RAD MASSAKER Alley Cat Race Poster…

RAD MASSAKER Alley Cat Race poster

I was hungering for a project where I could stretch a bit… So, when I was chatting with my friend Blake and he said he was doing promo materials for an Alley Cat bike race he was throwing in Oakland, I jumped in.

As we chatted and emailed back and forth, I realized he had different people working on different pieces of communication. From the Blog, to the spoke card to the t-shirts to the poster that I was volunteering to do. And each bit looked different than the other. It was obvious to me that everyone wanted to do his or her thing. No one wanted to follow anyone else’s lead on the look and feel. It seemed a bit off to me, but I wasn’t running the show. I was just a late-comer wanting to give my time in exchange for a creative opportunity.

The title of this race is “Rad Massaker”. Blake loves the word RAD. And I assumed it was a Massaker because it was a mass of riders, like a critical mass ride, where the streets are overtaken by surly hipsters on bikes. In this case, its to be surly hipsters on fixed gear bikes; the ultimate fashion accessory in the Bay Area. I’ve also come to find out that Rad Massaker isn’t a clever misspelling, its actually “Bike Massacre” in German. hmm.

Blake commenced emailing me inspirational photos of severed arms and legs, a chainsaw wielding bike pilot standing on his bars and seat… If this was the tone to be set, I liked it. Seemed odd to me that the ride was to benefit a charity that helped get kids on bikes, but oh well, I’m not the brand manager, or the CD for that matter.

I decided to run with the severed limb idea and figured I’d use my 14 yr old son as my model. I would be silk-screening the poster, but he would act as a guide for my illustration.

I dressed him in a pink t-shirt, skinny jeans, his yellow studded hipster belt and SB’s and  took him out in front of the house for our little photo shoot. I put down a drop cloth and told him to lay on the ground. If you’ve ever AD’ed a photo shoot with real models… its a bit different  when you use family members. Trust me. Each time I would adjust his shirt, or shoestrings, he’d adjust them back. Each time a car would pass by, he’d jump up and run into the garage, afraid of being seen lying on the ground by some stranger happening by. So, needless to say, it took a bit of prompting and reminding him that I am the Art Director. If I want his shirt hiked up, its gonna be hiked up.

After about a half hour of me on a ladder, my son lying on the ground as if he’d been killed, and the neighbors in their windows getting a show, I figured I had the necessary raw material. I spent the evening putting the illustration together and at 2 am was very happy with where it had ended up. I sent it to Blake in an email and went to bed.

I figured there would be something to change come morning, but didn’t expect to find that I had pushed it a little too far. The posters were going to be handed to bike shop guys and they would be expected to put them up in the window, or on the wall. The feeling from my client was “Its cool, but would bike shops want this in their window?” Not sure about that one. All I knew was my reference was dismembered body parts and the main copy point  was ” Rad Massaker”.


  1. dustindsmith says:

    Sounds like the image will be used for spoke cards (to be put in riders spokes to signify that they are signed up for the event) and also as a limited edition t-shirt for top finishers at the event. Just have to make a few revisions to the tire track going off the left side of the image…

  2. nice. love the graphic, it’s a really strong image.

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