Mountain Minimalism—The Next Level

Emerging Boulder artist and graphic designer Adam Sinda spends his days working at Made Movement, an ad agency in town. But the Colorado native also loves to paint in his free time and has created original art for two Alpine Modern t-shirts—which he personally modeled for us during a photoshoot set in our own alpine backyard. When he’s not designing or painting, the twenty-four year old loves to get out on the trails and run, alone.

We caught up with Sinda at the Alpine Modern Café to talk about Denver and Boulder’s art and design scene and how Alpine Modern is pushing the envelope on what defines Colorado.

A conversation with trail-running designer Adam Sinda

AM   What’s your creative process?   

AS   Typically, I photograph outdoors; landscapes or anything I am inspired by. Then I bring it back to my room and try to simplify the form as much as possible—and add color. I’ve been working with color, lately.

AM   What was your path to becoming a graphic designer?

AS   I got a graphic design degree from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, but I loved to take oil painting classes. That was probably my favorite art class. Design to me is so restricting, sometimes. And walking into an oil painting studio, you can just be yourself and experiment and play and get dirty. Most of my world is making stuff that’s going to be sold, and when I am painting, it’s for me.

AM   Meanwhile, you are a graphic designer at Made Movement...

AS   Yes, it’s an agency, and we work with brands like Lyft. Typically, we do everything from apps to web banners to illustration.

AM   But you also do your own designs, and you have created art for Alpine Modern... 

AS   When I find a brand I can relate to and I want to be a part of, I jump in, anytime. I really feel Alpine Modern meets my ethics and aesthetics. I was working with photographer Garrett King, and we were just getting out there and going for hikes, just living in the moment.

AM   You have designed two t-shirts for Alpine Modern. What makes that medium interesting to you?

AS   The fact that other people are going to be wearing it and expressing themselves with it. Though they may never know who made that t-shirt.

AM   What inspired those two particular designs?

AS    For the Circular tee, what was inspiring me at the time was Alpine Modern’s Instagram. The motif is an abstract pulled from a photograph, and I started sketching and minimizing what I saw, just keeping it clean, simple, modern.

The second tee was the Typography t-shirt. It’s always fun to organize type in a particular way. I traded a mood board with the Alpine Modern team, and that shirt evolved from there.

AM   What does it feel like to now see your shirts at the Alpine Modern Shop on Pearl Street?

AS   It makes me feel good, happy. Mainly, it makes me feel like I am part of a culture that’s growing right now. A shirt is a simple thing. People build buildings, and people build houses. But sometimes it takes t-shirts and art to make you feel part of a culture. When you’re a developing artist, what you strive for every day is just to be heard, whatever medium it is.

“A shirt is a simple thing. People build buildings, and people build houses. But sometimes it takes t-shirts and art to make you feel part of a culture.”

AM   What’s your message you want to be heard?

AS   Wherever you are, when you are in a very attractive scenery in the mountains or in a landscape, you’re backpacking somewhere in the woods, take advantage of that moment and remember it because when times get rough, it is nice to pull from those images, and that’s what I would like to say, live in the moment when you feel it’s right. Take a mental photograph.

AM   You say your Alpine Modern t-shirts makes you feel you are part of an emerging culture...

AS   Right now you can see Denver developing this art culture. But to be honest, I think it is still refining what it wants to be. And Boulder has a huge opportunity to be a part of what downtown Denver is doing right now. And I think Alpine Modern can play into that world and really push the envelope on what Colorado is seen as. It’s cool to see Alpine Modern developing that image right now and really altering what artists are doing today.

AM   Describe the Colorado art and design scene for someone from perhaps Berlin or Japan, who has never been here.

AS   Art and design here is currently very minimal, very clean, but there are sparks of an identity evolving, and I think we are going to see a shift here. Clean and simple is fun, but what is the next level? What’s after that? Do we start developing some play with color or abstract forms? What’s that next shift? Because if everyone starts doing minimalism in Colorado, you will start seeing it get stale. I think in Colorado in general, we want to create a better culture, we need to spark something a little bit stronger, but I think we are still figuring out what that is.

AM   Where will your next spark come from, building on that clean mountain minimalism?

AS   Im really inspired by the 3D world right now. It’s fun to take these minimal objects and shapes and use 3D software programs to see behind them and see around them. A lot of designers these days just use Illustrator and very flat design. If you can design and know what’s behind objects, you start to see different light and that’s really interesting to me right now, so I’ve been experimenting with those programs.

AM   What is the connection here to being in real landscapes and real nature? Hiking in the mountains is this quintessential three-dimensional experience because you do go behind the trees and behind the mountains and behind the next bend...

AS   You’re spot on. When you’re out there with your friends, you’re moving towards an object and you’re reaching a goal. You are achieving something while you are hiking, going from A to B. And it’s fun to see how our designs are going to change with time. We have these VR headsets come out, and it’s gonna be fun to see how 3D plays into Colorado’s art culture. Colorado is such a good place to be right now as a graphic designer and an artist in general, and it’s just going to be even better.

AM   What do you do when you are in the mountains?

AS   I’m a huge runner. I used to compete in college, in the steeplechase. It has always been my escape. You just put on your running shoes and short shorts and get out the door and run. I love hiking, don’t get me wrong, but there is something cool about just going out and going for a jog by yourself for an hour and then come back and feel refreshed and ready to go. The cool thing about Boulder is you are really never that far away from a really sweet trail.

AM   How has your love for the mountains influenced your design work?

AS   Greatly. Growing up here and having lived here my whole life, seeing the mountains is comforting. And I think the they say a lot. △