Andre Michelin thought he saw the image of a man made of tires at the Exposition at Lyon in 1894. The truth is, there really was a tire-man in attendance - Mr. Bibendum was, at that time, working to promote the rival tire company Goodyear. His love of tires was clear to Michelin, who offered him a full time position at his company. Michelin also noted his physique and offered Mr. Bib the chance of a lifetime: to be the face of his sucessful tire company. Bibendum posed for the first time in 1898 for O’Galop, the illustrator who made him famous throughout the world. Since then, he has been the subject of hundreds of posters, and positioned himself as a prominent “foodie” and traveller thanks to his “Michelin Guides”. Over the last 100 years, Mr. Bib has grown into his role as a company leader as “The Michelin Man” - he’s even quit smoking (in public), and his love for tires is still worn on his sleeve.
Part of the "Titans of Industry" mascots-as-CEO's portrait series. Acrylic on Velvet.