Milkwood Gallery and Cardiff Cycle Festival

The art.spoke.soul exhibition has been growing again. Milkwood is the final venue of the  Bike Art Trail Cardiff 2012 to open its doors to cyclists for this years Cardiff Cycle Festival.

There is work by Lucy Driscoll, Eliza Southwood, Mark Robson, Lucy Freegard and more. Resident artist Sophie Elliott has begun her cycling journeys through the wet Welsh landscape from Caerphilly to Cardiff. She’ll be working towards an open evening at Milkwood Gallery on 12th July.

Places are still available for Cardiff Cycle Tours Art Trail; a ride from The Coal Exchange, along the Ely Trail, to Roath, and back through Bute Park and the Taff Trail. A conversation between myself and artist Sophie Elliott will also feature. Book through

Come along to PrintHaus this Saturday for the Barenaked Micro Beer Festival from 2pm and see the exhibition. If you fancy riding the trail, I could lead a group from 3.30pm(ish); just turn up with a bike.

PrintHaus exhibition is now open!

We’ve been setting up in the PrintHaus, Llandaff Road, today. Thanks Ponies in Pontcanna for a lend of your tape measure! And Sophie Barras for sorting the venue and a cuppa.

Have a peek; it’s open tomorrow 12pm-8pm and afternoons Tuesday ’till Saturday (2-5pm Tues, 1.30 – 5pm Weds-Sat). Also, at The PrintHaus, is Goat Major Project’s ‘Space Invader’ by artist Rebecca Glover. Definitely worth a visit.

Work is underway!

I’m hopping around with excitement in preparation for the Cardiff Bike Art Trail 2012. Today, I have been painting Milgi’s window with Sophie Barras with a collaborative design to celebrate our love for the bicycle.

Sophie’s back tomorrow to complete it. Mary Anne Cooke and Jacob Stead have collaborated to create a Circue de Cyclisme in Sho Gallery’s window. It’s adorable!

Route maps are available from:

Milkwood Gallery, Lochaber Street;

Sho Gallery, Inverness Place;

Reg Braddick Cycles, Broadway;

The Bike Shed, Cathedral Road;

Cyclopaedia, Crwys Road;

Sustrans, Bute Street.

Tomorrow, I’ll be hanging work in The Printhaus, Llandaff Road, and next week, in Milkwood Gallery. I hope you can all make it to some events at Cardiff Cycle Festival starting this weekend. I’m certainly going to do the Peter Finch tour with Cardiff Cycle Tours. Can’t wait!

Sophie Victoria Elliott

Sophie Victoria Elliott will be resident artist in Milkwood Gallery during Cardiff Cycle Festival 2012 for the art.spoke.soul. Bike Art Trail.

Geology is the driving force behind her fascination with the landscape. “The landscape is in constant flux with everything dependent on the other, with land mutually destructive and creative”.

I, myself, am also fascinated by geology, particularly of the coast. I spent much of my university art degree sketching the rocky strata of the Glamorgan Coast, rich in its exhibition of geological history.  I am taken in by the transient nature of the cliffs of our small country; how different processes break apart and reshape our land.

Not denying man’s impact on the landscape, Sophie will be considering how industry, roads and buildings interrupt the archetypal view of landscapes traditionally denoted by artists. Her residency will look at the transportation of people using bicycles and public transport through the Welsh landscape. Using both Welsh and English language, Sophie will mark her personal association with bilingual road signs and Wales, taking colours from cycle route maps, road signs and photographs (taken on her own journeys between Cardiff and Caerphilly) as inspiration. Ultimately, the work will be circular in shape. Symbolic of not only the bicycle wheel, but also of renewable resources, the planet Earth, and how our actions have an impact on the environment.

Sophie Victoria Elliott – resident artist @ The Basement, Milkwood Gallery (41 Lochaber Street  Cardiff, CF24 3LS) 16th-30th June 2012, Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5pm.

Basement Blogs from previous Milkwood resident artists:

Jon Bunney

Jon Bunney, animator and illustrator, seeks influence from cycling and also being outdoors, up mountains and pedalling under forest cover. Nature and human form are a large part of his work and cycling has been a huge part of Jon’s life, his first memories being of bikes. Cycling is an integral part of Jon’s well being and fitness. He recently got to grips with riding again after an episode of ill health and said: “It’s an excellent way to gauge my fitness”.

Wenallt Woods


We shall not cease from exploration,

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

In search of a little respite from the constant traffic crescendos outside my house on Allensbank Road, and a little less serious cycling, I headed out past Rhiwbina to Wenallt Woods. I parked the bike at the bottom of Wenallt Road, locking up to a road sign or someother forgotten construction and took the nearest path into the woods.

Within minutes, an emulated sky of bluebells had appeared under the canopy of beech trees, which date back to at least 1600AD. The Cardiff Council managed pocket of ancient woodland consists of Oak, Hazel and Beech. There is a red circular walk that can be followed from the car park, but I chose to meander around its abundant pathways watching squirrels breaching out of the sea-blue floor.

“..such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These creatures, you realise, that live by voices inaudible to you.” – Robert Macfarlane.

The evidence of play; dens and rope swings, took me back to my childhood of wading through my local brook, extricating ancient remains and plunging from tree top to river. For me, it’s important to find wildness outside of our man-made environment. Wenallt Woods is perfect for this and a stone’s throw out of Cardiff, can be easily accessed without a car.

Recommended reads:

The Wild Places, Robert Macfarlane;

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees, Roger Deakin.

Charlotte Whitman

Charlotte Whitman is an illustrator and prop-maker living in London. Using a wide variety of materials for her work, Charlotte is inspired by the world around her, focusing on people and everyday objects. She has recently been given an old bike by a friend and will have her first riding experience in a long while! In her own words she’ll be ” hitting the streets of London in a baptism of fire, covered from head to toe in padding and hopefully becoming part of the clan”.

Cycle London (above) is a piece of work Charlotte produced for an Association of Illustrators competition that aimed to promote cycling for all in London. It shows a diverse range of people from different social groups and ages, riding different styles of bicycle. The cyclists are collaged from newspaper and magazine scraps from free London publications.

I looked up Charlotte since she’d exhibited in Artcrank London at Look Mum No Hands last year and asked if she’d like to make some work for Cardiff Cycle Festival. She kindly agreed and I’m really looking forward to seeing it next month.

Charlotte Whitman


Hark rumour outcast ghetto track,

Wood clack, rattle, quivering slat.

Orbicular ghost pedal whirrs,

Summon memory of victory cheers.

Crooked curtsy to spruce sentinel,

Abrupt celebratory firework crack,

Soft snowy silence answers offence,

Whilst night threatens overpowering pretence.

Unknown footsteps snap awake

Winter’s white recumbent state.

Stilted parapet truss ascends,

Adhering track slopes and bends.

Adoring homage to veteran majors,

Encompass curving circuit stage,

Distant races conquered, played.

Arresting ingress hinged by rubber,

Intersected ambitious artery inner.

Past summers linger on, browned,

Intruding shoots reclaiming land.

Nature’s seasoned right of way,

Moves forth over abandoned ground.

Lonely in wild December wood,

Forlorn cyclist forgotten, stands.

Ghettodrome is the result of a little side project I did whilst on residency at Arteles, Finland. The derelict velodrome in Tampere was mentioned by an artist I met and I went to check it out. The continual rain we are having here in Cardiff is a reminder of the enduring Finnish winters. This, and a feeling of isolation in the wilds inspired the poem.

Jacob Stead

Jacob Stead

A super talented illustrator originally from Bradford and living in Bristol is making up some visual treats for the art.spoke.soul. trail at Cardiff Cycle Festival this June. Jacob graduated from the University of West England with a first class honours in 2011. One year on and Jacob has illustrations in Boneshaker (above illustration), Wired, Oh Comely, and Radio Times.

Jacob finds Bristol an easy city to get about by bicycle and makes the most of good weather by taking the 13 mile off road route out of his metropolis to Bath on the connecting Railway Path. I certainly think I’ll give this a go when the rain lets up! For now as we’re stuck in an endless Winter, I’m writing something inspired by my December Scandanavian experience.

Find more of our gentleman’s illustrations here: Jacob Stead

The Trick Cyclist

Two wheel tricks have been performed since the birth of the bicycle. The first trick was filmed in 1899 by Thomas Edison.

This style of riding is the origin of BMX and we have recently seen a revival of fixed gear tricks. It is likely the unicycle evolved from the penny farthing once the rear wheel was dispenced and riders experimented with how better to balcance over the front wheel, preventing unexpected deathly dismounts.

Joe Jackson from Vienna was one of the first cycling clowns and was on the world champion bicycle polo team before adopting his white faced veneer in the 20th century. Photographer and performer Mark Robson will be exhibiting some shots of the Parklife show by NoFit State Circus in the art.spoke.soul. event at Cardiff Cycle Festival this year. Bicycles and unicycles were used in the show and some community participatory events because they are part and parcel of outdoor park life. A bicycle track functioned as a stage for the main event held across a number of UK parks. A group of BMXers in Brighton were convinced into trying out the track and impressed onlookers with their riding around the circular stage.

Unicyclist Malte Knapp has a staggering repertoire of balancing acts shown here in Sweden.