The Art on Burton’ displays reformation of snowboarding


Creative contributions from Burton artists and designers are on display at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe until April 15. 

“The Art on Burton” highlights the ability of the Vermont-based company’s gear, designers and riders to constantly reinvent the image of snowboarding.

A large portion of the Art Center resembles an expensive gallery, with boards from Burton on loan and original prints from contributing artists at eye level. 

One room is so cluttered with notes, drafts, business memos and doodles that the observer is left to wonder if it is an actual office at Burton headquarters.  

Lance Violette, the designer behind the Jeremy Jones graphics used on Burton products, assembled the office-like space where the 1998 – 2010 offices at Burton are brought to life in horribly misspelled letters from artists apologizing for “Fucking up and being lame,” tracing paper drafts of cuddly kittens and homicidal pigs.  

Model snowboards have their fiberglass and micro-thin veneer layers of cherry and walnut peeled away for all to see. Carefully detailed notes accompany them — what is a board to its rider if it does not ride well underneath its impressive graphics?

“The lines between designer, illustrator and snowboarder are severely blurred,” Violette said. Many contributing designers at Burton are snowboarders themselves.  

Jari Salo’s design for both the 2008 and 2009 Burton Malolo was driven by a desire to create a board that surfed on the snow. 

In a case where “ocean meets mountain,” hieroglyphic ocean symbols of Hawaiian origin found their way onto the board in long, black ink brushstrokes.

Other pieces are more recent. A black and red whale emboldened with intricate designs is the focal point of the 2012 Barracuda board’s bottom. Large canvases of family and utility vans painted in oil and covered with graffiti serve as the premise of Kevin Cyr’s 2011 Bullet board.

The Art on Burton exhibit is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment.