Lauren Bello is part of the collaborative team that is Coalition Snow, but as an artist, she is an individual with a unique lens through which she views the world. If you’ve noticed and admired how Coalition isn’t afraid to go out on a limb and take a risk with something new, then you might be able to track that spark of innovation back to Lauren’s creative artistic vision.
What about your background got you to where you are today with Coalition?
I grew up in New York. I majored in Neuroscience and Art at a liberal arts school back east, and after working in Wall Street for a couple of years I went back to school to mesh my interests. I got my Masters in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. After that I moved to San Francisco and worked at an architecture firm there for about 8-10 years before committing to making the move up into the mountains with my husband. I knew that leaving the city, I would leave my career as a commercial designer. I thought I might do residential design up here, but it didn’t pan out, leaving me with the freedom to pursue my passion projects, like furniture and illustration.
I met Jen Gurecki about 3 or so years ago. She put out a call for a graphic designer and I sent her my portfolio. My dad was in marketing my whole life, so I knew a lot about brand build out and tip to toe, head to tail branding. Coalition needed a Creative Director to take photos, design the soft goods, that kind of thing. It was a good fit. The leadership here at Coalition is very collaborative and appreciative of good art.
You work with so many different types of art—architecture, design, sculpture, photography, illustration—is there one type that you prefer?
I really actually love doing all of it. Some personalities like cohesion and one sided projects—I’m not like that. Everything I create comes from me, which gives it my unique touch. It all fits together and I need to be working with everything at once. It’s like a fire that I am constantly fueling. I love rehabbing new things and making them new, using found objects to make art like people have been doing throughout human history. That’s where my artistic passion is. I find recycling fulfilling and even if I’m not going to reuse an object for it’s intended purpose, it’s not going in the dumpster.
Coalition is very in tune with sustainable practices. I get a lot of inspiration from that.
What what inspires your designs for skis and how is it different from other projects?
One of the joys of art for me is creating something people haven’t seen before. Whether or not I think I am a great artist, I enjoy my own perspective. It’s very energizing for me to come up with my own designs and ideas. I think other artists would say the same. I consider myself a pretty good curator of ideas as well.
A product is the ultimate billboard, the ultimate canvas for an artist. It’s not about ego, it’s about putting an idea out there and asking people to think about it. Our graphics are not just something we throw on the ski. They are an opportunity to continue what we like to do, providing a new and fresh perspective on something that we’ve seen a million times. It’s an extension of our other work.
What is Coalition’s brand, it’s style?
“Edgy” is a catch all, but it conveys how we are constantly thinking of what’s new and different. Women’s products have always been a target. They are generalized because we are assumed to only like one thing. Coalition is not only redefining what a brand for women is, but we are redefining what that looks like.
By now, if you’ve been paying attention you know why “pink it and shrink it” sucks. But it’s more than just that. The thing is, some women like pink and purple, some women like blue and green, some really like red and black. Coalition is ignoring what has been done before and redefining what we are supposed to like. We just create things the way we prefer them to be, and other women respond to that.
What’s your favorite design you have done for Coalition?
They’re all like my kids! I see them as a collection. I think of them as different parts that belong to something whole, and they all mean different things to me. I see them as my thoughts, as essays, and I can’t pick a favorite.
That’s part of what we are doing here at Coalition. We’re not just churning out products, everything we’re creating is a piece in a puzzle. We’re not just offering the same old stuff, it’s an exploration into a new way of branding that is coming totally from women.
How does your messaging as an artist align with Coalition?
I do things differently. I try to do things better than I have seen before. I always approach situations from a new perspective and find my own boundaries within an industry.
Coalition is similar. We’re coming at the ski industry from a totally different perspective. We’re not relying on the traditional status quo to sell our products, we’re out there selling it for ourselves. We’re asking other women who believe in what we are doing and share the word. Our approach is to be nimble and evolve, to not be beholden to the current paradigms. That’s the beauty of my art, too. That there are no rules.
What Coalition product would you be and why?
I don’t know if we’ve made my product yet. The product that will embody what I am is totally new and out there. It’s reliable, but I would be the ski product that is just so innovative and futuristic that it hasn’t been developed yet. It’s the next generation of women’s snowsport equipment that is born out of a liberated and completely attainable but as of now still underdevelopment. Keep an eye out for this highly classified, exciting release. If anyone is going to make it, it’ll be us here at Coalition.
As told to Jill Sanford