Mica Topsheet Project: Meet Artist John Coleman

It was a cool afternoon last October and the final details of Mica's inaugral artist residency had just come together in Mica Headquarters.  Moments later, marketing manager Izzy Lynch received a serendipitous text from her friend and artist John Coleman that included an offering: “if in any of your ski adventures you need illustrations, please keep me in mind…”

His timing was perfect and as a result he became our first confirmed contributor to the Mica Topsheet Project.

As John shared in his biography prior to his visit to his visit to Mica where he would be immersed in the mountains for four days of drawing and skiing with the goal of creating a custom ski topsheet inspired by his experience, “life is filled with all sorts of mysterious things. It's exciting when something shakes us a little and expands what we consider to be "real", "normal", and even possible.”

For John that expansion is the creative process, and art is one way in which he loves engaging with the mystery of creating.

John was raised in the forests of Ontario, but eventually the lure of the west brought him to the majestic Rocky Mountains and now Sooke BC, where he lives on the shores of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

“It is the wildness and wonder of nature and human potential that inspires my work.”

Together with exploring creativity through illustration, John has a Masters of Science in Sport Psychology and a PhD in Education and Kinesiology inquiring into the (im)possibilities of human movement. He does wellness and performance consulting and is the mental training consultant for the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic ski teams. He loves exploring all that the natural world has to offer, whether it be by means of the waves under his surfboard or with skis on his feet.

John’s style of art calls upon a soulful and playful connection with life. Through detailed illustration with splashes of colour he creates lucid dreamscapes saturated with movement and flow.

When asked what inspired the piece that he calls “Dream Catcher” John replied, “for me nature, and the mountains in particular, offer a tangible opportunity to wander and wonder in the liminal space between dreams and reality. In this liminal terrain time and space morph, our full range of emotions can run wild, and the physical, mental, and spiritual realms merge into one seamless field of possibility. The core intention of my art is to challenge, evoke, and invite the viewer into that wild, wonderful and expansive experience of possibility.”

John’s illustration features intricate detailing of Mica’s original lodge at the foot of Mt Dainard surrounded by other major peaks in the tenure. Swirling aurora borealis comes to life with bright color, and the dreamcatcher at the top is customized with a star chart that shows the location of the sun, moon and planets over Mica during his stay.

“The best thing about my Mica experience was the personal expansion that occurred through spirited conversation with the staff and clients, and through being immersed in the wild terrain of the Mica tenure, and then the fun challenge of sharing that expansion in the art piece I created. The experience was a beautiful teacher through which I learned so much about myself and others. Mica is a catalyst for personal growth through joyful, playful, and powerful engagement with nature.”

While just a few lucky guests will get to wear John’s artwork on their feet as they slide through powder on their next Mica adventure, everyone who visits will get to enjoy the original piece on display in Mica Lodge.

Check out more of John’s work on his Instagram page @colemanjohn.