TJ Schneider: Kinetic Sketches
Kids naturally look up to their sports heroes. Sometimes that adulation is misplaced – just think of Michael Vick or Sean Avery – but occasionally an athlete deserves every bit of the attention he gets from his fans. Like TJ Schneider. Sure, he’s an accomplished snowboarder, and yeah, he founded the DIY video series Snowboard Realms, but there’s much more to TJ, which makes him something of a renaissance man: he is an amazing artist – totally self-taught – and his art has taken him places that not even his snowboarding could.
TJ’s riding is top-notch – the product of the combination of innate talent and years of dedicated practice. But his artistic ability comes from nothing more than idle doodling. That thing we all did in grade 7 social studies class, filling the margins of our notebooks with hyperactive blue-penned sketches of what was on our minds at the time: food if we were hungry, members of the opposite sex if we didn’t still think they sucked. TJ was the same, drawing endless snowboard graphics, sending them in to companies in an attempt to make his dreams come alive. Then, when he got a little older and was selling magazines door to door, he’d sit in parks and draw picture after picture.
His art is a natural graduation from those doodles. Whereas doodles are usually a fractional part of our mind’s consciousness, Schneider’s art is like a fully realized mapping of his brain. They more often than not feature a central image, surrounded by tangents in the form of kinetic sketches, splashed paint and the written word. The pieces look like Schneider opened up his brain and splayed it all over the canvas. That is no coincidence.
“Whatever moment is happening, whatever is going on around me, whatever song I’m listening to, I’ll just borrow things from everywhere and add it into the piece so it makes it more in the moment.” Schneider says. Thanks to his impulsiveness and unpretentious style (he uses whatever supplies are cheapest and/or whatever is lying around, namely pens and watercolours) he’s managed to get his work into a couple of gallery shows, and at one point he put pieces up randomly all around the streets of Vancouver. The majority of those pieces were stolen. But in a fashion that speaks volumes about his laid back style and personality, TJ just didn’t give a shit. Likewise, when it comes to selling his work he charges according to how much each piece means to him. Often he gives them away for nothing more than material cost.
His work isn’t just a simple passion or side project. TJ’s doodles have led to graphic design gigs with a variety of his sponsors. To date he’s designed around 22 snowboards for CAPiTA, a ton of tees for Lifetime and he designed every bit of his signature boot. That’s why Schneider is a great role model, even if he isn’t trying to be one. What kid who loves snowboarding hasn’t killed at least a few hours planning out their future pro model? TJ Schneider made it happen.
Make sure to check Tj’s:
Snowboard Realms HERE
MORE of his art HERE