Inspiring Art on Helmets

With 83 different Unframed submissions from 18 countries, it takes a lot for a particular artist and helmet design to catch our eyes at this stage in the process, but as we have been monitoring the votes online, one submission kept resurfacing. 

Bridget Allen and her submission (number #7) were getting a lot of attention in the comments on our original blog post about the submissions for our 4th Annual Call for Artists.  Many helmets get multiple votes, but what struck us was the enthusiasm for this artist from Christchurch, New Zealand.  Her voters were voting for her.  Her community was stepping up for her.  So we had to know more… 

We were inspired when we heard her story, and have decided to share it with you.

In 2011 the 360,000 plus people of Christchurch endured an earthquake that devastated the city.  As Bridget explained it to us, this is a really exciting time as the city gets rebuilt.  To her, bikes are a big part of the city’s rebirth.  “They’re helping us get through hard times,” she says.

Bikes are nothing new to Bridget.  Outside of city biking with her four daughters, she has enjoyed many forms of bicycling from BMX to road, touring to downhill.  She’s even been a bike courier. 

Bridget biking in the Port Hills near Christchurch.

After the earthquake, Bridget decided to reach out to bicycle helmet companies to see if they would collaborate with her on the creation of a bike helmet.  Her goal was to get art on a helmet.  Though she firmly believes art should not just be confined to art galleries, she was further inspired to share the beauty she found in her garden with a the people around her who no longer even had access to art galleries as most of them had been leveled or shut for major repair by the earthquake.  Determined to find a company to work with, despite not hearing back from any takers, she continued to search “art on helmets” online and one day, much to her delight, she came across the Unframed campaign. 

“Art is my main way of communication.  I have dyslexia and have always struggled with words, but have found success and harmony in visual arts,” says Bridget.  Her current art form of choice is wood block printing.  Her subject matter is the beauty of Christchurch – specifically, her garden.

The artist cutting a wood block.

Bridget at work in the Toi To Karoro studio.

One of the wood block prints.

The piece she submitted was of a Helianthemum, locally referred to as Sunrose, which grows in her yard.  When we spoke to her, she had one in a vase on her desk.

Sunrose cutting from Bridget’s garden.

It is easy to see how this positive, creative, bicycle-loving woman has moved her community to support her and love her art.