In early April 2019, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to connect with Dorna Sports S.L and showcase some examples of my most recent sports artwork.
As the team behind the promotion and marketing of MotoGP, the Dorna team command an enormous online following. MotoGP's Instagram Profile has over 7.5m followers alone with Twitter following up with a further 2.55m.
A couple of weeks after communicating with Dorna I was delighted to receive an email from their Social Media team to explore opportunities for a bespoke artwork to celebrate the forthcoming 70th Anniversary of MotoGP. The team explained that all the current competing riders would be participating in a black-tie anniversary celebration the following week and, to commemorate the event, they wondered if I could create an artwork featuring the riders accompanied by motorcycles from the original Grand Prix series?
Of course, I was over the moon to be asked and immediately began researching images of historic motorcycles such as the AJS 500cc Porcupine from British manufacturer Associated Motor Cycles (AMC), which débuted in 1945 with a horizontal-engine designated E90S, and the 1935 Velocette MSS by Velocette. A fast, reliable and economical racer from Birmingham that continued in production until 1968.
A couple of days later, Dorna sent me a selection of photographs of the riders all dressed up to the nines in evening dress and standing in position on the starting grid ahead of the forthcoming Catalan Grand Prix. Accompanying the rider images, the team also sent me some photographs of the specific motorcycles they wanted to be included in the final artwork. The team thanked me for my help and signed off with a note to say they'd like to post a copy of the final artwork onto social media as soon as possible?
The images came through towards the end of the day on Friday so I thought I'd better check-in before setting off for my weekend away? 'How soon do you need the final piece?' I asked. 'Well, we'd like to post the artwork on Monday morning' came the reply.
So, the challenge was set and I accepted my fate of a busy weekend of creating. I grabbed myself a bottle of Banks' and sat down to start reviewing the images supplied. Working with original photographs taken from a multitude of different angles and in different locations and lighting is always a challenge, and this selection of images was no exception. Never one to be beaten, I set about sourcing as many different images of the four motorcycles I could find? By 10.30 pm, I was ready to start creating some artwork!
By Saturday lunchtime, my original acrylic styled artwork had begun to take shape but the motorcycles were proving a problem. The more I tried, the more I struggled to create a representation that fitted with the riders backdrop. It was time to take a step back with another bottle of Banks' to help boost my creative juices. I always suspected my home town brewery added a sprinkle of magic to their ales and sure enough, three bottles later, my artistic block had faded and the montage of men and machinery was starting to look decidedly better.
Rising early on Sunday morning, I was pleased to be greeted with an artwork that I still felt happy with. It's incredible how many times I've come back to a piece of art and been utterly deflated with the image in front of me. I've lost count of the number of projects, I have scrapped at this stage and started again from scratch. I call them 'DIAD Projects' after an ex-work colleague who would constantly restart tasks while repeating the words 'Do it again, Dave!' I'm not quite sure why he chose this as his mantra? His name was Paul.
By Sunday lunchtime, I'd created an image that I was happy to share but this is when the fiddling usually starts. I have a tendency to keep going back to artwork and fiddle with it so it was no surprise to find myself wandering back to the artwork every 30-minutes or so and adding superfluous linework and colour.
The end result of my lost weekend was well received by the Dorna team and is shown above in various states of completion. Online response rates were good with over 75k Likes after four days and, after MotoGP fans had finished arguing about which riders should have been given the most prominent starting grid positions, I was pleased to receive some favourable comments from MotoGP fans.