Artist and illustrator Jobert Cruz, the first of our Unframed 2015 winners to be interviewed on this blog, could not stop smiling as he answered Nutcase’s interview questions.

His smile – big, warm, and genuine – seemed to signal how happy Jobert is to be chosen to put his art on a helmet.

“It’s my first time designing a helmet, and I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.

Jobert, 33, was born in Tondo, a suburb of metro Manila in the Philippines. After studying art at Far Eastern University, he has worked as an illustrator and has been in a number of local group shows.

With bold lines and rich, bright, saturated colors, Jobert’s art reflects his love of graphic novels and comic book art.

“I buy the books – Persepolis is one of my favorites,” he said. “And James Jean is a favorite artist. If I had a wish, it would be to meet him and see his works. He came to the Philippines two years ago and I didn’t get his autograph. So now I’m collecting his books.”

Jobert has a Mongoose mountain bike and likes to ride with friends, though there are few easy-to-reach bike paths where he lives and hardly any bike lanes. Still, he loved Nutcase helmets long before he entered the Unframed contest, and just bought himself his favorite, the Dutch Orange helmet.

(And if that helmet looks familiar, that’s because it’s nearly the same colored helmet featured in Jobert’s initial submission for the 2015 contest, posted above.)

For his Unframed 2015 helmet design, Jobert used acrylic markers (his favorite art material) for their smoothness of application. There are multiple colors in his helmet design (especially his current favorite – pale teal), though monochromatic monsters also feature prominently.

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A preliminary sketch for Jobert’s Unframed 2015 helmet design.

Here’s what Jobert says about his preliminary work for the Unframed 2015 helmet design:

“In the city, everyday is a battlefield, danger is almost everywhere. My work is a representation of the people facing different hazards in the urban area. We, the people, are fighting monsters every day we ride.  My artwork is dedicated for the people who face danger head on, and for countries that don’t have many bike lanes.”

Jobert is satisfied with the work he’s done on the Unframed 2015 design – he experimented with paper texturing in his preliminary sketches and drawings in order to add a rougher element to the style – and can’t wait for the chance to show more artwork to the world.

When asked if he’s nervous about creating his drawings and designs in a public forum (he works at home, late at night, alone with a mug of coffee and usually without music) for the benefit of World Bicycle Relief at the 2015 Eurobike and Interbike shows, Jobert smiles again, and pauses.

“Yep,” he says finally. “I am. And I’m really proud of my work, too.”

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