Bryan “Guch” Iguchi has a personality that transcends snowboarding. While he’s been on the podium at major competitions like the World Halfpipe Championships and the X Games, he’s also profoundly connected to the places that have shaped him. We partnered with Bryan to bring his dreamy designs of mountain landscapes to a collection of his favorite Smartwool® gear.
We sat down with Bryan to chat more about snowboarding, art and the power of place.
You’ve made the mountains, specifically the Tetons, your home for a couple decades now. What about the mountains inspires you?
It’s a combination of elements that evokes my spirit. A mix between the visual landscape and the rugged, physical playgrounds of seasonal change.
How is this sense of place reflected in your art?
It’s primarily the subject and focus of my artwork, a tribute to that sense of “awe” experienced in nature.
How were you introduced to painting? How did it become a passion?
When I was 18, I shared a house with my friend Mike. He was an artist and spent hours painting. It was really inspiring seeing the creative process first-hand and it didn’t take long until I started painting with him. It was a good time, we’d hang out for hours talking about life while making a beautiful mess. It’s become a lifelong passion since then.
Mountain landscapes are a common motif in your art. Why mountains?
I just fell in love with the mountains. Seeing these landscapes and traveling around the world in these incredible locations—I wanted to capture that feeling that the mountains gave to me.
You’ve been chasing powder since snowboarding’s early days, before half of today’s riders were even born. How have you seen the sport evolve? How has your riding evolved?
Over the last few decades, I’ve seen snowboarding evolve from a small group of rebels into a mainstream sport that’s widely known and for the most part “accepted” these days. As far as my personal path goes, my riding has evolved into a way of life focused on living and raising a family in the mountains.
What do you love about snowboarding?
Ridiculous missions into hostile environments… or maybe just a good session at the hill with friends and family.
How has snowboarding influenced the art you create?
The pursuit of riding keeps me “in spirit”. I’m always on a mission seeking new experiences exploring and riding the mountains. It is this influence that guides and dictates everything I do in my life. It’s a powerful force. Fuel for daydreams and creative visions.
Let’s talk socks. Creating these PhD® Slopestyle socks requires taking a 2D piece of art and transferring that to a 3D surface. It’s incredibly technical to knit. What was that process like?
It was fun but challenging. I had to try and imagine how the art would lay on the foot and try to understand and visualize how the art would translate from line art to a woven fabric. I discovered that its limitations were actually pretty cool, adding symmetry and simplicity to the design as a whole. I learned a lot from the experience and feel grateful to work with the amazing and talented designers at Smartwool who made it possible.
What was the inspiration for the Smartwool designs?
Purpose, places and comfort.
What can the mountains teach us?
Humility—and a deep appreciation and respect for the laws of nature.
Check out Bryan's capsule collection of Smartwool gear, and following on his adventure at @bryaniguchi on Instagram.