Thursday, December 18, 2014

Window shopping

Rare is my work writ quite so large or made permanent.

When it happens, I celebrate, not only the art but how it came to be.

You'll find new window signs at Greg Archer's new shop, Archer Bicycle, in Oakland, Calif.

Go there from wherever you are, bring your bike and get it fixed at really reasonable rates by one of the top mechanics in the country (no kidding!) and check out his windows. Also, play pinball, lounge on comfy chairs in the lobby — Greg's fun to hang around and cheerfully teaches you a thing or two about keeping your bike in shape.

(Shout out to FastSigns of Downtown Oakland for production and installation of the window signs! It's a plugapalooza!)

Greg and I go back quite a while. I have called him my Medici, a patron of art and my work specifically (if you deign to compare me to Michelangelo). Bottom line, he has given me a lot of projects, enjoys and encourages creativity in solving his visual communications problems, and generally lets fly with the results.

I have written about that work and our relationship many times, starting when he owned The Rest Stop, a bicycle accessories shop in Sacramento. Next, he trained to become a mechanic and opened a repair shop in the suburbs.

His Oakland store is mostly repair, but he also refurbishes donated bikes for a charity, and sells a line of Italian-made cyclo-cross-style bikes, which he reasons are ideally suited to the varied terrain of the East Bay.

His space, housing touches of streamline moderne design, is right next door to the Oakland Tribune Building, one of Oakland's skyline landmarks (though sadly the newspaper is not published there anymore).

Greg's shop is right in the heart of bike commuter traffic. Professionals professing small carbon footprints nestle in this part of town.

Archer Bicycle's new window signs play off design touches inside, turning wheels and spokes into simple sparkling overlapping shapes, diamonds and fans and circles.

The Archer logo prefigured his shop, but it fits the decor. I meant the logo, Diana the huntress on a cruiser, to feel like an old found piece of art, maybe from a long-forgotten bicycle badge, in which its possibly disquieting origin-story became lost to time.

As the shop's lone disgruntled customer — amid a bunch of glowing Yelp®™ reviews — asked, "Plus, who uses a naked woman shooting an arrow off a bike for a logo?"

Greg does, thank goodness.
Archer's original logo went
into storage once Diana
came to life.

Greg is gradually shaping the shop, which features drop lighting and a large landing upstairs that he has turned into a gallery, art@archer, featuring bike-related works.

The gallery logo has many variations, meant to stand away from the shop logo, but still connect in theme and type.

Greg keeps the shop open late for Oakland's monthly art celebration, First Friday.

As his business grows and opportunities develop for marketing and community building, Greg Archer spins off ideas and always has a project or two for me to work on.

Thank goodness.
The window schematic, barring a few production tweaks.