By Robbie Broughton
Packed full of wit and cycling references and printed onto premium paper with pin sharp imagery, Hommage Au Velo’s Last Supper is a fantastic take on Leonardo Da Vinci’s classic that is an absolute must for any cycling fanatic’s walls. We spoke to its creator and brains behind the art work, David Law, about his inspiration, cycling background and thoughts on cycling’s greats.
But where to begin with The Last Supper?
Firstly this is a digital painting, created by Hommage Au Velo’s art studio under the direction of its founder David Law. He has a team of traditional and digital artists working for him who help him create cycling-themed art laced with humour and a deep respect and knowledge of cycling’s great heritage.
From oil paintings of famous bikes like Pantani’s Bianchi and Boardman’s Lotus to portraits in the style of A Girl with A Pearl Earring of the likes of Jan Ullrich, not to mention a crucifixion scene of Lance Armstrong, Law certainly pushes the boundaries when it comes to creating original pieces of artwork on a cycling theme.
It must have been hard to choose 13 greats to depict in his take of The Last Supper, and I’m sure this choice will become a constant source of debate over who’s been left out. But we think he’s done a good job in picking some of the most influential riders from the 1990s to the present day.
While Alberto Contador and Chris Froome tussle it out over an arm wrestle, Bradley Wiggins has been positioned at the other end of the table with the classics men of Boonen, Museeuw and Cancellara, “the kind of company he would much rather keep,” says Law.
Cavendish sits next to Cipollini who’s thumbing through a copy of Playboy, while Armstrong, Ullrich and Pantani clink bottles of Belgian beers. Nibali sits at the end of the table reading a copy of La Gazzetta Dello Sport. At the centre of the piece, with his trademark Jesus hairstyle, Peter Sagan raises a toast.
The wall is festooned with famous jerseys and bikes hanging from the wall behind the disciples and a view out of the window reveals the peak of Mont Ventoux.
It’s the kind of image that will have cycling fanatics poring over the detail and showing off their cycling knowledge to their mates. It’s also a fantastic image to admire and decorate your walls. We think it’s going to become a bit of a classic.
David Law is well-placed to direct his team of artists as a self-confessed cycling history nut. He also has a bit of history as a bike racer himself having been sponsored by the Dave Rayner fund to ride in France for VC Pontivy in 2001 before joining VS Quimper in Brittany between 2002 and 2004 (David Millar and Charly Wegelius were former beneficiaries of the fund). He has fond memories of his time racing there:
“The club president of VC Pontivy was Ange Russel, father of the Festina DS Bruno Roussel, who rather shopped the blame for everyone else. (The Festina Affair in 1989 uncovered a network of doping in professional cycling.) Ange was actually a really nice guy, he drove me to races in a clapped out old Renault the club had, but he passed away last year I hear. At VS Quimper we had a great directeur called Philippe Massé. His advice, no matter what the race, terrain or distance, was quite memorable: ‘Tu te glisses dans l'échappé, tu roule pas trop.’ (‘Get in the break, then soft tap’) - much easier said than done.”
Law’s greatest success came at Telgruc-sur-Mer during a series called the Ronde Finisterre when he snuck away from former Junior World’s Champion Arnaud Gerrard on the final climb. He describes himself as very much a ‘rouleur-grimpeur’ - “Only one of my wins came from a sprint from a breakaway group…I was never blessed with a sprint!” His five other National Category victories were all solo efforts.
Unfortunately for Law, the tough realities of racing on the continent at that time proved too hard and he returned to England where he decided to take up a place at university. After that he worked in the City before a stint at Café du Cycliste and more recently at Le Col. His own company, Hommage Au Velo makes its own brand of cycling clothing as well as art prints.
These days, Law still gets out on his bike – based in Woking he can be found spinning along the Surrey hills and leafy lanes. “I own two Canyons, mainly because I don't have the money for Colnagos. If it's good enough for Valverde, and all that... whilst I was racing the thought of folding in half a really expensive bike was too much for the amateur clubs, so we rode aluminium Giants or Lapierre's with Shimano Ultegra and 32 spoke wheels. I rode much faster then than I do on my Canyon now, it goes without saying!”
His time racing in France has definitely influenced the type of riders that he admires today: “Christophe Bassons, Thibault Pinot, Sylvain Chavanel, Marc Madiot - all French, all total purists and none of them interested in celeb lifestyles. A lot of emotion in the way that they ride and conduct(ed) their careers as well.”
We look forward to seeing what else David Law has up his sleeve in the cycling art market. In the meantime you can order your own copy of The Last Supper from the Ride Velo shop. Prices for this particular print include packing and postage either framed or unframed.