[Editor's note: This story is the fourth part of a seven-part series on the ski industry's most innovative thinkers and the original ideas that drive the sport forward. Check back next Wednesday for the fifth installment, an interview with a guy who can predict (accurately) when it's going to snow.]
When he's not painting or filming or being otherwise artistic, Eric Pollard, 27, is a pro skier. In 2007, Pollard joined up with Andy Mahre, Pep Fujas, Chris Benchetler and Eric Iberg to form Nimbus Independent, a film company with the goal of creating ski footage unlike any produced before. Now Nimbus releases a series of films throughout the season on their website. The next episode, part of a collection of trip-based films called "En Route," drops September 15. We spoke to Pollard about working for free, fine art and what inspires his ideas.
When we first started Nimbus, we wanted to do something completely new. I said, 'Let's stop talking about it, let's do it.' We've tried out many different formats. We've done DVD, we've tried to sell it online, we've given it away. We're constantly fine tuning. Our goal is to entertain and share our perspective on skiing in a package that's consumable for people.
I don't actually get paid from Nimbus. As a business, it's not successful. It's been a lot more work than I anticipated -- it's almost a full-time job. But it's worth it. I wouldn't say I do it for the love. I do it because I like to control how we're being portrayed. I like treating each movie like an art piece.
The audience expects something from us and believes that we're these all-powerful people who have a huge budget. But we really do it from the roots as much as we can, with sleeping on couches or whatever we can. We're not trying to wow people, we're trying to relate.
I do personal design work for different companies: a glove and backpack with Dakine, a helmet with Bern, skis and poles with Line, goggles with Dragon Optics. They're like signature pieces, except that instead of just picking out the artwork or color schemes, I lay it out. I am the artist and the designer and the skier.
The first canvas I applied paint to was a pair of skis. When I was in high school, ski graphics were all the same weird race-based graphics, all these geometric shapes and flames and stuff like that. They wouldn't span from ski to ski. They'd be printed on one ski. They weren't very appealing graphics. Initially, I was taking skis and painting over them. Then I started creating art for the particular outline shape of skis.
I try to produce a series of paintings each a year. I haven't had a chance to paint as much lately. Maybe I'll get a chance to do a series this fall. That's total freedom.
Everything influences each other. Skiing influences my art. My art influences my skiing. It's kind of like this cyclical progression. Everything I take in -- art, traveling, different cultures and people and environments -- seems to inspire some sort of graphic shape or something I want to paint. It's all kind of interwoven.