Meet Lisa Congdon! Lisa designed a one-of-a-kind Schwinn Coston DX for our Pride Artist Series. She loves bikes, art, and being part of the LGBTQ+ family. She’s a fine artist and illustrator with clients around the world, an author, a podcast host, and a professor of Creative Entrepreneurship. Recognized not just for her artwork, Lisa is a leader in the industry for her work in fundraising, mentoring, and teaching.
We met up with Lisa to learn more about her, her art, and what Pride Month means to her.
Do you remember your first bike?
I don’t remember my first bike, but I do know there is a photo of me on it somewhere, which I now want to dig up! I also know that I wanted a “banana” seat that was popular in the 1970’s and my parents said they weren’t safe, so I didn’t get one.
What’s your favorite thing about riding a bike?
The freedom I feel when I am going fast. And how many endorphins are pumping through my body afterwards.
What’s your favorite place to bike to?
I love riding outside Bend, Oregon in the Cascade and Deschutes Mountain ranges. The area is steep, and technical and stunningly beautiful. When I ride out there, I feel so small, and yet so powerful.
What motivates you to create your art?
For me, making art feels as necessary as breathing. So, part of my motivation is simply that it makes me feel alive in the best possible way. My work is also very aligned with my values, and so it also gives me a sense of purpose. We live in a world that often feels very broken, and to have a gift to express how I feel about that – whether it is expressing anger or hope or both – makes me feel very lucky. I do not take my gifts or my platform for granted. I am grateful that I have them.
What’s the craziest canvas you’ve ever created art on?
Well, honestly, there are two. One was a pair of running shoes I made for Brooks that come out in October. And the other is this bicycle I designed for Schwinn. Making work on a three-dimensional surface with all kinds of components really uses a different part of your brain.
What does your work aim to say?
Keep going. You are loved. There is beauty in the terrible. Protect the vulnerable. You have choices. Taking responsibility for your choices creates agency. Joy is not binary. Know and live your values. It’s not too late.
How do you celebrate Pride and what does it mean to you?
I have been celebrating Pride since I was 23 years old, which was 31 years ago! I typically celebrate Pride with my queer friends, sharing space together, being in communion, eating, drinking, celebrating our existence. It’s an exceptionally important event for my community, a chance to be with each other, to feel affirmed, to be completely ourselves without shame or any kind of filter.
What was your first thought/reaction when Schwinn first reached out?
Well, I am over the moon when anything bike-related comes to my inbox. I’m also a really huge advocate for the mission to get all bodies – all sizes, all races and ethnicities, all sexual orientations, all genders -- on bikes, and I know this is a mission for Schwinn as well. I live in a really bike-friendly city, Portland, Oregon, and I also live on a bike boulevard, and so I watch bikes pass by my front window by the hundreds every day. Nothing makes me happier.
What was your favorite part of this project?
Designing the bike! It was hard, but I love a challenge.
How was it designing a bike?
Designing a bike was such a great challenge! I wanted the bike to reflect a sense of freedom in the outdoors – so you’ll notice lots of organic shapes and symbols on the bike like waves, and mountains and clouds and rain. It also reflects this idea of seeing and adventure and exploration. Bikes give us the opportunity to see so much in such a short period of time. I don’t use any traditional Pride imagery on the bike, like a Pride Flag. Instead, I really tried to integrate the rainbow imagery as part of the outdoor adventure experience. I can’t wait to design my next bike!
The Coston DX Step-Thru designed by Lisa is up for auction, with proceeds benefiting The Venture Out Project, a nonprofit organization that is focused on creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to experience nature. Learn more about the bike, the auction, and more on our Pride Artist Series page.
Podcast: The Lisa Congdon Sessions
Co-Founder Organization: The Long Table Foundation