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.
I've been hurt for the last two winters. I've had two knee injuries, so this season I'm just working on my own project, on my own schedule, just filming with my friends. I'm just traveling around. We're not even 100 percent sure what we're doing yet. We made FSBS 1 and now we're 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 you're hurt you understand the positive and the negative of all the stuff you're 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 career—making board graphics and designing clothing and all that stuff.
My format for how I've been filming snowboarding—I just want it to be a little different. Less stressful and more on my own terms, I guess. I also have realized I don't 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 doesn't really matter anyway. I'm not trying to win some award for snowboarding. I just want to snowboard for myself. I'm 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 don't 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 that's different is good.
I'm down to ride whatever. I just like snowboarding. That's all I wanna do. Whenever and wherever there's 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 it's just that when these colors work together they're so bright and popping, and it's 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 art—and so much of it is so kid-like—I think that's exciting for the eyes. It pops out. They're 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 didn't really like my teacher. I don't think it was the right class for me. I've been working in a lot of mediums though. I've 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. I'm 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 I'm continuously wanting to be better, just like with snowboarding, but it doesn't 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. You're learning these techniques and you can bring them all together.
Longevity in art
I've been painting, like actually painting, for two to three years. It's interesting to think about something like that in comparison to snowboarding or skating, which I've been doing for twenty years. I can't be snowboarding or skating at the same level I am now when I'm 50, but I can be painting, so after twenty more years of painting… It's just exciting to think about where I might be with it.
I'm a big fan of Margaret Kilgallen. I don't know if you saw that Beautiful Losers documentary, but all those original skate and snow artists that kind of paved the way—I see them as some of the great painters of this generation, and it's 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 internet's effect on art
It's 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 people's projects are coming along. People can make ten huge paintings in a week! That's pretty cool.
Putting art on the internet
I don't mind it. Well, sometimes I do. I don't want to give everything away, and it kind of gets funky when you're designing all these board graphics and whatnot and making art for shows and for yourself and for friends and stuff. It's hard to know what to show people and not to because you want things to be a surprise and exciting for people to see.
It's just me, and it's my art, and it's an idea about living life with balance, and on your board and being creative. But it's really nothing. I don't like to think of it as a company because if it was a company then it wouldn't be doing well, because I'm not trying to make it do well. That's not the goal, you know? I'm 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 I've 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 Metal's 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
It's 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 I've 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 you'll recognize the connection. That's kind of the thing. I like to think that even seeing the stuff on the mountain it's pretty recognizable.
Shoes: adidas Matchcourt
It's sick getting shoes 'cause I skate just as much as I snowboard.