Cycling artist extraordinaire James Straffon turned up in person at a Harrogate gallery the night before The Grand Depart.
Not only are this London-based artist’s pictures gloriously-rendered portraits of Tour de France icons such as Eddy Merckx, Tommy Simpson, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish fine examples of pop art blended with urban art, they also present a detailed cycling histrory without the viewer, perhaps, even realising.
Talking to him at a packed RedHouse Originals gallery at Cheltenham Mount, James explained that the collage aspects had not only been chosen for their visual aspects but were entirely relevant to the particular rider in question.
“I source the extracts of personal letters and old cycling magazines and general memorabilia myself. They are all totally genuine.
“It can sometimes take four or five months to research a single painting. I was a massive cycling before I became an artist. It seemed the perfect way of combining my two great passions.”
As well as his current exhibition Carbon Sulphur and Paint at RedHouse, Straffon also created a series of ten original Le Tour themed paintings which he has been leaving in various iconic locations around Harrogate for members of the public to discover.
Anyone who finds a picture in the Have You Seen Harry? - The Le Tour Street Art Giveaway has been allowed to keep it forever.
And rivalry has blown up on social media between local art lovers all bid ding to be first to find each original piece of Straffon artwork.
The exhibition itself runs until July 19.
For more information, visit facebook.com/redhouseoriginals or www.redhouseoriginals.com / www.harry-binns.co.uk