Having admired his wonderfully low-res, tongue-in-check cycling images for some time now, The Jersey Pocket recently caught up with GreyPea – the man behind the awesome Poly Peloton.
TJP: What was the idea behind the Poly Peloton?
PP: I started creating a few fun images just for my own amusement, but in June 2013 with the Tour de France about to start, I decided to combine both my love for cycling and for 3D art to create silly images of events from Le Tour.
Some sports – and particularly cycling – can sometimes be lacking in humour, and I thought this would be a good way to try to show a lighter side of the sport. It was always pleasing to discover that many of the pro-teams and riders (FDJ, BMC, Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise and Matrix Pro Cycling to name a few) engage with Poly Peloton, regularly sharing my work through their social networks.
TJP: How did it get started?
PP: I am very old-school with my appreciation of games and art styles. I adore pixel art due to the artistic skills and patience involved in the creation process. And I still enjoy the low polygon look as an art style.
Even though I have the freedom to create whatever I want however I want, I still give myself technical constraints. For example the textures for the riders are very low resolution by today’s standards. I used these self-imposed constraints to drive the art style. It forced me to be creative with very few polygons, and I could also create pixel art textures for the riders.
TJP: How many images have you created to date?
PP: In total I have created approximately 200 images. Some of these are ‘Behind the Scenes’, but the majority are events that have happened through the procycling season. I don’t always get humour in there, and even when I do I’m not entirely sure everyone understands..
TJP: What is your background?
PP: I have been a 3D modeller for nearly 20 years now and I’ve seen huge changes in processing power and software available to the artist. In my career I am responsible for the creation of realistic looking high-polygon models, and for that reason alone the last thing I want to do in my spare time is do more of the same. The low polygon art style is a refreshing break, and it also has the advantage of allowing me to create and render the images in a shorter timescale. Something that is essential if I want to post them frequently online.
My cycling ‘career’ ties in with my day job. The job of an artist is a very sedentary one, and I reached that point in my life (10 years ago) when I realised I was very unfit. I decided to rediscover the bike and haven’t looked back since. I now cycle at least 5000 miles per year both solo and with a very good bunch of cycling mates. We are very spoilt where we are based in the UK and have endless choices of scenic, mainly traffic-free, quiet country lanes.
TJP: What are the plans for the Poly Peloton?
PP: I didn’t ever set out to make a commercial venture out of Poly Peloton. I have created a few custom images for folk and a few prints for sale, but ultimately the blog was created for fun. A few people have approached me and asked why I don’t place ads on the site. I like the fact that the site is clean, uncluttered and ad-free. And it will remain that way.
TJP: One of my favourite PP images is the FroomeWasp at the Mont-St-Michel ITT. Which one stands out for you?
PP: As a standalone image, I like the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart image (Yorkshire with the yellow sheep). I think it captures the playful character of Poly Peloton in a single image.
The 2014 Tour de France was a very special one for anyone based in the UK, but particularly for me thanks to the wonderful team at FDJ. They love Poly Peloton and as a ‘thank you’ they invited me along to Stage 2 as a VIP guest. I really got to experience the race from the inside, complete with a helicopter ride. A once in a lifetime experience for me and all because of my silly little art blog.
TJP: Any plans to recreate more famous cycling scenes from history? I would love to see a Poly Peloton version of Poulidor and Anquetil going head to head on the Puy-de-Dôme
PP: I have already created a few memorable scenes and intend to create more in the future. They are a good way of keeping regular updates on the blog even through the off-season. Check out the ‘Memories Of’ section on the blog.