We caught up with Montana-based artist, adventurer, humanitarian, and environmentalist, Rachel Pohl to talk about life, art, change, and her upcoming collaborations with Rumpl: The NanoLoft® Puffy - Teton Dreams and The Everywhere Towel - Midsummer Tetons.
Your journey to an artist wasn’t a straight line, how did you get here?
In college, I had a professor who made fun of my work. He told me I’d never amount to anything. Honestly, his words made me love art a lot less. I’ve always been an artist, and at this point, I’ve now spent half of my life working towards this goal, but then in my early twenties, I felt a shift. I sort of lost myself and became wrapped up in focusing on how I measured up to other people in my mountain town. I became really focused on climbing hard, skiing hard, mountaineering- summiting huge mountains. I don’t think I was living my own dream at that point. I was just trying to fit in and trying to prove my worth to those around me.
What changed that for you?
One of my closest friends broke her back when I was mountain biking with her, and another friend passed away in an avalanche. It made me realize just how fragile life is and how important it is not to spend our time trying to prove ourselves to other people. After my friend passed away, I began to focus more on my art and came back to the wide-eyed excitement I’d once felt about it.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
My work takes so much time and so much effort in a world where everything is so immediate and so at our fingertips. I think artwork really has the power to change the way we think, and the reason my work is so detailed is that I want people to slow down. I want them to not worry about rushing to the summit of the Grand Teton or driving through the park and taking a quick photo. I want people to sit down and appreciate and just really experience these places.
What are you focused on now?
I am more focused on legacy and longevity and on just inspiring people to live a bit differently, and a bit slower and have more awareness of how they’re spending their time. I just hope that through my paintings and through my words and how I live my life, I can inspire some other people to look inside and think about what makes them come alive.