrong, do you have to start over?
The process was very difficult. I’m not a pro painter with one hit wonders. I used some of my own bike tyres, neighbours’ bikes and studied all tyre patterns on Chain Reaction Cycles (largest range of tyres for me to select from) and purchased it from them. I did research on the those landmark photos on the internet. Printed them out in actual size that I wanted as a reference for my sketches to make sure that all the proportions are correct. Each of the four landmarks (Empire State, Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge and Forbidden city) were made with at least 40 trials to give you the best end result in order to make into 100 copies.
Now that is dedication! The final results certainly look fantastic. So what’s next for you? Any exciting new projects coming up in the near future?
Honestly, I am still scratching my head for ideas. There are a few but not quite sure they are good enough to execute.
It’ll be fun to see what Thomas comes up with next. To keep up with his latest developments, check out his work at: