By on November 10, 2015

Editor’s Note: As snowboarders near and far shed their blood, sweat and tears over the upcoming issue of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine, we decided to revisit one of our favorite pieces from last year.

(Photo: Josi Stephens)

(Photo: Josi Stephens)

Jamie Lynn is like a cat. He comes and goes as he pleases, actions are reflex and instinct. He is one of those photos where the edges are blurry with movement and the subject perfectly clear, everyone and everything in constant motion while he holds a strangely still center. Despite what folks think that they know, around him there is a calm. This man, a snowboard legend, an accomplished artist, a musician, doesn’t think about what’s going to happen or what has happened, he just lives.

“It’s just a matter of living a completely full and fun life,” Jamie says. “Not knowing makes it interesting, it keeps me moving forward.”

That is why he is still here and why, after two decades in this industry, there are still things to say about him.

Jamie’s art is a large part of the core Asymbol quiver, now and in the beginning. His work makes up a good chunk of the original collection assembled by Travis Rice and Mike Parillo in 2009. Inviting him to Asymbol’s new location in Jackson Hole to paint a wall was the next step. The result: vibrating color and dreamy visions. Much like his board riding and music making, Jamie’s art sends it off of the map that he himself has designed. There are nods to his roots and swings towards a fence that only he sees, the rules, whether he knows them or not, don’t really seem to apply.

The mural puts all of life’s driving elements – mountains, sun, snow, and water – on a linear plane. His simple, harmonious approach to color and subject is a companion to his snowboarding style – visceral and classic. After all of these years Jamie is still true to these basic ingredients.

As Jamie hits the 20-year mark of riding for Libtech the time is ripe for digging into his mind a little bit. The keeper of snowboarding’s evolution, Jamie has seen and done more in 20 years than some will do in a lifetime. Sitting with him and listening to his stories is like gathering around a campfire with those that came before as they share our collective history. Almost immediately all of the questions I had planned on asking went out the window, along with any hope of a traditional interview. Jamie quietly rejects conventional methods, which isn’t to say that he won’t share everything with you. He does. Nestled deep in rambling off-topic conversations were nuggets of info that if put together make a strange sort of narration.

“When I was young there was this neighbor kid who had a cat that was sick. I watched him try in many ways to kill it,” Jamie says. “He hung it up, kicked it, and finally drowned it in a sack. It was fucked up, probably the worst thing I had seen at that point. After that I just found myself harboring wounded cats. They would just show up and I’d nurse them back to health. That’s partially the reason that I paint them. Cats just do what they want. Mine usually end up lying down on top of what I am trying to paint, or putting themselves directly in my view so that I have to draw them. They demand attention.”

Jamie travels with a skateboard, a small backpack, and a guitar. And that is all that anyone really needs to know about what matters to him. The first stop for him was a skate session with Bryan Iguchi that didn’t end until blood was drawn. (Jamie skates like a demon on fire embracing the burn. Pain does not stop him.) When he’s not on wheels he has his guitar in hand. During his visit in Jackson, there was music for everything; Jamie is constantly strumming.

“Some of what I do is brilliance, some of it, bullshit. I just go with it.”

“Music is just as important as the art expression for me. I have been playing with Wes Makepeace (*Tittyfish* front man), which is amazing,” Jamie explains. “He has the most amazing voice, which lets me focus on playing guitar. Tittyfish is like a variety show with an evolving line-up, most of us have been playing together off and on for a while.”

The process of getting Jamie to Jackson, pinning him down for a proper interview, and the subsequent crafting of this article were illuminating experiences. Jamie is like smoke. If you grab at him or try to capture him in any way, he disappears. Every conversation with him, despite any efforts to the contrary, take on a Confucius like form. One sentence from him on any topic is concise and clear enough to end the entire conversation. We never talked about snowboarding, but by the time he left I understood the sport better than I ever have. I suppose that I understand quite a few things better thanks to him. It all just goes off the rails when Jamie is around. You have to just go with it. If I forgot to ask him about his life long career in the industry it was because it seemed irrelevant in the face of his current existence, his band, his art, traveling, storytelling.

“My grandpa Floyd always said, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Some of what I do its brilliance, some of it, bullshit. I just go with it.”

When the time came to start the mural, Jamie worked tirelessly, sometimes as late as 3 a.m. What I thought was going to be a rock star experience was more like hanging out with your grandpa in his work shed. He tinkers; you drink whiskey and get high off of spray can fumes.

On the way to the airport I told him about a quote I had just heard: “The richest places on the planet are the graveyards. That’s where everybody takes their dreams, their wishes, and they die there, undone.”

To this he replied, “I am leaving nothing for the grave. I am going to spend every part of myself before I get there.”

Oregon born, raised by the sea, Josi Stephens is a writer of words, designer of clothes, doer of things at Asymbol, lover, fighter and renaissance woman.

About Josi Stephens

You must be logged in to post a comment Login