Artistic duo chosen to create Zoobomb Pyle

Vanessa Renwick
Photo © Montana Maurice

As part of the process to transform their iconic “Pyle” of mini-bikes into official public art, the Zoobombers have chosen two artists to help turn their visions into a reality.

According to regular Zoobomber Carl Larson — who (along with a group of others) is working with the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) on the project — they have chosen the dynamic duo of Brian Borrello and Vanessa Renwick.

Brian Borrello
Photo © Jonathan Maus

The selection was made based on a consideration of past works and interviews with a panel of Zoobombers and a RACC advisory group.

Larson said the Zoobombers appreciated Renwick and Borrello’s energy and sense of collaboration. “In their interview,” he said, “when we asked about the budget [which is relatively small] their response was, ‘We’re not in it for the money. We’re in it for the glory!'”

He added that, “it was heartening to see that they didn’t present us with any designs of their own. Rather, they wanted to see what we’ve already come up with and then help realize our ideas.”

For their part, the artists both say they’re very enthused to have received this commission.

Speaking from his home in North Portland, Brian Borrello said, “I’ve done many public art projects, but this one is cut from a different cloth. It’s got a whole different, how can I say it, constituency. Usually with public art, it’s just out there, in the weather, and passersby come and go…but with this, you’ve got an entire community connected to it.”

“DIY, people power, pedal power, free fun, wildness, non-hierarchical community…if we can manifest that, it will be something people take notice of.”
–Brian Borrello

Right now, Borrello says he and Renwick are in “intelligence gathering” mode. They’ve been “up on the hill”, have met with Zoobombers at a pub near the site to exchange ideas, and they’ve made plans for potlucks and workshops.

As for design ideas, Borrello’s still just listening to Zoobombers, but he said, “We feel like it could be an antennae, a beacon that could broadcast the Zoobomb ethic of DIY, people power, pedal power, free fun, wildness, non-hierarchical community…if we can manifest that, it will be something people take notice of.”

Vanessa Renwick is an installation artist and she hopes to bring a web or video component to the project. “We’ve talked about maybe having me put something up in the window of American Apparel [which is directly adjacent to the Pyle site], maybe a surveillance camera on the Pyle that would go to a web feed…there are lots of crazy ideas being thrown around.”

Renwick also hopes the project helps her get over her fear of riding downhill. “I haven’t Zoobombed yet. I lost my memory for two and a half years from a skull fracture after a bicycle accident, so I’m a chicken. One of the best parts of this project might be me getting over that fear.”

On that note, Zoobomber Larson says one component of the design will be a secure place to store gear like helmets, tools, and a fully-stocked first aid kit.

There’s really no telling what the new Zoobomb Pyle might look like. But, Larson says, “One thing is clear, the design process is going to be a fun and wild ride.”

The new Pyle will be placed on the southeaster corner of Burnside and Stark in downtown Portland. Timelines for completion are tentative, but the artists hope to unveil the work this summer, possibly during PedalPalooza in June.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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gabriel amadeus
16 years ago

w00t! Can\’t wait to see what they come up with. And can\’t wait to have a christening ceremony parade from the old location to the new!

16 years ago

ive said it before and Ill say it again: catacombs

16 years ago

also – to the dozen or so artists who applied: yalls made it hard on our judges; thanks for raising the bar.

Todd B
Todd B
16 years ago

We cannot wait to see it full of bikes!

Good luck to all and have fun!

Thanks for the kind words Rev. Phil.