Kay Leggott has always skied and made art but now she combines the two with her super rad designs adorning Faction Skis. Below she chats skipping uni, needing nature and how the media has a responsibility to offer multidimensional representation of girls. Right on
Photos by Melody Sky
I’m from Yorkshire in the UK but I’ve been living in Verbier, Switzerland for the last few years.
I was an obsessive doodler at school. I remember we used to have these notebooks and I would draw all over mine. I was a bit of a nerd and there was one girl that I was really scared of until one day I caught a glimpse of her notebook and she’d copied all my doodles onto her notebooks cover! That was when I knew I was onto something!
My art work has always reflected my circumstances so there’s been a natural progression to it. My family were involved in horse breeding so I developed my fine art skills by doing portraits of horses. And then when I left home and started travelling I became interested in street art and abstract painters from the 1960s. This was because I was visiting galleries while backpacking and getting lost down dodgy side streets.
I never went to university. I got accepted but lasted two weeks as I couldn’t handle routine. I was much better suited to learning on the job. Ironically I was incredibly disciplined at studying in my own time outside of a classroom situation.
I find that I have two types of inspiration, the first is my surroundings, I have to be near nature. I wouldn’t be productive living in a city. And the second is I have a visceral response to paint. Its texture, colour, layers, how brush strokes sit next to each other. And it doesn’t have to be in a picture it can be some random paint marks on a skip, but seeing that will make me want to create something.
I’m a skier and a paddle boarder. And I do both so I can strengthen my bond with the environment and be close to the elements. The most rewarding thing is developing a skill level whereby you can be in places that under normal circumstances you would not be able to access. And through that learning process you develop an understanding that allows you to respectfully merge with the environment.
It’s hard to get me in a flap about things because I purposefully live a simple life to avoid a lot of the modern aggravations. Although it troubles me how standard issue media is decorated with a focus on women’s body image and sex appeal. The media is a very influential commodity and I think it has a responsibility to offer entertaining yet multidimensional representation of girls. To use sex and purely narcissistic imagery is lazy and encouraging young girls to become obsessed with only one side of what they can be.
I also find social media very voyeuristic. I’ll concede there’s a community spirit to it, but again I feel it encourages a lot of people to develop a desire to fabricate a two dimensional life. But on the plus side these issues give us something to rally against and try to push through what we believe to be a healthier alternative for media content.
Currently I am working on the artwork for Factions women’s skis. The 2013/14 collection is out now, and we are organising an exhibition of the original artwork that’s on the skis to promote the line. Also I have just completed the artwork and promotional material for the 2014/15 line which we did in Capbreton, France. That was really exciting and shows how much momentum the women’s lines are generating.
I’m really enjoying having Faction as a nucleus for my work. I have wonderful freedom working with them to create all kinds of art, and it motivates all my personal work too. I want to keep working on developing original art that gets adapted onto the skis.
And I would love to work with environmental organisations creating art to raise awareness for their campaigns.