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Art on a helmet: Nutcase goes “Unframed”

Posted by on September 23rd, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Unframed contest winners from 2015 and 2016.

Unframed contest winners from 2015 and 2016.

Cool designs are at the heart of the success of Portland-based helmet company Nutcase. And what better way to exemplify that than to seek out the best helmet artists in the world and put their designs onto new products?

Artist and 2016 winner

Artist and 2016 winner Yan Yan Ng at work.
(Photo: Nutcase)

That’s the idea behind the company’s Unframed Artist Series. The project launched in 2014 and it has doubled in size each of the last three years. Last year 200 artists submitted designs and the three winners came from Melbourne (by way of Hong Kong), Uganda, and Philadelphia.

The winners get $500 a piece and get to see their designs on production Nutcase helmet models. They also get an all expenses paid trip to the Interbike and Eurobike trade shows where they create a mural live. The mural is then auctioned off and the proceeds go to World Bicycle Relief.

This is how Portland-based bike companies operate!

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The fourth annual Unframed call for entries went out earlier this month and the deadline for submissions is October 1st… So get busy! You can find the helmet design template and entry form here.

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— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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12 Comments
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    Spiffy September 23, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    those are cool designs… although looking at the site it’s odd that the plain colors are the same price as the custom artistic ones… you’d think they could vary by $5 each way depending on the design…

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    Buzz September 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

    ‘Helmet artists’? Is that really a thing?

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    Kyle Banerjee September 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    It is. You can pay thousands for a helmet paint job though most of this stuff is aimed at the motorsport market.

    One thing I don’t understand is why urban riders favor helmets with practically no venting and that look better suited for snowsports. I’d probably quit using helmets except under limited circumstances if the only option was to wear a buckets like the ones that dominate in PDX.

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    Maddy September 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I like the bucket helmets in the rain.

    I’m surprised to see anything advocating helmet use on this site. It seems that Portland cyclists have recently (oddly) decided helmet safety is a myth. My ER nurse buddies disagree. Nutcase makes a great helmet for winter.

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      Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 5:42 am

      The cyclists you’re thinking of have especially thick skulls so they may fare better in a crash than the average person.

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      johnr September 26, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Then you don’t follow science.

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    Clark in Vancouver September 25, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    I wish somebody made a bike helmet that was designed for rain. Something that would keep the rain off your eyes and shoulders. I’ve seen hardhats for rain so it’s possible. All I’ve seen have been nylon covers to go over your regular helmet.
    Has anyone heard of something?

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      Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 5:36 am

      No helmet will keep rain off the eyes or shoulders of a cyclist in motion. However, regular eye protection and a breathable waterproof jacket will do those things.

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    Mike Quigley September 26, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I never wear a helmet. Haven’t for 60-odd years. In summer, too hot and no sun protection. In winter, too cold and no rain protection. I prefer a wide brim hat (Tilley) year around, plus always be aware of your surroundings. You take your chances.

    Besides, some neurosurgeon (can’t remember who) did a study that concluded that helmets provide little protection.

    Also, when raining, going without glasses and goggles, even it you normally wear them, gives you the best vision. No fogging and blurring. That wide brim hat helps too!

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      Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

      It’s all a matter of where, what, and how you ride. To be certain, the best way to avoid injury is to not crash in first place, but the idea that they’re not a good idea for at least a lot of riders is nonsense even if some people exaggerate their effectiveness.

      In addition to an unnamed neurosurgeon with unknown methodology, it might not be a bad idea to check out some of the other studies. As for a helmet providing no sun protection, not sure how you come up with that. And BTW, a helmet can be cooler than a bare head, though that requires a vented helmet that is properly defined.

      Lots of ways to avoid fogging on glasses, hydrophobic lenses help a lot with blurring, but if you stick with lower speeds on roads where the vehicles don’t go very fast, you won’t have to worry about debris getting tossed in your eyes.

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      WylyQuimby September 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      My father insisted that there had to be good things about smoking. He even could find some scientists that agreed with him. Cigarettes killed him, but not all at once to be sure. First he lost his teeth. He pulled the last out by himself. Strokes left him partially paralyzed. His mind a shadow of its former brilliance. He lived a long time, but in the end lung cancer took him. Technically, he died of starvation, unable to swallow more than a few drops at a time.

      People will justify any behavior in the face of mountains of facts. They’ll even vote for an ignorant megalomaniac because the other choice isn’t perfect.

      A traumatic brain injury can be due to a wet leaf on a new sheet of tarmac. Wear a helmet.

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