Click below to read some words from Tunney, along with some (low res) Chris Hallman helmed FBM ads.
When I was a teenager and first started going to Pennsylvania AFA comps in the late 80s, I randomly met a very reserved fellow BMXer from Eastern Pa. that rode a Redline and could do it all, from ramps to flatland. He didn’t talk much but his skills were top notch. I vaguely recall watching him ride a quarterpipe and then flatland just as good, wondering how anyone could progress at both.
That rider’s name was Chris Hallman. Following the AFA days, the mid 90s created a resurgence of rider-owned brands, competitions and media, and Chris fell in with the Standard and Props crew. Before I go any further, it should be noted that Hallman’s skills on a bike, across any terrain, were really well rounded, smooth and progressive. He could do it all, but again, he wasn’t aspiring to be R.L. Osborn. Although Chris rode for Standard and really came into his own on his bike, he sought refuge behind a camera lens, creating photos for Props Video Magazine cover and the short-lived Tread Magazine. His photography and early design work was really subversive, reminiscent of late 80s Wizard Publications but with his own slant. Later on, Chris lived and worked at Woodward Camp, but nothing would prepare him for what came next.
Sometime in the early 00s, Chris Hallman went to work for FBM as a photographer/designer/builder of bowls from pallets. At their first office in Ithaca, Chris moved some frame boxes for a photo shoot onto a heater, and inadvertently burned down the building. Rather than bury his head in the sand, Chris stayed with FBM and went on to create some of the greatest ads/themes for FBM’s eclectic crew of riders at the time. FBM already had its own ethos, but Chris gave it an image that translated into ridiculous but entertaining ads for the years that FBM made print ads.
Earlier this year, FBM BMX closed up the machine shop in Ithaca, N.Y. and hasn’t produced any new hard goods. Although it’s an end of sorts for the magical mayhem they created in upstate New York, it also allowed collective BMX fans a chance to look back at the varied influences FBM had over us throughout the years. The Hallman FBM years were some of my favorites, and although Chris doesn’t seem to reply to interview requests, this small tribute (culled from his Facebook) should serve as a thanks to Chris Hallman for leaving his mark on FBM and BMX as a whole.
“What does it all mean? I like these old FBM ads. I lost the originals, Hard drive shit the bed. all I have are these low resolution copies. Ads are silly. We’re all silly. We all go around believing things and getting mad about other people believing different things. Soon we will all be memories on someone’s shitty old hard drive. But… it’s sunny out right now. I just farted and it has a pleasantly pungent aroma. I’m going to go dig, reshape the earth the suit my desires in anticipation of enjoying some of the moments which might still lie ahead. If the Rona doesn’t get me.”
“The low keyest dude to do it. Hanging out with Phil was always a pleasure. I’m sure it still is. I’d vote Phil for president. I recall from philosophy class, whilst discussing Plato, that he had this idea that anyone who wanted to lead people was not to be trusted, that good leaders should be compelled to lead. Basically anyone who wants to be in charge of everything is probably a bag of shit. I bet the world would be a better place if Phil was in the driver’s seat. You should see him ride a bike. To coffee, bikes, friends, watching it all go by…”
“Another great human. Crandall put together a good group of apes. The tribe of FBM. Outsiders?”
GIRARD ROAD TRIP
“It’s the end of times… Make sure you have the essentials. Funny toilet paper wasn’t on this checklist.”