Breaking out of the conventional mold for successful athletes, snowboarder Travis Rice opened the online art gallery Asymbol early this year with a program of fine art featuring extra love for action sports. One of the most renowned and talented shredders around, Rice pushes the edge of possibility and sanity on the snow and now applies that same tactic to highlighting talented artists.
Created in collaboration with artist Mike Parillo, the Jackson Hole-based duo showcase selected artists in a limited-edition format.
Asymbol came about as an extended "thank you" to the many photographers and image-makers inspired by the sport, who in turn inspire the athletes. "The effort it takes to produce a picture worthy of hanging on a wall is humbling. Asymbol exists to pay tribute to the creative workhorses who have inspired us by making their imagery available to the world," Rice explains.
With a web design that imitates a gallery space, the Asymbol site makes viewing the work approachable and intuitive. It includes brief biographies of each artist and illuminating histories of individual pieces. A comical yet helpful guide on sizing features Chewbacca, Mr. T, Miss Piggy and Chucky as models.
Separated into photographs and artwork, both categories show a range of imagery, subjects, emotions and styles, but maintain a cohesive feel as a whole. From Jeff Curtes' melancholy "Chairlift" photograph (and the adrenaline-drenched chaos of a heli-drop in his "The LZ," pictured above) to Jamie Lynn's colorful "Moonlit Polihale" painting, each takes the viewer to a rare moment in time that many don't often get to experience.
See more artwork after the jump.
Standouts include Adam Haynes' "Silverton" painting, depicting a mountain peak shadowing a dilapidated hut. Haynes painted the piece on wood, and the peeling paint around the edges reveals the surprising medium underneath.
Nick Russian, a former Lib Tech custom snowboard artist takes his work from the board to canvas, painting surreal mountains and clouds that look like graffiti using a unique layering process. The paintings show slews of dark colors reigned in by dashes of white, resembling hidden words strewn throughout.
Scott Lenhardt's "Powers 2000" illustrates a similar penchant for elaborate designs and small brushstrokes. The long, slim canvas (above left) shows a pair yellow trees reflect tentacle-like into the lake below. His "Deer Stream," by contrast (at right), uses the miniscule strokes to different effect, invoking Botero in their sleek yet absolute lines.
Parillo's "Blessing and Confrontations at the Circus Contradiction" fuses bright colors and a collage style. With obsessive details all drawn with pen and covered in acrylics, Parillo's symmetrical painting overlays science fiction, horror and a classic mural style. Two hands hold eyes, two women crouch, lines of bears and baboons hold machine guns, and an exposed heart sits at the center.
Asymbol's current show, "I Am Snowboarding," is an homage to deceased boarder Jeffrey Lin Anderson. It opened on 14 November 2009, in Anderson's hometown of Mammoth Lakes, CA, and will travel internationally through May 2010. See their Calendar for further info. The works can also be viewed on Asymbol. Each painting is a collaboration between a photographer of Anderson and a painter who revises the original image.
Proceeds benefit the JLA Memorial Fund, with limited edition prints of 23 each, 44 photographers and artists contributed to the show. Perhaps the most bittersweet piece, "First Day" shows Anderson as a young child posing with his board over a cartoon mountain. It smartly leaves Anderson largely unchanged—sharpied "JEFF"s remain clear on the knuckle of each glove—while revising the landscape into bold, simple lines of a snow peak and an orange sky. Anderson died while attempting a snowboarding trick in 2003.
This is not Rice's first foray into business. He's also collaborated with Quiksilver on exclusive outer gear, and Lib Tech worked with Rice to make snowboards praised for their durability and performance. Rice has shown himself as savvy and agile with business as he is on a board.
Asymbol also has a strong environmental streak, contributing 5% of all proceeds to the Action Sports Environmental Coalition and Protect Our Winters. Says Rice of giving back, "And since we owe the environment we take from while we reap the rewards of its bounty, a portion of our proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations that are working to raise environmental and social awareness and accountability in the action-sports world."
Works sell directly from Asymbol's site in a variety of sizes, from $300 to $1,300.