We're stoked to announce that Venture's Zelix splitboard is a Backcountry Magazine 2015 Editors' Choice winner - that's two years running! Backcountry's testers called the Zelix "an all mountain slayer" and commented that the board was "solid but not a brick...[and] felt stable in all conditions." For the 14/15 winter season the Zelix is available as a regular snowboard and a splitboard. Detailed specs and more information are available here, or you can check out Backcountry's review.
Venture's new Shape Shack board, the Snowy Owl, was released last week. Like every Shape Shack project, this limited edition splitboard is the fruit of a collaboration between a guest shaper and a guest artist. For the board shape, Venture worked with resident shaper Johan Olofsson. For the Snowy Owl graphic, Venture commissioned original work from Washington State artist Shanna Duncan, who has created graphics for such notables as The Levitation Project, Queensryche and Fender Guitars. We caught up with Shanna to get an inside look at her inspiration, creative process, and involvement with this project.
Venture Snowboards: Your marching orders were to create a graphic with an owl (per Johan Olofsson's request), but did you have other inspiration at work in creating the graphics for this snowboard?
Shanna Duncan: Being a Pacific Northwest native, I get a lot of inspiration just walking out of my house. I live on the outskirts of a mountain and it's easy to immerse yourself in the beauty of this area. When Klem gave me the idea of the owl, he just told me to "run with it." That gave me a lot of room to work with and I just dove into the work. After doing some research I started working on the graphics and came up with the artwork for this board. It was a fun process and I'm really happy with the result. If anyone is familiar with my work, it can get pretty dark, garish and downright gruesome. The owl takes a pretty different approach. I appreciate the beauty and movement of this bird. I really like the simplicity of the color palette as well. It made me think about the fact that I live in and absolutely love the Pacific Northwest.
VS: Do the graphics have some special significance for you? What do you like most about them?
SD: Every piece of work I create has a special meaning to me. When I do the graphics for a board, the best thing about it is knowing that that piece of work is going to go on an adventure with someone, somewhere really special. That same train of thought applies to this owl. When I'm working on another peice of artwork or doodling in a sketchbook, he'll be spreading his wings on some mountain with someone who really loves being in his or her own element. I feel like that ties me to that moment in a way. It's a pretty cool feeling. And as an artist, it makes you even prouder of the work you created. Someone relates to it as much as you do and is willing to take it with them on his/her own adventure.
VS: Tell us a little about your background as an artist. What's your favorite part of the creative process?
SD: I have been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. My father was the biggest influence in my pursuing a career as an artist. I think that if he were alive today, he'd be very proud. As for my creative process, it's pretty all over the map. I get ideas from co-workers, family and friends. Or I'll be drinking coffee and will get a random thought. My favorite part is getting to the final product. It's amazing to see an initial idea evolve into a body of work. A lot like a science experiment with ink and paper.
VS: What are your thoughts on Venture Snowboards' Shape Shack?
SD: I think the Shape Shack is great. Life is about changing and snowboarding is one of those sports that takes things to the next level. Experimenting with shape, artwork and more keeps things interesting and the movement flowing within this industry. I see great things coming out of the Shape Shack and I'm excited to see what Venture has in store for the future.
The Snowy Owl splitboard is available through select Venture dealers as well as Venture's online store. Check it out here. To learn more about Shanna and her art, visit her website: www.shannaduncanart.com.
In our final installment of "Your Venture Starts Here" we take a peek inside the Shape Shack - Venture's experimental division. Stay tuned for new Shape Shack designs dropping later this month!
Go deep behind-the-scenes—and into the mountains—with Venture. This short video features some sick pow surfing by Johan Olofsson, behind the scenes footage from the factory, and more.