Rocket over the mountains with bike in between
When Hülpman thinks of his first cycling experience, he sees a little BMX bike with training wheels and his grandma's face in his mind's eye. He is of primary school age when he wants to learn to ride a bicycle in a small park in Berlin Treptow-Köpenick. "I had seen the film BMX Gang, and of course my friends and I wanted to ride like the main characters in it", says Hülpman. A small scar on his chin reminds him of his bumpy first attempts at cycling. Today, the bicycle is a way for the 36-year-old to get out. Out of his studio, out of the mental merry-go-round, out of the big city sometimes. "I started riding my old ladies' bike through Berlin again in the spring", says the illustrator. When he rides, he feels free. Freedom is a motif that plays a recurring role in Hülpman's illustrations. There are also rockets, balloons and little UFOs on his ABUS helmet. "It fits well with cycling and the feeling of clearing your head." In addition, elements like the rocket representing the pioneering spirit that ABUS brings to the development of its products. "With its innovative and future-oriented products, the company is always a world ahead of the competition", says Hülpman.
One city, many faces
Berlin has many faces. There is the party stronghold with its vast number of clubs and activities to do for fun. "In that aspect, there's always action somewhere, Berlin is fun and everyone is casual and cool", says Hülpman. The grinning figures with sunglasses on their noses surrounding the CityVibes lettering represent this. But behind the dark glasses, the eyes and feelings of their wearers remain hidden. "On the other hand, there is this great anonymity of the city. Even though there is something going on everywhere, you often don’t really know what’s going inside the person across from you", says the 36-year-old. Many people disappear into the anonymity of Berlin's high-rise housing developments. "The high-rise buildings on the helmet are emblematic of gentrification." Neighbourhoods are being upgraded through redevelopment and conversion - with the result that local residents are being displaced by wealthier segments of the population. "Only a few people from my childhood still live in the neighbourhood where I grew up", says Hülpman. "I'm lucky that I still live in my old neighbourhood.” Hülpman therefore also sees the bicycle as a means of overcoming the distances between social classes, neighbourhoods and city boundaries: "Cycling is a constant that is passed down from generation to generation. Berlin and the city's places remain accessible to all by bicycle, no matter how the city changes over the years."
This is the sound of Berlin
Booming basses, distinctive beats, soft soul: Berlin always sounds different and yet has a sound all its own. This is what the boom box that Hülpman has immortalised on his ABUS helmet stands for: "For me, it is the symbol of the soundscape of my city." Hülpman's tip: If you want to hear and discover Berlin, the best way to capture the sound of the city is on a bicycle. A few minutes by bike separate the tranquil natural tones of the city’s large parks from the jarring beats behind thick club walls. Sometimes the sounds of the city blur into an unmistakable sound backdrop. "Berlin is sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. Like the boombox", says Hülpman. Anyone cycling through Berlin becomes part of this unique world of sound and experiences the city with all their senses. "I have celebrated this since I was a child. That's when I packed my boom box into the basket on my collapsible bike and rode it to school", the illustrator says. Even today, he finds inspiration for his art in the sounds of the city.
Learn more about Hülpman