The Grotesque

The Grotesque

Although his résumé reads ‘Industrial Designer’, I get the impression that there is more to the story of Owen Payette McGarry. A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he is also a DJ, graphic designer, tool maker, wood worker and, one day, a framebuilder. This is his first frame, appropriately titled The Grotesque.

The term ‘grotesque’ doesn’t necessarily mean ugly, although it has gained that definition since the 18th century. Indeed, from Latin times, it had a similar meaning to arabesque and moresque, referring to foliage patterns and designs of a curved, perhaps pagan, nature. Both architects and archaeologists will recognise grotesques from many ancient buildings.

The Grotesque

Last fall, Owen and five friends combined their resources to buy a frame building jig, six sets of True Temper tubes and six sets of lugs and, with a certain amount of advice from Brian Chapman of Chapman Cycles, taught themselves how to assemble frames. The Grotesque is the result of Owen’s efforts, a brakeless fixed-gear built for aggressive commuting.

The Grotesque

Owen brazed together the aero handlebars as well and utilised his woodworking skills to turn a pair of torpedo-shaped bar ends from curly maple. Apparently, they were “a bit of a radical experiment, though have proved to be one of the most comfortable things I’ve ridden on.” They lend a futuristic element to an ancient looking beast.

The Grotesque

Inspired by an affinity for the sea, Owen decided he’d prefer a figurehead to a head badge, reminiscent of those found on a galleon’s prow. His roommate, Caleb Colpitts, a jewellery student, sculpted and electroformed the Gargoyle before setting the eyes with green sapphires and the teeth of a skunk. A formidable sight for any oncoming jaywalker.

The Grotesque

See more of Owen McGarry’s creativity on his website. Big thanks to Nick Bakovic for the photos.

  • itsmefool

    Mom always told me if you can’t say anything nice, well, you know…

    • mountainmulecycles

      i concur. Hmm.

  • remi

    This is great, made me look a frame building jigs on ebay.

  • Sean Curran

    Any idea on who made the stand? him as well?

    • It was me as well. I tend not to buy things unless I really must

      • Sean Curran

        Nice, I like it a lot. Also, In my opinion the bike looks better with the wheels shown in the picture with you (on your website). I also really like the tube chair in your portfolio, cool range of work you got there.

        • I’m glad you like the work! I really appreciate it. And as for the wheels, I rather like the flashiness of the carbon wheel, but luckily, wheels are easy to change, I doubt this bike is in its completed state yet.

  • adanpinto

    Grotesque in a modern sense.

  • David

    Shocking! How dare he use unbranded equipment. Never mind I look forward to seeing your branded quality creation.

  • Logan

    kudos. I like the style. and your enthusiasm

  • not vexed

    so rad! the figurehead is obviously the cherry on top