For our 2019 Climate Ride jersey, we decided to try something new for Climate Ride and go with an original design by artist Suzanne Baxter. Baxter is a lifelong artist who has also worked in advertising. Her geometric shapes felt like a natural fit to us, and when we added them to a jersey, we saw the astonishing geometry of mountains and landscapes–the intricate and delicate patterns that awe us during our bike rides, hikes, runs and ski trips. Since this jersey is a bold change in terms of design for us, we thought we’d share an interview with the artist who helped make it happen.
Climate Ride (CR): Is there a connection between these geometric forms and nature for you?
Suzanne Baxter: (SB) These geometric shapes are what naturally occurs when I put paint to paper. I have no agenda when I begin a piece, I go where my senses take me. So far, it’s a been a good ride!
CR: What’s that ride look like in terms of process?
SB: I’ve heard my process described as “open brain.” I walk up to a canvas and see what happens. For the bigger pieces (large murals), music plays a big part in the energy and movement of the art. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m doing more detailed work. I love getting lost in the process.
CR: How’d you come to pursue art?
SB: High school history class, long conference calls, and meetings. I’ve always doodled to help myself focus in less stimulating situations (history was not my best class!), these doodles have grown into my art.
CR: What keeps you making art?
SB: I can’t say what keeps me doing it except that I can’t stop drawing. There’s something about the feeling of a pen to paper, paint to a wall – it’s addictive.
CR: How’s it feel to have your work on a Climate Ride jersey?
SB: I love it! I enjoy cycling, have always been a fan of Climate Ride and couldn’t be happier to support it. Thank you!
CR: Thank you! Speaking of Climate Ride, do you feel like there’s a connection between art and activism?
SB: Absolutely! I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost 20 years – needless-to-say I’ve become a strong protestor and great sign maker.
CR: How about a connection between nature and art?
SB: Nature IS art – have you ever looked at the spores on the back of a fern leaf? Breathtaking.
CR: We’ll have to remember that next time we bike through the Pacific Northwest – stop and look at the spores! Been on any good rides or hikes lately?
SB: At 5:45 am every Tuesday morning my husband and I ride with friends to the top of Twin Peaks and down to the neighborhood bakery for toast and coffee. It’s the best way to start a Tuesday.
CR: Speaking of San Francisco, how do you see climate change impacting where you live?
SB: California has suffered extreme drought and punishing wildfires these past few years, yet I’ve never loved this area more. Despite federal resistance, it’s comforting to know I share similar concerns and priorities with my neighbors and we’re all here to embrace the planet, not hurt it.
CR: Kind of sounds like being on a Climate Ride. No wonder we have so many riders from the Bay area. Last question: which Climate Ride event do you want to go on?
SB: Zion! I came very close to signing up last year – couldn’t think of a better way to see that part of the country.
You can catch yourself a Climate Ride jersey this year by registering for one of our many incredible rides (sorry, no Zion trip this year, Suzanne!). Or you can wait and hope we have an overstock of one your in your size in 2020 in our store. We have a few cycling jerseys left from previous years available in the store there as well!
Check out all of Suzanne’s incredible art here. Or find her at @suzbaxart on Instagram.