Stark acrylic painting exhibit 

Local artist, snowboarding star captures mountain spirit

Artist Vanessa Stark first conquered the mountains as a competitive snowboarder. Now she captures B.C.’s wilderness on canvas.

But while the two mediums call for different tools, she likens the heart of both adventures as one and the same: whether powder carves or the swirl of her paintbrush, Stark’s muse is always the breathtaking beauty and power of the mountains.

"It feels like the same thing just a different way to express yourself," Stark said. "One you use your whole body. The other, you are quite relaxed. Art is a pretty popular thing in snowboarding right now. The two seem to be very connected."

Locals might have seen her artwork on the slopes: she designed a few snowboard graphics for companies such as Prior and Silver snowboards. She also received honourable mention in the 2005 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Brave Art competition.

Stark will now showcase her vibrant-coloured acrylics of swirling forests and flowing fish at her first official exhibit, entitled Dream One November, Nov. 1-30 at MY Millennium Place Art Gallery. Guests can meet Stark at a reception social Saturday, Nov. 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the gallery to learn more about her work.

For more than a decade, Stark has ripped up Whistler slopes, part of her time as a competitive boarder. She won the best overall SBX Pro-Women title along with several halfpipe competitions, including the Westbeach Classic. When she isn’t appearing in snowboard-related television commercials and films, Stark can be found rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking in the hills.

From green summers to white winters, all season long sports fuel her artistic ambitions, which express themselves in a variety of mediums.

"I am constantly seeing amazing things," she said. "My artwork is a bit of an outlet for that."

Pencil and pen drawings were Stark’s first tools of the trade, ever since she was a child. She later moved on to acrylic on canvas. More than 20 of her paintings will be showcased at the exhibit. She will also show her work at Whistler’s biggest Christmas artisan show, the 17 th annual Bizarre Bazaar, Dec. 2 to 3 at the Telus Conference Centre.

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