Here’s a detailed look and a quick Q&A with Kosman on the new ring that Chad Kerley has acquired for winning The HUNT.
Shouts to Justin Kosman and everyone involved in the HUNT.
How did you settle on a ring and not a trophy?
We wanted to do something more than a trophy for Chad. He’s got a garage full of trophies from BMX racing back in the day and they are all stacked in the garage collecting dust. I think a lot of us do. Something small, something special, and something unique for the first ever winner of The Hunt BMX Project was the idea. He was going to get five grand regardless for winning so at least this is something that he can keep around once the cash is gone.
Who made the ring and how did you hook up with them?
Eddie from 50/50 has a friend that worked at Incus, a jewelry company based in Austin, TX of all places. They do high-end rings and I told them about the Bmx video project we had going on and they were really psyched on it and said they’d give it a shot. Eddie helped me with a lot of the process of getting started, so I’ve got to give him props for having my back.
What kind of creative collaboration went into the design?
They did some of their own research and decided that capturing the piece in steel was a good way to go. Since our bikes are made of steel and the best rails are made of steel I was on board with their choice. They had a specific type of steel called American Fighting Steel that they used before on a an Armed Forces project and thought that the gritty style was a good way to go. Honestly from there it was in their hands and the design you see was 90% first draft. Their designer Leo Gonzalez spent 3 days doing CAD on each side of the ring, so all-in-all it was about ten days of digital work to get the sizing and art all lined up.
Were there a lot of edits on the design?
When I first saw a sample of what they had going on I was pretty blown away. They had taken the main Hunt silhouette image and rendered it on the top of the ring that almost looks 3D. As a photographer, I am always amazed at how other people interpret still images and this was one of those times. We made a couple changes on fonts and towards the end of the process I thought we could add in a video camera since this was a video contest. I found a photo of a VX1000 fully fished and knew that was the right shot for the ring. Even though most of this vid was filmed HD, for some reason having a HVX200 with the whale eye lens just wouldn’t look right. The VX1000 is a classic camera that we’ve all used and I think it fits with the history of BMX cinematography pretty well. One of the artists at Incus saw that Vans was a sponsor and took a photo of her waffle pattern and incorporated it into the background of the camera side of the ring. It looked dope in the sample so we went with it.
The other side of the ring is a collage of the sponsor’s logos, and they all were a big part of bringing this project to life. Trust is a big part of any relationship and they are all companies I have worked with before and trusted that this was the right project for them. In turn the riders put a lot of trust in the project and it’s an honor to be able to release their amazing riding through The Hunt project.
How was the actual ring made?
The final CAD design was then translated into a piece of tooling and then into a rough piece of wax . Human hands and super precise tools take the final steps to make this piece of wax perfect before it hits the cast. Looking at this ring you’d think that it was pumped out of a CNC machine, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They put that piece of wax in a ceramic shell that hardens around the ring, and then is melted it out to leave a negative space in the shell. From there the molten steel is poured into the cast and fills the empty space with the hot liquid metal. This whole process it called lost wax casting and randomly enough I spent a couple semesters doing this exact type of metal work in an art program back in Chicago. This process is over thousands of years old and dates back to BC times. Around the time that Dennis McCoy started doing 540s. Just kidding D.
I think the people at Incus told me that something like 74 pairs of hands have a part in the process. Looking at the ring now there is no doubt that a lot of work and energy went into this unique piece of work. And if you believe that Chad filmed his 7-minute winning video part in 12-days; this ring took longer to make.
Anything else you would like to add before we wrap this up?
The idea behind The Hunt is to create a place where some very good video parts could call home and we could, in turn, give them the recognition they deserve as part of a DVD and host premieres all over the world. They were all riders who were going to be filming within the year anyway, and were could give them a reason to take it to the next level, and damn, the all went in. Media is changing and driving our own ship seems like a better idea than being a passenger in someone else’s boat. I’m really psyched on our first crew.