The Seven Artistic Sins 

Board culture artists try out skis as new canvas in Rossignol’s art project

What: Seven Artistic Sins Exhibition/Party

When: Saturday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Blake Jorgensen Gallery, Westin Hotel

Admission: Free

Ever found yourself sitting on the chairlift, staring at topsheets and wondering where the design came from? Now, you have a chance to learn more about the artistic inspiration behind one major ski brand.

Rossignol has organized the Seven Artistic Sins project, enlisting the help of seven talented artists to design their line of twin tip skis. The project encourages artists to get creative and try to extend and apply their abilities to a different medium — skis — while illustrating one of the seven deadly sins.

While none of the artists had designed products for the company before, and were all new to the world of skiing, there are some big names involved, including skateboard legends Steve Cabellero and Andy Howell.

Vancouver artist Andrew Pommier was just one of the artists selected to design a pair of skis for the project. His assigned sin? Envy.

Pommier studied drawing and painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and has been designing skateboard graphics for major labels since 1998, but this was the first time he has applied his artistic style to a pair of skis.

“The main challenge for me is creating something that will fit the dimensions of the ski,” Pommier said in an e-mailed interview. “The next challenge is to come up with something that will evoke the sin without being too literal. I have to remind myself that I'm not doing an illustration of the sin I'm making art that uses the sin as a starting point. And lately hitting the deadline has been a challenge for me for some reason. I'm usually on point with that stuff.”

Paddy Kaye, team manager for Rossignol, said the project came about through a partnership the company has with Spacejunk gallery, based out of France, and the concept was inspired by a similar surfboard project for Quiksilver.

While the project is certainly about bringing artwork into the realm of skiing, Kaye points out that another key aspect was showing that skate, ski and snowboard culture are closely linked.

“So skateboard artists that were all of a sudden painting surfboards had never really happened before, and it was sort of a no-brainer for us,” he explained.

This actually isn’t the first year for Seven Artistic Sins — in fact, if you made it to the Brave Art show during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival last year you probably noticed the skis mounted on the walls, hanging alongside artist bios and copies of the original artwork.

“I think people are just really embracing change right now,” said Kaye. “So anything that’s different catches people’s eyes.”

Rossignol actually launched the concept last year, at EvoGear in Seattle, and so far, the products have been received very well, commercially, with the fattest ski in the twin tip line, the S7, which represents the sin of Gluttony, becoming the best-selling fat ski of all time for Rossignol.

“It is a unique shape and style of ski, and it also has the Steve Cabellero graphic, and it’s part of this whole Seven Artistic Sins, so its just a lot of things coming together that are helping move this ski,” Kaye explained. “In fact, it’s sold out everywhere.”

This time around, they’re launching this year’s project in Whistler as a standalone show at the Blake Jorgensen Gallery.

“What we’re noticing, going into the second year working with the same group of artists, is that they’re really embracing the project more and more, and I think opening up their work and their name, exposing themselves to a whole different market,” Kaye said.

Pommier definitely plans to see the project through to the end, designing a ski for each of the seven sins.

“I was really excited to see what everyone else came up with and wasn't disappointed,” he said. “It is going to be really great to see all the skis at the end of this project when each artist has done each sin and to see the progress each one of us has made skill-wise over seven years.”

The exhibit opens on Saturday evening, with reprints of all of the original artwork alongside each of the skis. The display is on for one month at the Blake Jorgensen Gallery.

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