The nutty Nutcase hive in Portland is alive with the excitement of Unframed 2016 and our new batch of artist winners. It certainly wasn’t easy to pick just three winners from our enormous talent pool and over 200 design submissions.
So how did we narrow down to our three winners, you might ask?
Our in-house judging team put as much store in each artist’s style and its adaptability to a helmet design as they did to the actual helmet template each artist submitted. In other words, the judges, well versed in what it takes to actually create a graphically-inspired helmet, looked at each finalist’s total body of work.
We can say with complete sincerity that it was an honor to review every finalist’s contribution and we valued each and every one of the entries. And so, with drum roll, hands clapping, cheers and confetti and all that other celebratory stuff, we present to you our Nutcase Unframed 2016 artists – (in alphabetical order by first name):
Collin Sekajugo, Uganda/Rwanda
Kyle Confehr, USA
Yan Yan Candy Ng, Hong Kong/Australia
Woot woot woot! Below we present more of their work, as well as their reactions to winning and a little bit more about their artistic sensibilities.
Collin: Oh my goodness! Trying to find the most appropriate words to express my gratitude here but for now, let me just say THANK YOU! To be honest, I never saw this win coming as I looked closely at what other designers in the world submitted and I was super impressed with how various creatives think about the world.
Even though I am not a regular cyclist (given the lack of bicycle routes on our streets in East Africa) I am a big fan of mountain biking plus huge cycling events like Tour De France and our own “Tour of Rwanda,” and to me safety is very crucial during these events. These also inspired me to start a community-based cycling event four years ago dubbed “Tour Weaver Bird” as part of the quarterly art camps that I organize in Masaka, Uganda each year.
Collin: As a versatile artist, design has always been an integral part of my artistic development since I started practicing professionally nearly a decade ago. Twenty years ago, bicycle transport for commuters was common, and then later advanced into motorcycle taxis locally known as Boda Boda in East Africa or Okada in West Africa. There have been compelling concerns about the safety of these riders because most of them didn’t wear safety helmets until recently, when many countries enacted laws to combat the problem.
As a concerned artist I started running safety campaigns through drawings, paintings, and public art performances in Kampala and Nairobi more than two years ago and I considered the helmet as my symbol for safety. That’s how my desire to develop helmet designs started.
My favorite creations: Recently I produced two paintings that to me portray our chaotic world. I love these pieces – after trying and trying to wrap up my brains around the current world’s refugee crisis, I couldn’t help but just express the need for safety for both the asylum seekers, the hosts and us all as a people of the world. It all boils down to safety, whether you are on the battle field or biking around the city or countryside, sitting on a motorcycle taxi or at a construction site, you need a helmet for protection.
Kyle: I am SO excited by this news, and super stoked to be chosen as one of the Nutcase Unframed winners.
My reaction is definitely surprise – I feel like there were so many qualified artists whose artwork would look amazing on a helmet.
Curiosity is what made me want to design a helmet. I’ve bought a couple Nutcase helmets over the years, so I figured “Why not?” and just submitted the first design I came up with.
Kyle: My favorite piece I’ve worked on is an untitled, mixed media piece. It is purely exploratory and not something I’d usually do, but for that unrestrained reason I thoroughly enjoyed working on it. About 6 months later someone bought it, and it’s now sitting in its new home somewhere in Dallas, Texas, I think.
Yan Yan: Being chosen as an Unframed artist is such exciting news! It will be absolutely surreal to get to collaborate with Nutcase Helmets.
Yan Yan: One of my favorite pieces of art is a mural I created for Melbourne Water and a John Holland construction site.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone because it was my first challenge creating on such large scale (approximately 15 meters by 1.7 meters) freehand, with spray paints. I honestly whispered “go for it” repetitively in my head during the design process! But nothing beats seeing your work in the finished form and having happy clients. My mural was inspired by my cycling experience and the local area where the community feels safe to cycle, catch a tram, walk their dog, enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy life in general.
Congratulations to all three 2016 Unframed artists, we look forward to working together. And thank you so much to everyone who has submitted work, it’s been a true blessing. Special thanks goes to our group of ten finalists.
Check out the first set of helmets our 2014 Unframed artists have already produced, some of these are still available for purchase.