Sequim native, independent illustrator and graphic design artist Matthew Fleming won the 2017 Breakaway from Cancer T-shirt contest. His design will be the featured T-shirt on sale for $25 for the Tour of California cycling race from May 11 to 20. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim native, independent illustrator and graphic design artist Matthew Fleming won the 2017 Breakaway from Cancer T-shirt contest. His design will be the featured T-shirt on sale for $25 for the Tour of California cycling race from May 11 to 20. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim transplant wins T-shirt contest

SEQUIM — Sequim transplant Matthew Fleming channeled his passion for cycling into his career in graphic design to win the 2017 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer T-shirt design contest.

Fleming’s design will be used to create the Amgen Tour of California T-shirt leading up to the Tour of California cycling race from May 11-20.

The Tour of California is an annual Tour de France-style professional cycling road race along hundreds of miles of California’s highways, byways and coastlines. The race covers more than 800 miles through 14 host cities in California.

“The reason I got into the Tour of California is because the race brings international cycling from all over the world to California,” Fleming said.

Fleming got into cycling when he moved to California in 2008 and continues to ride on the Olympic Peninsula for his health.

“I attended every year I could,” he said. “It’s a big thing for cyclists; you get in your workout and get to see your heroes flying by.”

AEG, a sports venue and live entertainment company headquartered in Los Angeles, sponsored a design contest for the 2017 Amgen Breakaway from Cancer T-shirt.

The contest was seeking an Amgen Tour of California-inspired design that features the 2017 host cities of the Amgen Tour of California and Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race combined with a California theme.

Fleming’s design was chosen from a pool of submissions and judged on creativity, incorporation of the 2017 Men’s & Women’s host cities and state of California theme.

He said he happened to see the email about the T-shirt contest a week before the submission deadline. His wife encouraged him to try to create a design for the contest.

“I got it done and felt like the right design came to my head right away,” Fleming said.

His design features lettering that spells out “Tour of California” with the letters interacting with graphics that represent the featured host cities in California.

This is the first year Fleming said he has seen the tour host a T-shirt contest. When Fleming found out he won, he ran outside to tell his wife — who was gardening at the time — to celebrate.

“[It’s] really exciting because I’ve really been missing California,” Fleming said.

Part of the prize package of winning the T-shirt contest — in addition to $1,000 cash — is an opportunity to travel to California with round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and VIP hospitality and see the final stage of the race in Pasadena on May 20.

Fleming said he is surprising his father, who is coming to visit in May, with this trip to go see the race.

“We bond over cycling,” he said, adding that his father was one of the reasons he got into the sport.

Before he became an independent illustrator and graphic designer, Fleming spent many years working for design studios in Milwaukee. He is a drawing and painting major from the University of Milwaukee who got into graphic design when he took a prerequisite graphic design class to graduate.

Fleming said much of his work in graphic design revolves around music and sports. He has experience creating concert posters for iconic musicians such as the Dave Matthews Band, Chris Stapleton and even corporate work for Cliff Bar. He also has completed designs for Boston Marathon posters and Bonnaroo — a music festival in Tennessee.

Amgen is an independent biotechnology company that focuses on areas of high, unmet medical need and looks for solutions that improve health outcomes and people’s lives.

Its national initiative, Breakaway from Cancer, was founded in 2005 and aims to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer. It is composed of four nonprofit partner organizations including the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Patient Advocate Foundation and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.

Proceeds from T-shirt sales benefit Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer independent nonprofit partners. The T-shirts are $25 and are available for purchase at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-breakawyfromcancertshirt or at official merchandise locations at the race.

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