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Bob Haro feature spread from BMX Aciton
Bob Haro from a feature spread in BMXAction magazine in 1983. Click to see the whole page.

In recognition of the first running of BMX in the Olympics, and all of the build-up and hype that surrounded it, I wanted to share some stuff that is pretty special to me.

One of the best things to come out of this Olympic thing, as I’ve called it, was the re-introduction of sorts of the BMX masses to Bob Haro. Through his contribution to the Olympic efforts by lending a hand to Nike – curating the Lightning Bolts numberplate art show, co-designing the Olympic uniforms and generally being a great ambassador, it has been so good to see some of the spotlight shared with such a major influencer of BMX culture.

On the heels of this, there have been a couple articles about Haro in both RideBMX and DigBMX magazines, and you should take the time to hunt them down. These stories give background on what he’s been up to since selling Haro Bicycles in 1993, and what inspired him to create probably the most successful brand name in BMX. If you don’t know, he’s been running a successful design studio, Haro Design, and launched Axio, a “performance luggage” and “technical pack” company.

What he hadn’t done much was show or talk about his art, which was so inspiring to so many of us BMX kids. That is, until just recently, showing his “cartoons” and photographs in the Bike Curious art show that opened in LA during the 2008 X-Games, as well as a multi-page article in the August 2008 issue of the art magazine Juxtapoz. Seeing those images of his illustrations slapped me back to my 10-year-old self, thumbing through BMX Action magazine, enamored with these black-and-white drawings that showed these exaggerated characters having fun on their bikes. And, true to his roots, Haro didn’t discriminate; he drew guys on tracks and dudes on quarter-pipes, usually with Haro numberplates and pants, JT gloves and the ubiquitous accessory of the 1980s, Oakley goggles.

As I said in my first post ever on this site, guys like Andy Jenkins and influenced me to explore art, photography, and ultimately my career in advertising/graphic design/digital media. How I left Haro off of this list of influences, I have no idea. I’ll be correcting that throughout this week, with Haro’s illustrations scanned from my archive of BMXA magazines. I left them pretty much un-retouched (thus yellowed, torn and faded – look, I flipped through these pages SO many times…), and if you click, you’ll get them at a larger size.

Enjoy the first of these illustrations, from March of 1984. Mr. Haro, this week is for you.

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, March 1984
(Click to enlarge)

Related:
Freestylin’ Magazine Book Launch
Interview from Ride in 2004.

Lupe Fiasco’s Black/Gold Black Lightning

Black Lightning, the boutique bicycle and clothing company, has done four custom bikes for the release of Chicago hip-hop artist, Lupe Fiasco’s new album, The Cool. This is just the latest in Black Lightning’s promotion of the bmx culture since providing bikes for The Cool Kids’ video “Black Mags“.

It should be no surprise that Fiasco, with his documented love of skateboards/comics/bikes, would hook up with a company like Black Lightning to do something special for his latest album. His first single was “Kick Push“, an ode to skating, that earned him multiple award nominations.

The bikes feature the custom finishes Black Lightning is throwing down, with graphics in the style of the album art. Check out more images on the Black Lightning Blog – look closely at the details, some really detailed touches on these bikes.

Andy Shohara, airing at the Krause Family Skatepark in San Diego

Birthday Boy, Andy Shohara. Photo by John Leonard

As we noted a little over a week ago, a skatepark jam went down in San Diego, celebrating the 40th birthday of longtime rider, Andy Shohara. Sponsored by Black Lighting, about 30 riders plus some of their kids, showed up to the park which was reserved for this event. Andy (on his new Black Lightning bike), Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Todd Andersen, Lee Reynolds, Woody Itson, Xavier Mendez, Alvin Mullins and others all ripped up the park for a few hours. Mullins has posted about the event in a couple of places, and has a bunch of images John Leonard shot, on his Photobucket (note that you may need to be a member to see all of them).

Happy Birthday, Andy! Damn, California Dreamin’, indeed.

Mullins’ post on the OS-BMX message board.
Photos on Mullins’ Photobucket.
Quick write-up on the event by Lee Reynolds on Fat-BMX.

Flyer for Andy Shohara’s Birthday Jam

Just received this bit of news from Kevin at Black Lightning, a new BMX lifestyle/apparel/frame(?) brand, featured in the Cool Kids video I posted last month:

Black Lightning presents the Flyin’ Hawaiian Andy Shohara’s 40th Birthday Jam.
Where: Krause Family Skatepark, San Diego, CA. 8:45-10:45 sat. nov 24th
Riders attending: Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Lee Reynolds, Tony Murray, and more. Show up and have a blast with riders from the past.

Shohara competed in a number of the King of Skatepark contests in the mid-’80s and continues riding today. If any of you in San Diego go, send me pics and I’ll post them here.