It might seem unusual for a snowsports brand to be talking about microlending in Kenya on Giving Tuesday. But today we're changing that by sharing the story behind Zawadisha.
Meet the Artists: Nahanni McKay & Cecelia Leddy
Cue the 23/24 La Nieve Backcountry Ski creatively titled Ski For Goddess Sake. This striking design is the result of the collaboration between two talented artists, Coalition Snow Ambassador Nahanni McKay and Cecelia Leddy, also known as Teenybotanist.
This duo created a beautiful and fearless ski graphic that is sure to be an all-time favorite. Ready for an exclusive insight into their inspiration and creative process? Keep scrolling because Jacinta Gordon got the answers plus some tea ;)
Jacinta: Can you share with us your name, pronouns, and what Coalition Snow skis or snowboard you ride?
Cecelia & Nahanni: Cecelia Leddy (Teenybotanist), she/her, Banff, AB. I’m looking forward to riding on my own artwork on my very first Coalition ski, the La Nieve!
Nahanni McKay, she/her, Banff, AB. Right now I ride the SOS All Mountain for the resort but looking forward to getting on the La Nieve in the backcountry.
J: Describe yourself as an artist in 3 words…
C: Collaborator // storyteller // dreamer
N: Passionate // motivated // progressive
J: What Coalition Snow graphic did you create, tell us about your inspiration and what it means to you…
C & N: We designed the graphics for the La Nieve Backcountry Ski with a focus on the power of women in the world of backcountry skiing. The artwork is a celebration of the female form, the landscapes we play on, and the energy that we as women bring to this sport. We wanted to design a ski as badass as its rider and support a company that doesn’t tone down its gear. We can’t think of a better brand to showcase our work. We’re so stoked that other people get to explore and play in the mountains on our artwork. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
J: Since you co-created this graphic, tell us about the process of creating it together…
C: My favorite thing about working together is the total creative freedom Nahanni grants me to dream into her work, imagining my oversized figures and swirls into her landscapes, while also allowing her work to hold its space. Once we evolved our concept of an existing piece, we worked closely with Coalition to get the design to a place where we felt proud of the work we produced.
J: As artists, how do you get into the zone when you are creating?
C: I love painting in the sunshine on my deck while sippin’ on some tea and having my pooch within petting distance. My Spotify Wrapped said my music taste is Indie-Vampire, whatever the fuck that is, so I’ve probably got those tunes on.
The cool thing about the digital illustrations I create is that I can really do them anywhere, and I always have a mini sketchbook on hand for doodles and ideas. The thing I enjoy most about making art is just doing it when I feel like it - it’s never forced, or required - it’s just because.
N: What gets me in the zone is when I am in my studio and I have Snotty Nose Rez Kids blaring in my earphones while I bead. The lyrics ‘And since we talkin' truthfully, don't miss the opportunity // To really be for real and tell the truth to your community’ keeps me motivated and focused on what I am trying to communicate through my art.
J: What is your relationship with Coalition Snow?
C: I’m newer to the Coalition crew and was connected to them through Nahanni when we were approached for this collaboration. Super stoked to hit the slopes on our new gear this year.
N: Since receiving the Coalition Snow’s Indigenous Backcountry Scholarship in 2021, I have been excited about working with Coalition Snow. I joined their Ambassador Team in 2022, and I have been a part of the committee that choose the winners of the Indigenous Backcountry Scholarship.
J: What did you find special about this project?
C & N: What’s really special about this project is how it came forward to us. Nahanni called out a ski brand for their cultural appropriation of Indigenous art on their skis. The ski community caught wind of this and it blew up on social media, and then they apologized and took the works down. Coalition Snow stepped up to do the right thing and commissioned an Indigenous artist to create this work, and that’s how Coexist x Coalition came to be.
J: What are you passionate about in this world and how does that relate to the graphic you designed for coalition snow?
C & N: We are passionate about celebrating our bodies, in all forms, and the relationships between people and nature. We want folks to ride our work and remember and respect the land that they are playing on.
J: Are there any other interesting facts about the creative process specifically on this particular project you want to share?
C & N: We were so inspired by this project that we ended up creating an entire lineup of ski designs that focused on a more neutral color palette and designs that we would be stoked to ride on, and pitched Coalition. We definitely want to see our work on more badass skis in the future, so keep your eyes out.
Meet Christina Armetta, one of our 23/24 guest artists. Her creations demonstrate her connection with nature, and this shines through, especially on this year’s Sojourner snowboard.
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