Many mountains take millions, if not billions, of years to form. But some only need a few brush strokes to take shape.
Singaporean artist Thomas Yang has released his latest work, a painting called The Ascent.
Using 10 paintbrushes held together to create one 50-cm-long brush, he was able to depict the fluid lines of the mountain strata in just one fluid stroke. And to finish it off, he even added a teeny tiny detail: a small cyclist at the peak of one of the mountains.
“This artwork expresses the exhilaration of mountain riding,” said Yang, “where the ascent is as alluring as being at the top.”
We recently had the opportunity to interview Yang about The Ascent.
Talk us through the logistical process behind hand-binding 10 paintbrushes into a 50 cm-long brush!
“The idea started when I was trying to think of a bicycle art created especially for mountain bikers. From there, I was amazed by the beauty of the mountain strata. The contours where every mountain biker needs to overcome the pain of ascending. The characteristic of the mountain strata lines are all running in the same direction.
“So I decided to find a way to portray this kind of look by using a paintbrush of the widest width. As the size of the art that I am using for this bike art is A1, I needed at least a metre wide brush. Since the brush I needed was not available in those art shops, I made my own brush by binding each brush together in a row.
“With this length of the brush, I also made the same length for my container to hold the Chinese ink. With all the equipment made and ready, the process of painting The Ascent begins…”
Where does your passion for mountain riding come from and what gave you the idea to undertake this project?
“I do both road and mountain riding in trails. I prefer mountain riding because the air is fresher and the view is spectacular.
“I totally agree with what Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them… Thus, you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle’.
“My passion for cycling is a way to keep myself healthy and I would continue cycling as long as I am still fit to ride. I live in Singapore and there are no mountains but hills for mountain bikers to climb.
“Looking at many pictures of mountain bikers reaching the peak of the mountain inspired me to come up with an art for mountain riding. If you look at the range of my bicycle art, each of the design carries different insights and category in cycling with a rationale attached to it.”
What’s more fun: the ascent or the descent, and why?
“I embrace the uphill because they are followed by the reward of a downhill. If there’s no pain, there’s no gain and that’s life in nature. Not everything is free, we got to work hard for it.”