Interview Series: Corey Smith

Art director/artist/pro snowboarder/snowboard designer Corey Smith is a man of many hats. He calls Los Angeles home, but recently, Corey’s been ripping it up in Lake Tahoe, while also taking on the life of an RV’er – trekking over the Rockies in search of the best powder! And guess what… he may never pay rent again! He’s got his mountain mojo back! He recently reconnected with his love for the mountains and the lifestyle, he’s present to support his snowboard team, and he can do his work as art director for street-style clothing company Comune all from the comfort of his own RV! Ha! Don’t you wish your were doing that too?

Corey prefers powder to his big-air days, and recently spearheaded a really cool snowboard company/art project called Spring Break Snowboards, with a focus on wooden powder-specific snowboards (perf for those 36 inch days of powder). We had a moment to catch up with Corey, and this is what he had to say about his wanderlust lifestyle:

LF: You are a pretty active person – painter/photographer/art director/professional snowboarder – how to you balance it all?
CS: I just like to stay busy. I don’t watch TV. I think that occupies a lot of most people’s time. I also only require minimum sleep. Like 5-6 hours a night is plenty I have some friends that need to sleep 12 plus hours a night. I think it’s weird when people like to sleep. That’s like saying you like being sick and out of commission.

LF: You have taken to the road in an RV as of late. Do you find it difficult to manage your work life while on the road? Are you taking a lot of photos?
CS: I’ve been on the road working on another snowboarding film project for COMUNE. You can see last season’s project at It’s important for me to be up here with the team guys, filmers, and photographers. I oversee the entire operation. I can connect and motivate everyone way better when I’m on the road and dealing with them on a day to day basis. It’s a million times more effective than just being some guy in SoCal that never snowboards and just calls and sends emails.  I love living in an RV. I don’t think I’ll ever pay rent again. It’s an interesting lifestyle change but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do and you only live once! I can live anywhere I want, the beach, the mountains, and the desert. All I have to do is drive my house where I want. I’m like a turtle haha!

LF: What are your travel destinations? Are you following storms?
CS: I’m primarily based out of Tahoe. It’s been an incredible winter here. We’ve gone through Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. We try to go wherever it’s good.

LF: Let’s start with snowboarding facts. When did you start? What mountains have you lived on? Whats your fav, park or powpow? What is snowboarding to you? Do you miss the pro life?
CS: I think I started around 95. I’ve lived all over. I prefer powder these days. I like hiking in the back county and finding unique spots to ride. No, I don’t miss the lifestyle too much. I’m content with where I’m at. If anything I just miss the simplicity of that lifestyle but I don’t miss the stress, fear of injuries, or the politics. I’ve definitely fallen back in love with snowboarding this winter season. It’s my passion and I love it more than anything. If snowboarding isn’t part of my lifestyle, I’m a miserable person. I need to be in the snow every winter. I’ve tried to go a couple seasons without it and I just turn into a grouch. I’m a physical person and I need the outlet.

LF: Tell us a little bit about how you came to be the art director of COMUNE.
CS:  The planets aligned and I was in the right place at the right time. Art director is my title but everyone at COMUNE contributes on so many additional levels other than what their job title is. Everyone really believes in what we’re doing and is down to help wherever needed.

LF: You call COMUNE a contemporary street and creative culture brand that embraces the rawness and imperfections of the everyday life. How does this statement influence your art direction choices?
CS: I think it just enables me to have a lot more freedom creativity. We’re not trying to have some spick and span super positive clean pretty boy image. I think we represent what people are really into and what life is really like.

LF: Do you wear COMUNE clothes?
CS: Yeah of course! Head to toe!

LF: You’ve got a motley crew of skaters and snowboarders as contributors to the brand. Talk a little bit about this culture that you are so deeply immersed in and why it is important for the brand.
CS: I just think we’re more interested in style, finesse, and creativity rather than sport. Football is a sport, basketball is a sport, skating and snowboarding are not. I think they’re better than that. I think they’re both an art form. They’re both a physical expression of creativity. While they both do require some level of athleticism they are more of a creative outlet than a sport. When it’s thought of as a sport it just becomes the same as gymnastics or something. Creativity and style can’t be scored or judged. That’s the beauty of it. The only reason people try to pass it off as a sport is so they can cash in off it.

LF: We heard that you collaborated with Capita Snowboards on a few boards coming out this summer.  Without giving away the concept, can you talk a little bit about your inspiration for the designs?
CS: I’ve been contributing board graphics for CAPiTA for about 8 or 9 years now. We usually incorporate some of my artwork or I’ll do a theme specific graphic. For this next season we did a graphic inspired by 1980’s skier pin up girls called the “Totally Awesome” series. It’s a spoof on some old ski posters.

LF: Your series ”Obsolete Dreams” carries quite a heavy load: dreams and death. What in your life influenced this work?
CS:  That series is more about collective dreams and ideals dying or becoming irrelevant rather than actual “death” of say a person. I’m constantly gleaning inspiration from the world around me and situations happening in my life.

LF: Any new paintings/shows in the near future?
CS: I just started a handmade snowboard company/art project called “Spring Break Snowboards”. I started making wooden powder specific snowboards. They’re all one of kind hand made boards and functional art pieces. They’re amazing. I totally fell back in love with snowboarding by building and riding these boards. I’m working on a video edit and developing content for the site. I’m planning on setting up some art shows featuring the boards and photos and video of us riding them. I’ll probably launch it this coming summer. I also started working on some new abstract work “Spectral Ellipses”, which is a huge stretch for me creatively if you’ve ever seen any of my past work.

LF: In last year’s interview with Yobeat, you shared some crazy stories. Has life continued down this path or have you found the love of your life? Any Corey Smith DNA news?
CS:  It’s funny, people always ask me about that interview or they think I’m some total druggie. I’m like, don’t you know that people who talk about partying openly are never the ones caught up. It’s the people that never talk about it and try to be secretive who are the total loser junkies. Whenever I try to chill out things get crazy. Whenever I’m like, “let’s party and go nuts” it’s always anti climactic and boring. I guess that’s the way the universe works. I prefer to be productive and creative rather than hung over and partied out. I wouldn’t be able to do half of the stuff I do if I was a total party boy. But as they say, when in Rome.

LF: Are you Rock N Roll or Punk? Are you gangster rap or hip hop?
CS: Ha ha well, I’m definitely not into rap. So yeah I guess I grew up with rock and punk so it’s in my blood.

LF: If you could hang out in your RV for a few days with anyone in the world, who would it be?
CS: That’s a hard one. Living or dead? I don’t know, for living maybe Alison Mosshart? She could sing some songs to me. For dead, maybe Jesus so I can find out what all the hype is about.

LF: How do you LIVE FAST?
CS: I’ve been living fast since I can remember. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

LF: Art Talk: What inspires you? Favorite art or work?
CS: So many things. I’ve been really interested in abstract work, Cy Twombli is a huge inspiration. I think I’m growing out of my social commentary phase of my artwork.

LF: Sex Talk: What gets you off? Literally or figuratively?
CS: I’m a pretty sexual person, it’s a wonderful part of life. I think creative, intelligent woman are the most interesting. I don’t really care about physical looks as much as I did when I was younger. Confidence, charisma, and humor are the sexiest attributes a woman can have. Laughing and sharing a joke with a woman is almost as good as sex. Good fashion sense also turns me on too!

LF: Travel Talk: Favorite destination or travel stories (besides this epic journey) that you want to share?
CS: I don’t know, I’ve had so many epic adventures. Drunken stolen bicycle riding through Shibuya in the middle of the night was a memorable experience. I met a lovely Japanese woman who took me home. Lake Como Italy is one of the most romantic places I’ve visited. Cervinia Itally is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever snowboarded. You can take the gondola up and cross the boarder into Zermatt Switzerland. You have to show your passport to these skier boarder patrol guys in red ski suites and guns. It was straight out of a James Bond movie. I love traveling so much, it’s the most important privilege a person can have.

Let’s finish it off with this flic! You’re in for a surprise!

Eating of the Heart. (featuring original artwork by Noel Sinclair Boyt) from Corey Smith on Vimeo.

L’Agent Goodies…