Imaginary Lines: Chris Benchetler
The Art of the Outdoors: Chris Benchetler
We've collaborated with unique and talented artists, athletes, and storytellers to bring to life their unique blend of self-expression, passion, and love of the outdoors.
Meet professional skier, artist and Smartwool athlete, Chris Benchetler.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Mammoth Lakes, Ca. I try to ski, surf, climb, paint, and spend as much time outside as possible.
How did you fall in love with the outdoors and creating?
By virtue of my parents raising me in the Eastern Sierra. We spent every weekend in the winter skiing, and every weekend in the summer camping on a lake wakeboarding.
Can you describe your style of art? Why did you choose this as your main medium?
I don't know that I have a distinct style. I’m trying to learn and
evolve as much as possible as an artist. Since I’m not attached to one
specific medium, and never went to art school, I try to experiment as
much as possible while exploring different parts of my mind,
expressions, etc. I gravitate most toward acrylic, and I paint pretty
literal art inspired by mountains, trees, and waves, but I recently
did some abstract stuff with an artist friend in NYC that really
forced me to break down those literal barriers. It was challenging but
very fun to see it take shape.
Where do you find your inspiration outdoors?
In the natural landscapes, textures, and shapes of all that Mother
What do you consider art in the outdoors that others might not see/observe?
I see skiing, climbing, surfing, biking, etc. all as a form of
drawing lines. I try to look at the canvas in front of me as an
opportunity to draw a line from feeling and improvisation, rather than
expectation or goals. It’s nice to let the mind be instinctual, and
let the body flow.
What is important to you about balancing art, life, and being outdoors?
Exactly that. It gives my life balance.
What has been your most memorable adventure?
Adventure is usually when you're challenged and put to the ultimate mental or physical test. Basically when things go wrong, so I’d say my most memorable “epics” are in climbing and surfing. I obviously have a lot skiing memories as well, but since I’m more comfortable on my skis I tend to balance that mental threshold a bit better, and get in over my head quicker in climbing and surfing.
What are three things about you that most people may not know?
I tend to be a pretty transparent person, so I’m not too sure. Over the course of my ski career I think I've shared most of my personal life. From losing my dad to cancer, his Hungarian heritage and escaping to the US, my relationship with Kimmy, I have a child, etc. For better or worse social media has really put it all out there as well.
We’re excited to feature your art across a range of socks and graphic tees. Which of your collab items turned out to be your favorite?
Great question. I am a lucky man, and you guys chose quite a few pieces of my art… I say we keep the collab’s going and my favorite one has yet to come ;)