Art and Soul on the Slopes: Lamont Joseph White brings spirit of the National Brotherhood of Skiers history to life
Artist Lamont Joseph White brings spirit of the National Brotherhood of Skiers history to life through art and fashion
The National Brotherhood of Skiers is in Vail this week to celebrate its 50th Anniversary Summit and in addition to all the skiing, snowboarding, racing, fundraising and parties, there is an artistic side to this event.
Stop by the Colorado Snowsports Museum and become familiar with the work of Lamont Joseph White, an artist who was tapped by the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Art in Public Places to curate fashion throughout the decades and create a painting commissioned by the town of Vail.
Inside the museum you’ll find a timeline that chronicles the first summit on snow in Aspen in 1973; photos of founders Ben Finley and Art Clay; patches from various summits; information on U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame inductees; other memorabilia from the ski association’s past. But the real showstopper is White’s painting, entitled “Towering.”
An oil painting in blue hues, “Towering” is a clever montage capturing Vail’s iconic clock tower, the majestic Gore Range and an array of beloved slopes on Vail Mountain.
“In just terms of the background, I obviously wanted it to be representative and emblematic of Vail, to be recognizable and feel like Vail. But, by putting the mountains and the tower together in the background the way that I did, I wanted it to feel sort of like it was all in one, then I incorporated the male and female figures, snowboarding and skiing and went for a youthful, all-inclusive representation on the slopes of Vail,” White said.
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“The Town of Vail is thrilled to include this commissioned oil painting by Lamont Joseph White in the permanent public art collection for all to enjoy and a great way to celebrate the diversity of the National Brotherhood of Skiers 50th Anniversary Summit. Lamont’s artistic talents truly shine in this creative composition. Many thanks to the Colorado Snowsports Museum for displaying the work this season,” said Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator.
In addition to the oil painting on display, some of White’s works are available in poster form for purchase. He says what he wants to create on the slopes is a place of joy, strength and belonging.
“For me, in the artwork, I want to celebrate those who are on the mountain and invite those who aren’t yet. Let them know that, ‘hey, maybe you’ll want to give it a shot someday, give it a try.’ A lot of times, with all of us, it happens with an invite, so I want them to feel invited in a very modern way,” White said. “It’s celebratory and fun. We’re here for the joy, right?”
White has worked with the National Brotherhood of Skiers for the past few years and has helped them with marketing and design needs for their summits, worked with product manufacturers creating designs that partner with their nonprofit to help raise funds for their athletes and their programs.
“Where my art can be a tool for that, it’s always fun to be involved.,” White said.
White has a vast background in art and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. His works have a fashionable flair and that style sense is what the Colorado Snowsports Museum was looking for when they asked him to curate the “NBS Style Through the Decades” exhibit that showcases various looks from the past five decades of the National Brotherhood of Skiers.
Through personal connections and connections made with the help of the members of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, White was able to find actual photos and ski wear worn by members. On display is a yellow Descente ski jacket and ski pants and a red Roots hat worn by Henri Rivers, the current President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, with his name embroidered on the jacket.
“My friend, Lauren Samuels who skied for the University of Utah, lent me the purple Descente one-piece worn by her mother at the annual NBS summits. So, it’s great to have families involved and show how far back the generations go and we want to continue that as the years go on,” White said.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum is also selling a women’s base layer by Krimson Klover that features White’s Artwork in case you’d like to buy yourself a piece of wearable art. Krimson Klover is based out of Boulder and its founder, Rhonda Swenson, is a part-time resident of Vail.
“I’d worked with Rhonda on several other pieces previous to this and for this one we wanted to have the women’s fashionable representation and pay homage to the 10th Mountain Division,” White said. The shirt has subtle nods to the winter warfare unit with white crossed skis, the emblem of the 10th, the peaks near Camp Hale and the group’s motto, “Climb to Glory” on the back.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum is giving you a chance to meet White on Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. and check out his artwork and fashion exhibit. The museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and the works will be on display throughout the rest of the ski season. For more information, go to SnowsportsMuseum.org.