Alexis Pike is a sixth generation Idahoan calling on the geography of her genes for inspiration with projects focusing on the American West. Pike received her BFA from Boise State University and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She has exhibited at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Missoula Art Museum, Photoville, Guate Photo Festival, Aperture Foundation, and has been a Top 50 finalist for Critical Mass. Her work has been featured in Harper’s magazine, Surface, Travel and Leisure, LensCulture, Wired.com, and has a monograph published by Blue Sky Books. Currently, she lives in Bozeman, Montana with her four children, two dogs, a cat, and a house rabbit. The family enjoys dance parties in their kitchen and colorful conversations at the dinner table. To subsidize the cost of vinyl, food for her family, and her photographic adventures, Alexis is an Associate Professor of Photography at Montana State University. As a professor and an artist, she is fortunate she has the opportunity to share her knowledge and experience with others.
Evel’s Chest Hair. Las Vegas, Nevada
Color Me “Lucky” Helmet with Wild Turkey. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Computer Simulation of Knievel’s Injuries. Evel Knievel Museum, Topeka, Kansas
Color Me Lucky
When I was six, I planned to be just like Evel Knievel. Naively, I couldn’t understand the consequences of my choice. Imagining myself in his striking leathers, I raced my bike down a hill like a kamikaze on a mission for the sake of a stunt. At the bottom of the hill, with too much speed, I crashed, tumbled hard across the gravel, laid there unconscious—my prize was spending four days in the hospital with a fractured skull. Injury aside, I gained bragging rights.
In the 1970’s, Evel Knievel was the ultimate daredevil—steadfast, virile, courageous, and determined. Knievel’s illustrated legend captivated an audience. Clad in red, white and blue, he embodied the fantasy of soaring over obstacles—even if the landing wasn’t pretty. Color Me Lucky is inspired by Evel Knievel’s swagger. It explores desire, sexuality, masculinity, image, and risk. It’s about the momentum that carries you forward, even when you know there’s a train wreck ahead. My work about this popular daredevil opens up a conversation about what attracts a woman or man to act on or witness risky behavior for the sake of a thrill. In these images, Knievel is the metaphor to decipher if we all have a bit of Evel in us.
The Evel Wheelie Trading Card
Ballad of Evel Knievel on 8-Track. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Film Footage of Stunt with Silhouette. Evel Knievel Museum, Topeka, Kansas
Motorcycle Stuntman with Blue Smoke. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Evel Knievel Banner with Cloud. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Boy Attempting Personal Stunt. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show in Bikinis. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Spectators with “Big “Red”, Knievel’s Mack Truck. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Stuntman in Clouds. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Spectators Waiting for Finale. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
World Record Semi Jump. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Spanky Spangler Jr. Car Jump. Evel Knievel Days, Butte, Montana
Red Cup and Tred Marks, Day After Evel Knievel Days. Butte, Montana
The Afterglow of Evel Knievel Days. Butte, Montana
Knievel Mannequin Display. Evel Knievel Museum, Topeka, Kansas
Crushed Budweiser at Launch Site of Evel’s Failed Jump. Snake River Canyon, Idaho
Evel’s Leathers on Sparkling Floor. Las Vegas, Nevada
To view more of Alexis Pike’s work please visit her website.