MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Winter Spring 2017 - page 65

MountainLife: It all startedwith agirl, didn’t it?
Blake Jorgenson
: Iwas inhigh school, going to art class, and there
was a girl Iwasmadly in lovewith. Iwas pretty introverted as a kid
anddidn’t like to talk, but this girl was super artsy and edgy, so I
knew I needed to create some kick-ass art to get her to likeme. I
bet that if shewas inmymath class I’dbe amathematician right
now, but shewas into art and itworked. I got creative, got her
attention and thatwasmy first lesson, that art is a great gateway
for communicatingwithpeople and reaching people.
MountainLife:Whatwas her name?
I’mnot going to say, but that empoweredme for the
rest of high school to create art and reach out to people and see
what they thought. I spent a lot of time drawing or painting
inmy room, I was going to be a painter. In those days, there
was an advertising trend of painting giantmurals on the sides
of buildings.Now they just print themdigitally, but back then
someone actually hung from the building andpainted them by
hand, then sixmonths later a new adwould be painted over it.
The combo of hanging off the side of a building and creating a
painting appealed tome. It was thatmix of excitement and art I
was looking for, that I ultimately found inWhistler.
ML: Howdid youenduphere, whendidyouget
I came toWhistler on a ski tripwithmymom at age 16
and I was instantly connected. I was back living herewithin 16
months— I thinkmy first winter was 1993/94. I’dused a camera
before tohelpmewithmy paintings, but as soon as Imovedhere
I stoppedpainting and switched to photography. It allowedme to
be creative outside, not trapped indoors all day.
ML: Talk about thoseearly years inWhistler. The
late90swas awild timehere: snowboardingwas
blowingup and freeskiingwas just creeping in. It
was abit of agoldenera.
It felt like a kid fromKansas going toHollywood or
something. I’ve always believed that everyonewho ends uphere
is either running from something or searching to find something.
And I could instantly feel a connectionwith all the peoplewho’d
made that pilgrimage.Therewas this strong vibe of community,
andhelping each other, and especially a feeling of freedom. After
being pretty introvertedmost ofmy life, livingwith a bunch of
roommates and the heavy social scenewas really good forme. I
remember working in a ski shop, skiing every day and then I’d get
a paycheque for $800 and be stoked: “What am I gonna dowith
all thismoney?!”
ML: Buy cameragear! Talk about thoseearlydays
–breaking in as aphotographer?
When I started, therewasn’tmuch of an industry and
getting a photo publishedwas huge.This was pre-digital and
pre-Internet. I would sit withmy buddies andwe’d look at slides
from twoweeks ago, that was the onlyway skiers could seewhat
they haddone.Then I’d label it andFedEx the original slide to
Thegoodoldhockeygame,mountain style.
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