For all you runners who are also bicycle enthusiasts, you may have heard of or even be fanatical devotees of the annual Tour de France—cyclists’ 23-day version of an ultra-ultramarathon. And surely you’ve heard of deposed seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.
In all likelihood, though, you’ve never heard about the Tour de Lead Graffiti. That is, until now.
Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 5 poster by CRR Mark Deshon, Ray Nichols, and Jill Cypher
CRR Mark Deshon gained some measure of national notoriety, as the letterpress poster that he had collaboratively designed and printed back in July of 2013 was published in the Dec. 16th, 2013, edition of Sports Illustrated, along with a small article on Lead Graffiti’s “Tour de Lead Graffiti” written by SI writer Alexander Wolff.
Wolff writes, “Each morning during the Tour de France, members of the [Newark, Del.] Lead Graffiti printmaking collective gathered to watch that day’s stage. They took note of every salient breakaway, pratfall and Phil Ligett bon mot, then spent the rest of the day producing a broadside that captured the action. The results—visible at leadgraffiti.com—are like the peloton, a riot of shapes and colors. The designers call what they do ‘endurance letterpress,’ for they repeat the routine 23 days in a row and, like the Tour itself, scrupulously post total elapsed time.”
Deshon was completely surprised. His reaction to leafing through the magazine he had just picked out of his mailbox and seeing his poster on page 25 was, “My poster. In a national magazine! How could this have happened?” Roughly translated into the native language of the Tour—“Sacré bleu!”
See the production story of the poster and Deshon’s own recollections.