Mural artist Zio Ziegler is creating something big at Vail’s GoPro Mountain Games |

Mural artist Zio Ziegler is creating something big at Vail’s GoPro Mountain Games

Artist Zio Ziegler will create a GoPro Mountain Games mural in Vail Village during this weekend's competitions.
Special to the Daily |

If your art is going to say something, say something big.

Zio Ziegler does.

Ziegler is a muralist and a rocketing talent in the art world whose sweeping works adorn the campus walls of Google, Facebook, and places all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

And now Vail’s GoPro Mountain Games.

Ziegler is painting in the heart of Vail Village Saturday and Sunday. He started Friday. Upon approval of the final mural, which will have an outdoor theme, the artwork he creates will be on permanent display in Vail’s Red Sandstone Elementary School.

“I’m happy that people like my work. I’m honored,” he said.

The GoPro folks described his creative process this way: “Rather than following a script he then executes, he is inspired by what unfolds in the moment. All of his work has been created this way. The best, truly, is to just look at what he has created so far and then just be amazed by what he will create this time.”

Ziegler says he’s happy for the corporate support.

“A lot of these companies, whether we like it or not, have the capacity to be the next Medicis,” Ziegler told CNBC. “They can facilitate private museums and large scale public projects.”

His parents’ son

This apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Ziegler inherited his entrepreneurial spirit from his parents, the founders of Banana Republic. Like his mom and dad, he is enjoying great commercial success.

Like his parents, he doesn’t sit around waiting for the muse to alight. He grabs it.

Ziegler is successful because he works at it. The man is prolific. He creates more than 1,000 paintings and sketches a year.

He is also a designer for Vans Shoes and Pottery Barn Kids.

Art and tech

Ziegler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the tech boom really needed something cool on its walls. He carries the tech world’s entrepreneurial spirit beyond both the tech and art worlds.

Technology didn’t open new doors; it kicked them down.

“People are finding new, smarter ways to do things. If institutions won’t show us (artists and their work), and galleries won‘t show us, we’ll find other ways to get our art into the world,” he said. “Everyone has a printing press because everyone has a phone and a computer. It’s very democratic. The galleries are starting to recognize that. The critics aren’t going to call the shots any more.”

He knows about critics.

“I was thrown out of my high school art class, and they didn’t like my work in university at all,” he said.

And yet, here he is, making art where there was none before, happy that others are doing the same, and thankful that technology is giving artists access to the world, and the world access to art.

“The foundation of so much contemporary art is in street art,” Ziegler said. “There’s so much inspiration in street art, so much art for art’s sake.”

Takin’ it to the streets

Like most great movements, this one began in the streets, he said.

“Street artists are on the cutting edge,” he said. “Anyone can go out there and test their skills.”

It used to be called graffiti, and some of it still is, but street art is also art made life-sized, and larger-than-life.

“The only negative aspect would be the condescension that the art world puts upon street art and public art. They dismiss it as graffiti. This sort of snobbery is what happened to all the great movements initially,” Ziegler said. “I’m not against institutions. I just think they take longer to change.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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