dandyARCHIVE: Luis Jacob, artist profile

Photo by Cindy Blazevic

Interview by Scott Anderson

This profile first appeared in our Summer/Fall 2010 issue – aka the “pantless” issue. You can order that issue here.

Making a pass

Profile: Luis Jacob, artist 

What role does the bike play in your life?

It’s my surrogate legs. If I have a flat, I really feel impaired.

What are you working on right now?

An art installation for the new Dufferin underpass. If you go along the tunnel there will be 34 large square panels that alternate between an empty monochromatic surface and a wild colourful patterned surface. It’s a huge project.

[NB: Luis Jacob recently unveiled his Dufferin underpass installation this Friday past on May 18. Link below.]

What’s your favourite bike-related artwork?

I really like those artist-designed bike posts on Queen Street in Parkdale, especially the one in the pattern of a tree or an abstract flower.

Has cycling ever inspired your own art?

My piece Flashlight uses bicycle pedals to generate electricity.

You’re a DJ. Do you ever listen to music while you ride?

Yes. It’s nice to watch the city go by while listening to electronic music. But I know it’s not very safe.

What’s it like cycling where you live?

I live on Roncesvalles. It’s a mess right now. I take Sorauren. It’s much more pleasant.

What kind of new bike infrastructure would you like to see?

Toronto needs dedicated bike lanes. I know every cyclist says that but I think non-cyclists should hear that—especially decision makers. Dedicated bike lanes reduce the number of accidents and help foster mutual respect between cyclists and motorists. Montreal has them, lots of cities in E urope have them and I don’t see why it can’t happen here.

Where would you put the first dedicated bike lane?

They should start where there already is a partial bike lane: on College and Carlton. That would be a good east-west route. A tic-tac-toe pattern in the downtown area would be good, maybe three lanes running north-south and two going east-west.

Do you think speed limits should be lower in Toronto?

To me, speed in the downtown isn’t the problem. Parking in bike lanes is a problem, people not looking when they open their car door is a huge problem.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you on a bike?

Can I tell you the most interesting bike story I know of instead? During the city-wide blackout several years ago, a friend of mine decided to ride her bike naked from Parkdale to Church and Wellesley. S he said, “It’s dark, it’s hot, and when else am I going to be able to bike through the city naked?” So she did. I thought that was really great.

Do you have a favourite cycling accessory?

I have a Fastwurms Witchcraft sticker on my basket. It’s like the Canadian flag except it’s green instead of red and has a pentagram instead of a maple leaf. I hope it wards off bike thieves.

Have you ever cruised, or been cruised by, anyone on a bike?

I’m always checking out boys on my bike. Always.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Spotted: Luis Jacob’s recently unveiled Dufferin underpass installation “Spirits of the Grotto”, which is weirdly like 34 sets of eyes on the street.

This interview first appeared in our “pantless” issue from the Summer of 2010 ~ aka our “hot babe” issue. You can order that issue here.

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