Forest Bailey seems to be driven more by an overarching and overwhelming internal necessity to create than a specific desire to snowboard, skateboard, paint, or draw. The medium matters less than the progress and subsequent satisfaction. His talent is undeniable, and the understated Vermont native will go down as one of the best snowboarders of this generation, but like many he takes inspiration from, Forest is multi-dimensional, and snowboarding is only one facet of an individual unique in his every endeavor.
Ive been hurt for the last two winters. Ive had two knee injuries, so this season Im just working on my own project, on my own schedule, just filming with my friends. Im just traveling around. Were not even 100 percent sure what were doing yet. We made FSBS 1 and now were working on FSBS 2. Seamus [Foster] and I wanted to start the winter off with a sick trip and go skate and snowboard, and I had that art show in London to go to, so it worked out.
The benefit of being injured
When youre hurt you understand the positive and the negative of all the stuff youre doing and are able to reflect on that. It definitely gave me a lot of time to make art and further that side of my careermaking board graphics and designing clothing and all that stuff.
My format for how Ive been filming snowboardingI just want it to be a little different. Less stressful and more on my own terms, I guess. I also have realized I dont want to be the best or anything; I just want to be myself and do what I want to do, rather than hold up to some standard that doesnt really matter anyway. Im not trying to win some award for snowboarding. I just want to snowboard for myself. Im not doing it to please any other force, besides me. So that was like a big realization with the injuries as well. It made me realize I can do what I want and I dont need to follow any pattern that has been laid out. And a lot of people are doing the same stuff, so I feel like anything thats different is good.
Im down to ride whatever. I just like snowboarding. Thats all I wanna do. Whenever and wherever theres snow.
Above: Forest across concrete, metal, and powder.
Endless people, but those who have set a career for themselves in the things that they love, but not only from being good at them but being involved in an industry, but being able to do art for stuff. Like Gonz and Ed Templeton. People who are creating a vision.
Red, blue, and white
I think its just that when these colors work together theyre so bright and popping, and its fun to use those colors. I still use a lot of different tones, not always the exact same colors. But I think because I always grew up looking at skate artand so much of it is so kid-likeI think thats exciting for the eyes. It pops out. Theyre not natural colors that you see, so they stand out.
I mostly work in acrylic. I use acrylic in different ways though. I tried to take an oil painting class. I went to one, and I didnt really like my teacher. I dont think it was the right class for me. Ive been working in a lot of mediums though. Ive been doing a lot of paper cutouts. I do a lot of stuff with colored pencil and spray paint and paint pens and alcohol based paint pens. Im not trying to stick to one medium by any means. And then I also like to create different styles within each medium.
I get frustrated daily with painting because Im continuously wanting to be better, just like with snowboarding, but it doesnt happen immediately. The more you do it though, the more comfortable you feel. You slowly learn little tricks, just like you learn a trick on a snowboard. Then that trick makes everything else so much easier. Youre learning these techniques and you can bring them all together.
Longevity in art
Ive been painting, like actually painting, for two to three years. Its interesting to think about something like that in comparison to snowboarding or skating, which Ive been doing for twenty years. I cant be snowboarding or skating at the same level I am now when Im 50, but I can be painting, so after twenty more years of painting Its just exciting to think about where I might be with it.
Im a big fan of Margaret Kilgallen. I dont know if you saw that Beautiful Losers documentary, but all those original skate and snow artists that kind of paved the wayI see them as some of the great painters of this generation, and its cool because a lot of those minds came from the same world that I come from, you know? Like Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Geoff McFetridge. Then of course there are so many others like Zio Ziegler, Gonz, or Picasso.
The internets effect on art
Its crazy with Instagram, you know? You can look at so many different artists and constantly be getting inspiration. So many artists are killing it so hard. Seeing how much shit people put out is cool. You can see how motivated people are, and how hard people are working, and how peoples projects are coming along. People can make ten huge paintings in a week! Thats pretty cool.
Putting art on the internet
I dont mind it. Well, sometimes I do. I dont want to give everything away, and it kind of gets funky when youre designing all these board graphics and whatnot and making art for shows and for yourself and for friends and stuff. Its hard to know what to show people and not to because you want things to be a surprise and exciting for people to see.
Its just me, and its my art, and its an idea about living life with balance, and on your board and being creative. But its really nothing. I dont like to think of it as a company because if it was a company then it wouldnt be doing well, because Im not trying to make it do well. Thats not the goal, you know? Im just trying to distribute an idea and send cool stuff to people and have them open the little box or package and smile.
Above: FSBS is translated both on canvas and film, both a manifestation of Forest’s mind.
Snowboard: Gnu Headspace and Space Case
I have two boards with Gnu, the Space Case and the Headspace, but basically Ive been riding a very similar board for a long time. I can do the art for them and have them be whatever they want. They give me full creative control.
Binding: Bent Metal Transfer
Bent Metals revamped their binding program over the last couple years, and same thing, they kind of let me do whatever I want. I like to have my bindings and my boards and my clothes and everything be cohesive. I like when it all works together.
Boot: adidas Tactical ADV
Its a little stiffer boot. I like for my board to be a little softer, then to have extra support from my boot around my ankles.
Jacket and pant: 686 Cosmic Collection
686 gives me creative control in my line so I can design whatever and Ive been liking incorporating art into the jackets too and adding little details to give stuff a little more personality.
Above: The film that featured Forest’s first major foray into deep snow.
Goggle: Dragon NFX2
I design a goggle for Dragon too. When you see all the pieces living in a shop youll recognize the connection. Thats kind of the thing. I like to think that even seeing the stuff on the mountain its pretty recognizable.
Shoes: adidas Matchcourt
Its sick getting shoes cause I skate just as much as I snowboard.