One artist, one bike frame, both without limits
In a unique collaboration, we asked artist Karl Kopinski to take a Factor ViSTA and use it as a canvas for his art. The result, a one-off piece of cycling art that demonstrates Kopinski’s incredible talent as an illustrator.
The project took the artist over a month to complete as he imagined a design that encapsulates the spirit of the ViSTA. Kopinski is a passionate cyclist and has created paintings for Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Sir Paul Smith.
Learn more about the bike in the artists’ own words below.
The Kopinski ViSTA
What was it like to use a bike as your canvas?
It was tough at first I had to concentrate on the scale of the drawings and make sure I used the right media, it got easier as I worked around the frame.
What materials did you use for the drawing and what was the process?
I used acrylic paint pens. It was pretty simple as it had a nice base coat applied first. I just had to avoid getting oil from my fingers onto it and occasionally sand down areas a little to give it some tooth.
What is the concept behind the design?
I wanted to do something that had symbology but was still recognisable as my work. The dragons represent the terrain, the warriors are the rider and the weapon is the ViSTA slaying all-terrain.
There are a few zombie figures trying to chain it down, representing convention and how the bike breaks it. I think people tried to categorise the ViSTA and you can’t, it’s just a really fast machine!
There are birds on there which represent the feeling and freedom riding a bike gives me.
You can ride the ViSTA wherever you want, it’s so much fun and frighteningly fast. I’d go so far as to say it’s an anomaly, totally unique and I really wanted my art to reflect that.
It was a work of art before my pen even touched it.
The art of Karl Kopinski
How would you describe your styles?
My style is a weird mix, essentially I love a lot of realist painters and that was the basis for me and where I really learnt the basics. A personal love of comics, movies and more contemporary art has had a huge influence too. I guess that’s part of the reason my work has a wide appeal.
What have been your favourite pieces and highlights?
Among my favourites would be paintings for Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Also, painting a portrait of Sir Paul Smith and having paintings bought by Peter Jackson.
For anyone who hasn’t seen your work, how would you describe it?
My work covers a wide range, I do a lot of ink and pencil line sketching which has proved very popular. I also love to paint people and have really enjoyed my interpretations of cyclists in oil paints.
Kopinski on Cycling
What do you like most about cycling?
It’s just a really beautifully simple pastime yet once you try to improve and even compete, you realise it’s far more complex and pretty cerebral.
Who is your cycling hero?
Too many to name them all. I’ve read a lot about the history Merckx which is amazing. I loved Wiggins, he just looked so perfect on a bike. I also like Romain Bardet and Bob Jungels, again so smooth and elegant on a bike but aggressive and clever too.
Is there much cross over with cycling and your art?
They are very similar. it’s essentially solitary, you can’t hide and if you haven’t done the work other people who are good at it will know.
What cycling pieces have you created?
So many now! Wiggins, Cav, Bardet, Merckx, Poulidor, Anquetil, Jungels, Bahamontes, Rivière and many more.
What was your first experience with Factor?
I bought the O2 first and I loved it because it looked like a bike without too many weird curves and shapes but light and modern too. The O2 is perfect – It’s elegant, understated, refined but blindingly fast and responsive. It climbs well and kicks when you sprint.
I’ve been riding the ViSTA for the last few months and the bike is just a revelation. It’s coped with everything I’ve thrown at it, mountain bike trails, single-track gravel and more. I also put road tyres on and mixed it up on the club run. It’s so fast, too fast for my skill set in some ways.