Hard-edge is an abstract style of painting native to California, a direct product of the state’s culture of light and color. So is Devon Tsuno, a painter and cyclist who lives in LA who counts hard-edge luminary Karl Benjamin among his influences. Sadly, Benjamin died in in July 2012 but not before inspiring Devon’s own painting — and a collaboration with Jordan Hufnagel on a tribute bike.
Devon met his hero when Benjamin presented him with a Masters at Claremont Graduate University in 2005, setting him on a path to explore his own interpretation of hard-edge painting. Benjamin’s work is expressly geometric, while Devon’s images are multi-layered, textured and utilize spray paint and acrylic to illustrate themes such as water and horticulture.
In turn, Jordan Hufnagel incorporated one of Benjamin’s paintings from 1969 into the frame, titled ‘#28’. The geometric design was splashed backwards from the polished head badge, as though the bike had been ridden straight through the canvas. Golden Saddle Cyclery, one of LA’s top bike shops, built up the frame with a custom mismatched Chris King headset and bottom bracket — a fitting touch.
Needless to say, Devon is more than pleased with the outcome, although he was looking forward to riding it to Claremont and showing it to Karl. Unfortunately, but coincidentally, the bike was delivered during the week Karl died. However, I’ve got a feeling his spirit will live, every time Devon takes the Hufnagel out for a ride in the Californian sunshine.
Big thanks to Kyle ‘Tracko‘ Kelley from Golden Saddle Cyclery for the photos. See more on his flickr. PS: To see what else Jordan Hufnagel’s been up to lately, check out his new project, West America.