Brooklyn Bell on Art and Change Makers
Brooklyn Bell’s goggles for our Athlete collection feature her own original artwork on the strap. We caught up with her to chat a little bit about the meaning behind the designs on her Pro Model goggle and how it came to life.
Smith: How does your time outside inspire your artwork?
BB: So many different things inspire my art. I love spending time outside. Like that moment between sunset and blue light, and those like light bulb moments that I have on my bike or on my skis are really inspiring.The cool thing about being an athlete is having the opportunity to go and see new terrain and have new experiences and see new landscapes.
I create a lot of art from imagination, but that imagination comes from a place. When I’m in different places, I’m absorbing all of the visual ideas of where I’m at. It’s almost like I’m creating this artwork/landscape vocabulary when I’m in a new spot, whether it’s the desert or Alaska, or right at home.
Smith: Can you tell us a little but about what it’s like to see your artwork on your own Pro Model goggle?
BB: It’s pretty surreal actually like to think of like how far I’ve come. I didn’t ever think that I was ever gonna be a Smith athlete. I didn’t ever think that I even met fit the mold. The only people I ever saw as Smith athletes were like Johnny Collinson and Angel, and it’s been so crazy seeing, seeing things change and then seeing myself change. The little girl in me who started making art at 12 in the computer lab, that was her dream was to create art and put it on things. It’s really special for me to have my own signature or Goggle and then also to be an athlete as well. Like, I’m probably the first black woman to have any of this.
Smith: Who were the some people who inspired you when you were younger?
BB: When I was little, I definitely was inspired by people who were change makers. I was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., I remember listening to his tapes when I was little. I thought he was radical, like rad. I was inspired by Kim Possible, like I wanted to be a spy or I wanted to be a scientist, but I don’t know if I had any actual outdoor role models. I never really saw that at all.
Smith: You didn’t see those role models in the space that you currently occupy, do you see yourself as a role model for others?
BB: I think I am. I don’t know if I see myself as a role model because like I do cool things, but I hope that people are able to connect with how I’m doing things. It’s a process and it’s hard any time I go skiing, I’m not showing up as a rockstar. I don’t feel like that. It’s the same thing with biking.
It’s such a process and it takes a long time to get good at sports, and I hope people see that it’s a process and it’s not straightforward, it’s not perfect, and sometimes it’s really messy. I just hope that people see that they can just do things and they can try things. If they wanna make a movie, or if they wanna put art on something, they should just do it. If you are able to just start doing it, then like you’re already doing it.