Skiing is an art. Painting the mountain gracefully with skis is beautiful to watch and to feel first hand. But what about those artists that ski?! They’re making masterpieces in the studio and on the slopes, impressive right? Our “Art of Skiing” series aims to get into the minds of these admirable humans.
MEET NOELLE JONES
I am an artist born and raised in the Rockies of Alberta, now living on the West Coast of BC. Growing up playing outside gave me a passion for everything wild and now as an adult, I find true solace in the chaos and stillness of nature. It is this that inspires the majority of my work. I found art after an injury had shifted my life’s trajectory away from my former athletic pursuits, and from there it became an outlet to channel my energy into. Outside of illustrating I am still an avid surfer and skier, and elements from both of these worlds are often present in my work as well.
INTERVIEW WITH NOELLE JONES
SBC: What about skiing inspires your work?
NJ: The majesty of the mountains is number one for me. Ask me to draw you something in three minutes and it’ll almost always be a mountain range. In addition to the inspiration I draw from the landscape, it’s also the energy of the ski community that works its way into my art. Like in skiing, I try not to take myself too seriously and hope that translates into my work!
SBC: Have you ever put art on skis?
NJ: Not yet, but it’s one of my biggest goals; I’d love to be able to get into top sheet design sometime in the near future. Last year I was a finalist in the Prior Skis’s Topsheet Competition, which was a great introduction into the world of ski and board graphics. I’m currently cooking up a new piece for this year’s contest and I’m pretty stoked on it so far.
SBC: Where can we see your work in the ski industry?
NJ: As an artist fairly new on the scene, I’m still working on getting more of my pieces out into the ski world. Right now, you’ll find a lot of my art in sticker form slapped onto skis, boards and the back windshields of cars in the Whistler Blackcomb day lots!
SBC: What’s your next ski objective?
NJ: I’d love to start getting into the backcountry more. As a student also balancing a full-time job, last season I didn’t get out there nearly as much as I wanted to. Next season while I’ll still be finishing up my degree, I’m hoping to budget my time a little and get some more fresh tracks in!
SBC: What puts you in your studio groove to create?
NJ: A podcast, audiobook or really great playlist helps me quiet my thoughts. I can get into a good creative flow while I listen to basically anything. I’ve listened to full books in one day while finishing some particularly detailed pieces in the past!
SBC: How did you get into art?
NJ: It’s a bit of a long story! Three years ago, I was involved in a car accident that put a halt to many of my athletic pursuits. At the time, I was playing university rugby year-round while also balancing skiing and surf trips between training. It was completely full-on, but as a former luge athlete, full-on was my comfort zone. The accident slowly but surely rendered me unable to push my body anywhere near the same limits I could before, as nerve damage and concussion issues started to give me some nasty chronic pain and re-route a lot of my former muscle patterns. I tried to fight it like an athlete – by setting goals that were unrealistic for my body and when they were not reached, I fell into some bad bouts of anxiety and depression.
Last year, however, with a lot of outside support, I started to shift my perspective a bit. Instead of focusing only on what I could no longer do, I started letting my body tell me what it could do. I could ski a bit, surf a bit and to fill the gaps as well as quiet my mind – I picked up a pen and started drawing in my downtime. The artistic style of pointillism really intrigued me and the more I practiced, the easier it got and the more I was able to come up with my own designs. Art gave me a way to tap back into that flow state that I was missing, as well as funnel a lot of restless energy into something I felt really proud of.
SBC: Describe your artist style in 3 words:
NJ: Wild, passionate, rad.
SBC: Describe your skiing style in 3 words:
NJ: Fun, carefree, fast.
SBC: Current song on repeat?
NJ: Lately, I’ve been really getting into the summer groove with one of my favourite psychedelic surf-rock bands The Babe Rainbow. Their new track Something New is on the daily rotation!
SBC: Guilty pocket snack?
NJ: Tortilla chips for sure. They’re usually gone by the time I get to the top of the first chair.
SBC: Who’s inspiring you these days?
NJ: I’m constantly in awe of so many local artists around me. Kate Zessel has always been a huge inspiration and mentored me when I was first starting out – her work is seriously next level. My artwork is currently selling out of a shop Tofino, so I also love seeing the mind-blowing work that comes from local Tuff City artists like Lizzie Snow from FortyOneHundred or Sarah King. Additionally, Jessica Soparlo, the Whistler artist behind ‘Would Be Nude Not To’ is totally blowing me away with her work. I actually just got one of her pieces tattooed on my calf!