Sobriety be damned. Tonight, I am drinking a bottle of Sangiovese to one of the reasons Cycle EXIF exists: the memory of Dario Pegoretti, a man who brought together Art and the craft of the custom framebuilder.
Last Thursday night, Dario passed from the physical world unto the next as a result of heart failure, having previously recovered from lymphoma in 2007. After his diagnosis and recuperation, he continued to live as he always had — with gusto.
Many frame builders proselytize that their work is not an art and they would be correct in their statement. All work is just that — work — until you do it long enough that you can do it without thinking and it turns into a creative process.
Dario learned how to build from the master Italian framebuilder Luigino Milani, and went on to pioneer the TIG welding process for bicycle frames. Many professionals rode his creations, such as Indurain, Cipollini, Chiapucci, Roche, and Pantani.
Robin Williams was also a fan, a man who perhaps recognized the connection Dario made between work and art. For Dario would not only weld the frames, he painted them as well.
Plenty of builders paint their own frames — traditionally, it came as part of the service — but Dario didn’t stop at a base coat, his now-famous ‘ciavate‘ artwork was an optional extra that his most admiring customers could select.
Dario was a great fan of music: before the torch was ignited, the stereo would be the first thing turned on in the workshop, even after the lights. He was a massive fan of jazz, but also of architecture, woodwork, and wine.
He was also a teacher. The frames above were part of the program he participated in with Prof. Hans-Georg Pospischil’s class at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, where he worked with students to apply their own designs to his frames.
In doing so, he was passing on the torch of Italian inspiration: the marriage of function and form. He lived that Mediterranean exuberance, drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, painting, and making, in a great flourish of life.
Dario’s life merged work and art, and it was for this reason he was so endeared. The engineering aspect of frame building ceased to be a factor. He could measure a customer up in a moment, but he was already thinking of how he would decorate the frame.
We’ve featured many of his bikes here on Cycle EXIF over the years, and even managed to procure an interview with him, which was like an email conversation with a god. Through his work, Dario inspired us to truly live.
The post The Frame Builder Is Art: Dario Pegoretti 1956-2018 appeared first on Cycle EXIF.