Meet Max Romey: The Artist Behind The Earth Day Elevation Tee
Stop and sketch the mountains with GoPro Award and Million Dollar Challenge recipient, Max Romey, as he takes his watercolors and sketchbook around the world.
GoPro first caught wind of the whimsical artist in 2019 when he received a GoPro Award for a submission of himself sketching the French Alps. He followed this up with a HomePro Challenge Award in April 2020. Then, we teamed up Max officially in November to promote the right to vote in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Shortly after, his watercolor skills WOWed GoPro again and earned him one of the coveted inclusions in the HERO9 Black Million Dollar Challenge.
Now, we’ve circled back with our favorite backcountry artist to brighten up the GoPro Lifestyle Gear lineup.
First up, to celebrate Earth Day this year, Max penned the limited-edition tee Elevation Tee design featuring a whimsical watercolor mountain range. (That's Max sporting the tee in the lead image to this post!) In honor of the artist’s ongoing conservation efforts, GoPro will be donating 10% of the Elevation Tee’s proceeds to the nonprofit organization Protect Our Winters (POW). And in June, Max’s second work of art will be featured on a multi-use neck gaiter named Alpenglow after its colorful sunset summit scene.
We caught up with Max to learn more about his journey with GoPro and his creative process in general. Check it out below!
GoPro: Max! You first caught our eye with your GoPro Awards submission, “Sketching the French Alps.” Not only are you an insanely talented artist, but you also did ALL of the editing and filming for that video. What inspired you to first pick up a paintbrush?
Max: I was diagnosed with Dyslexia at a young age, which really changed my life. I had been struggling with reading and writing for a while, but to know that was going to be something I would deal with my whole life felt really scary. Painting and cameras became a way I could express and my love of the outdoors, without worrying about loosing my creativity in the misspellings. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right?
When did you first pick up a GoPro?
Before I touched my first GoPro, I had been dragging big clunky cameras into the mountain. I remember attempting to get creative shots by taping and strapping my DSLR to rocks and paintbrushes, but always being disappointed. When I held a GoPro for the first time, I was shocked by how small it was and thought: “Aha, I might finally be able to get some of those shots!”
Do you have a go-to mount or accessory that you take with you on all your adventures?
My go-to is the Magnetic Swivel Clip and an extra battery. With the clip, I am able to turn just about anything into a tripod and having fewer options forces me to be creative with my shots. Attaching the GoPro to brushes, rocks or, even, myself makes for some really fun angles.
Do you have a favorite moment that you’ve captured on GoPro?
My favorite moments captured on a GoPro are the time lapses that show you things you don’t even notice until looking back at the camera. The way a three-hour painting comes together all at once or how you can see clouds disappearing in the background—things that are impossible to see in real time. Time lapses let you see life at a different speed, and there is something magical about that!
Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get start or reignite a passion for painting?
Painting is a really hard thing to get back into. It seems that everyone is born an artist, but slowly, the creativity that I loved so much as a kid got further and further away. The trick to getting back to art is learning to put perfection aside and focus on the fun parts. If you do anything for long enough, you will become good at it (even art, trust me) but the path there does not have to be a grind. It’s ok to focus on the parts you love instead of what we think art should be, and so long as you are having fun, it counts. The perfection will show up once you have stopped trying to get there.
What inspired your original artwork for the Earth Day Elevation Tee?
The artwork for this shirt was inspired by a hike from Eagle River in Alaska. Our season’s transition really quickly up here, so you have to soak it when you can. The snow starts on the tips of the mountains and dusts its way down the mountains, transforming our valleys in front of your eyes. I wanted to try and capture that feeling of the landscape balancing on the brink of winter but still so vibrant and colorful.
Is this the first design you’ve ever had printed on shirts?
Moving from sketchbooks to shirts is new for me, but I am always looking for ways to capture and celebrate this amazing colorful world. Being able to share my work and support the organizations that help protect landscapes like this is a dream come true!
You can purchase an Elevation Tee here, and follow along on Max's adventures here.