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Thursday, June 6, 2013
Image Maker: Adam Haynes

By Matt Vanatta
XGames.com

Illustrator Adam Haynes creates dreamscapes that capture the imagination of snowboarders everywhere. From pillow lines to far-ranging mountain peaks to rusted-out cars the Pacific Northwest local takes real-life images and adds a surreal texture that gives his art an air of fantasy that's rooted in nature's rawest elements.

After spending his formative years in Portland working for Adidas, Haynes decided to move back to the mountains so he could be closer to the ranges that inspire his creative energy. Over the past few years he has provided the art for the close-to-the heart snowboarding events created by legends Josh Dirksen (Dirksen Derby) and Travis Rice (2013 Ultra Natural), graphics for Gnu snowboards, a series of beautiful illustrations for an avalanche awareness feature run here on ESPN.com, and much, much more.

We sat down with the Mt. Bachelor local to talk about growing up in Oregon, what drives his passionate vision, and the creative community he's found in Bend, Ore.

ESPN: So you're an artist who grew up in Oregon ... Were your parents gigantic hippies?
Adam Haynes:
They were just regular-sized hippies back in the seventies, but I think they'd moved on to regular old rural living by the time I showed up. My mom taught Jazzercise and my dad worked at the local hardware store.

"Silverton" ~ Acrylic on wood ~ Haynes is one of the original artists featured in Travis Rice's online action sports art and photography gallery, Asymbol.

Did you grow up in an environment that was conducive to becoming an artist?
Definitely. We didn't have a TV, and there weren't a lot of other kids around so drawing was one of my main sources of entertainment. One of our neighbors was an artist, and she got me into watercolors and colored pencils when I was 8 or 9.

What were some of your early inspirations?
I was into model rockets, planes, and cars, so I drew that sort of thing a lot. My grandma was into antiques and she'd save old comic books and model airplane magazines for me. I always had really random influences due to living out in the sticks and being a little cut off from popular culture.

You're art seems like every person's fantasy of what a mountain paradise should look like? Did you perfect your craft on the back of notebooks in school?
No, I've never been much of a doodler. I've had to work hard to keep a sketchbook. I usually want to go right from my head to the final piece. I'm sure I'll be perfecting my craft for a long time to come. It seems like the more I learn, the less I know.

Are you formally trained or self taught?
I had one semester of Illustration in school, but I've taken a lot of drawing classes. I guess I'm about half self-taught and half trained.

What are your favorite projects to work on?
I love to work on projects that are close to my heart. The best ones involve getting out of the house and traveling. I can spend a few days experiencing the activity or seeing the place I'm drawing, getting inspired, taking some photos, and later head back to the studio to bring it to life on paper. When I'm able to work like this the piece often comes together more naturally, and it seems richer in content and depth.

Why live in Bend instead of Portland?
I was in Portland for awhile. It is a great city for art, and I found it very inspirational, but it's too far from the mountains for me. I like to be closer to the outdoors, closer to my other passions.

Bend has a great art community, but it's smaller, and less varied. At times it can feel like a bit of a vacuum. Sometimes it seems like moving back to the city would be better for my art career, but it's hard to give up the sunshine and the morning ride breaks.

Do you think being an active participant in the activities you base your subject matter off of has an impact on your work?
Oh, definitely. I like to think it helps give it more credibility, more realism. It's always hard to capture good style when drawing action, but I think it helps quite a bit to go out and witness it before picking up the pencil.

If you had magical powers how would you shape your personal future?
That's hard to say... It would be nice to be able to slow time down. It would make deadlines less stressful. Magic health powers would be sweet too. I love freelancing, but it sucks to deal with health insurance when you're self-employed.

Do you have any shows or projects coming up?
I have a show in Portland this July at the Compound Gallery, so I've been working on some new paintings for that. I'm also working on some boards and a full wrap illustration for a motorcycle helmet.