Thursday, July 16, 2009

Proper Noun of the Week #3: Mina Hoyle

After having a lot of fun conducting and posting Cleveland-centric interviews with Frank Revy and Bill Rupnik the past two weeks, I am pleased to bring you the third installation of our Proper Noun of the Week column. This one features a conversation with Mina Hoyle, a Clevo transplant from Miami, FL.

Mina came to Cleveland to study at the CIA and fell in love with the city. Several years later, she's a budding entrepreneur and member of the growing and thriving bicycle community that exists in town, especially on the west side. In her new business entreprise, Blick's Bags, Hoyle integrates the two dimensions, selling stylish, edgy, well-crafted messenger bags for the serious cyclist as well as the office-going hipster. Best of all, she does so in a way that integrates social consciousness into high design. According to Hoyle, "By custom making for each person the bags and apparel needed for serious bicycling, we enable people to utilize this healthier form of transportation."

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

Mina: I've been in Cleveland 4 years. I'm originally from Miami Florida. I came here to go to the Cleveland Institute of Art, and I fell in love with this city. There is so much opportunity to do your own thing here.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

Mina: My favorite Cleveland memories are from my first summer here. I got my first bicycle, and spent almost every night out riding with friends, exploring Cleveland Heights and Shaker. One night we rode to the Cleveland Museum of Art and swam in the fountain, ran through the sprinklers behind Kelvin Smith Library, and sang to the full moon. It was glorious.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work?

Mina: If it weren't for Cleveland, I wouldn't be making bags for bicycling. Living here has made me believe that a city like Cleveland can rely on bicycles for transportation. Making bags is my way of making people feel proud to ride a bike in Cleveland . The scene of young adults dedicated to bicycling is blossoming, it's something special. Back home in Miami, you simply can't get around on a bike. Urban sprawl is a huge problem.

4) What would be your ideal Cleveland day? Or, to put it another way, if it was your birthday and your nearest and dearest were all willing to do what you wanted, what would your day be like?

Mina: My ideal Cleveland day...I would ride to Lakewood to have a pumpkin ale and Parmageddon at Melt, see an opening at Spaces Gallery, followed by the Cleveland Kings and Girls drag king show at Bounce. In fact, I might do just all that today!

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

Mina: 24 hours in Cleveland...I would definitely bring them to Tremont to see some local artist's work at Asterisk and Doubting Thomas Gallery.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?

Mina: New York...the city that never sleeps...I do sleep, but apparently I have a different bedtime than Cleveland! Thankfully My Friends is open 24/7, so I can get waffles when I need them most, 4 am.

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commisioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

Mina: I'd tell them we have the opportunity to become the biggest, greenest bicycling city in the US, and should take advantage of that! Also, why does the Euclid corridor end at University Circle? East Cleveland needs bike lanes too! Bicycling is for everyone.


To check out Mina's work, click here. In our correspondence, she also made sure to draw attention to a group of extra-talented D.I.Y artists and artisans jointly referred to as the Burning River Collective. Check them out here.

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