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Rollerman, the drift for art
"I am not an adrenaline junkie. I seek perfection of the gesture, aesthetics. "
Jean-Yves Blondeau demystifies the prejudices we have to see him hit the roads in his futuristic outfit.
His practice is an art. "An art that communicates rather than plastic art," he will specify. An art that has revolutionized the world of extreme sports. So much so that even in its galaxy, it is still a UFO. "I'm an alien, someone from outer space, which shove everything. Extreme sports are on the fringes of the sport. I'm on the fringe of the fringe. Sometimes it's a little hard because I do not feel integrated. "
Revolutions, are in his family blood. In the Jura (east of france), his father developed their own skis. No need to dig deeper to find the roots, innate, a handyman and a sliding sport lover. Party in Savoy (french alps), the family made their own skateboards and rollerblades. Before the fashions of the United States arrived in the french shops. "when my brothers did not have the equipment, they always made their own," says the youngest in a family of seven precursors, which were making skating races around the family house in Albens (small french village in french alps).
His brothers, however, played with engines ans became bikers. Jean yves stayed stuck to its wheels. In Monge high school (chambery), while stidying mechanical engineering, he designed his homemade roller skate. He used to freeskate in the night after homework and turned Chambery midle age corridor streets into a huge playground.
Sports enthusiast, he was also an artist. After a BTS (B-Tec) of industrial design, he could enter to the prestigious National School of Applied Arts and Crafts (ENSAAMA) Olivier de Serres in Paris. He could succeed the admission by showing his lasted fully revisited assymetrical roller skates.
And this led to his dream for his graduation project. He first wanted to make a 'surf road'. A motorized vehicle on which the pilot would stand like a surfer on a board, with the power of a street bike. But he have been blocked. For the jury, the idea of creating a new kind of risky vehicule on open roads, was unacceptable. They said NO.
The alpin boy had to bounce on another concept. "I wanted to work with the human body. Do feel the sensation of balance and locomotion. " He spent hours, days in libraries. He tried to understand the perceptions of space, balance. He interviewed dozens of artists, sports or circus people. He reached the goal, this time, by wanting to roll in all position, giving a larger dimension to the human body. Making the humain a mutant. He grafted the body with an armor. Covered wheels, of course. And fighted to find ingeniering sollutions by 'do-it yourself' - he found a helmet in a flea market, the wheels on a stroller, borrowed an old mankin in a fashoin shop, he created his character, designed his first Buggy Rollin. One day in 1994.
Buggy Rollin, the global success of a local invention
His armor with wheels conquered and impressed the jury by making them dream. So the jury advised him to file a patent. Jean-Yves Blondeau did in 1995. That opened him the doors of the world of show. Advertisers. And film.
All was not built in a day, obviously. French, Italian, Austrian and American industrials have never forwarded his file. He smartly used his artistic talents to build his own promotion.
A video fell into the hands of Canal +. The TV channel came to shoot the exact remake of Jean Yves first video in the small streets of the city of the Dukes (chambery is the historic capital of Savoy). that was a Click. "After that I made the tour of Europe television and magazines, and I went for the first time in Tokyo," recalls Rollerman. Far from describing him as a nasty business man, he lived through the media. With his true kindness, he has never done excess: he always tryed to go forward in the project.
Reach the world
In 2003, a Korean TV was making report on the downhill World Championships. Deeply impressed by the Buggy Rollin, they came back to follow Jean yves during five days throw sevral countryes of europa. It have been broadcast in prime time in Asia. Far from making spritz, the story allowed him to surf more on his image. Exploited for a commercial or a movie ... Korean ... Hollywood: Yes Man with Jim Carrey. "It was my Christmas present. I could finnaly put the wheels i always dream to have but could never have bought before, "laughs the Alpin boy, who designed four-Buggy Rollin suit for the YESMAN film. And late 2012, he should return on the screen. The secret of the film, is not revealed yet.
Roller Man in numbers
5,462,686 views on YouTube channel Buggy Rollin
€ 3500 the estimated cost of an armor, which takes two months, on average, to be manufactured
116 km / h speed record in downhill at Mont Ventoux, with an armor with 26 wheels
20 versions completed as of today
9 different bob tracks rided with thw wheel suit, a record on wheels