Elias Lamm has an element of volatility within him that touches everything he does. From filming and editing, to digital art, and riding his snowboard, he goes in with devotion and a unique lens that challenges the meaning of what we do on snow. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Elias cut his teeth at Hyland Hills, a predominant Midwest bump in the ground known for rope tows, rail gardens, and turning out talent. Through videos, events, and creative work, Elias has taken a stride to building up visibility in the queer snowboarding community. After releasing the Possy’s film Out At Sea last Fall, the Arbor rider spent the winter filming, travelling, and focusing on personal art projects and brands outside of snowboarding. We caught up with him to chat about how life is going, and how it’s all tied in together. – Ally Watson
How was your season overall this year?
Well, it’s been a rollercoaster. There was the Out at Sea (O.A.S.) premiere at the Saloon in Minneapolis on November 19th followed by the DUH event on December 8th-9th, which was a queer-focused event by Snowboy Productions partnering with Pink Dollar Possy and Trollhaugen. It was such a fun and special event. Marsha from Trollhaugen and Krush got the PDP featured in the local queer magazine, Lavender, with Devi Gupta on the cover! It was so fun and to have everyone come together for something like that, it is an amazing feeling. Krush made it a point to not have any sponsors while seemingly just showing raw fucking support. Forever grateful for that man!
Interestingly enough though, I was still on this roller coaster. Editing the PDP movie O.A.S. had me feeling burnt out. Good thing there are things we can ingest that spike your dopamine levels, right? That’s what got me on this ride in the first place though. As the ride continued to do corkscrews, I sank deep below during a night out at the Saloon, falling into the abyss. This incident resulted in a late arrival at the DUH event the following day. People asked me if I was okay and stuff—I didn’t want to talk much about it. I was embarrassed, zoned out, and just rode. Seeing J. ride in that cute mesh top while freezing them tatas off cheered me up.
Not soon after that, I hurt my rib late night at Trollhaugen. Jeffy was filming. Feeling myself, I hit a rodeo only to land square on my back, but somehow injuring my front rib. After taking some time to heal, I felt the initial stabbing pain next to my heart dissipate as I focused on art before the next Snowboy event, The Ridge Project. I was quickly reminded after a few tricks that my rib was not chillin’. So that night I drank a bunch of beer that I didn’t share with anyone else, ‘cause I knew I was going to drink them all. A great time though at the Flux house—shout out Liam Maffot, Pay the Rent, and all y’all. Feeling obliterated the next morning, I slept on the floor till about 2 pm—Alexis Hernandez-Roland and I slept in the closet in the master bedroom.
Clear that I was not riding that day, rib shooting pains into my heart, I laid there in an empty house in my sorrows as I was reminded I was missing out, reminded that I had let my friends down, I could have easily been out there filming. That night I met up with a guy named Mike on Grindr and that’s when my rib really started popping. You could hear it, he asked if I was okay as I groaned in pain that was not from the sex we were having at his office. Catching a flight home the next day on nurse Trudy’s orders, AKA Josh Tranby, we caravanned back the next day.
You had a busy winter between traveling, boarding, making art, filming, and events. What was your main focus?
The brands and in turn, the art. I was at the bottom of the roller coaster and knew we should be going up soon. Instead, the ride did a descent under the surface of the sea as a glass tunnel appeared while flickering lights from the sea gave way to creatures from only a dream. Not to be fraught because the tools to create held more power than ever as I dug deep while simply just being. Returning home, I got to work, play, and heal. Art showed me new worlds. While piecing together Out at Sea, I started dyeing shirts to sell at the premiere. That’s when I discovered how much I enjoyed it. To answer your question though, art. Art has been my main focus. I want to remind all the snowboarders out there that snowboarding is not everything and the tricks you land don’t define you—nothing defines you cause guess what, We Dyin.
Speaking of We Dyin, you’ve put a lot of focus into creating meaningful art through so many avenues. Can you talk about some of the concepts behind your work, particularly with We Dyin and Pixel Mold?
My mom is a graphic designer and worked a lot with a scanner. I became interested in making digital assets with scans. She had collected a set of barb wires that I scanned and pixel molded into animations, this is what sparked the Pixel Mold brand. I saw other filmmakers selling digital assets online that they used to bring a creative look and feel to projects. I spent countless hours scanning physical into digital and molding the pixels in Photoshop to make the graphics.
I had just finished the barbed wire graphics when Casey Pflipsen and I founded the Pink Dollar Possy. It dawned on me how perfectly the barbed wires would fit into the Possy aesthetic: Pink, queer, feminine side, clashed with the angsty, rusty, and pokey. It was meant to be and couldn’t have come at a better time. Incorporating the scans into the PDP videos was very rewarding.
In April of 2022, We Dyin hit me. Scanning flowers was becoming a main focus with no shortage of plants. I continued scanning whatever caught my eye. I saw the value in this and diverted my attention from video filters to graphics. My love for design was blooming. I was obsessed and still am—everything around me was art. Especially nature, antiques, rusty things, and just things I’d find on the ground—stuff that just looked like garbage.
I knew We Dyin was important to me, and I continued to put effort into the brand. I felt a purpose brewing inside of me through art. I understand the title, We Dyin, can be triggering—I mean how could it not be if you haven’t come to terms with the fate we all share. It’s a reminder, one that can be daunting, one that will bring us back to a form of suffering that is pointless, that we aren’t enough.
Did you study art or are you self-taught?
Well, snowboarding is what got me into making videos. My Dad got me a GoPro Hero when I was younger (which I still have). I began filming friends at Hyland and taught myself how to edit on Final Cut Pro 7. I remember making an edit and thinking, Wow, I love filming and don’t have a chance of becoming a pro snowboarder. But who knew that they went hand-in-hand?
Later, I was given an opportunity to intern for a local photographer, Jonathan Chapman, who I am very grateful for. I knew I wanted to start my own production company after seeing what Jonathan was doing. Soon after, I went to film school in Minneapolis at MCTC, the local community college. I started Media Lamm in 2019 which became a production company where I would showcase my work.
I started making video filters (LUTS), became obsessed with color grading, and taught myself to use Davinci Resolve. Confident that color grading was my new path as I tweaked levels, colors, and hues endlessly and incorporated these principles into my work, I continued scanning whatever caught my eye. I saw the value in this and diverted my attention from video filters to graphics.
A lot of your art implements provocative quotes and phrases. What is the intention behind that?
Words can hold their roots in the ground longer than the tree is alive. We are sometimes unable to see the truth when it is right in front of us, as if we have eyes in the back of our head. Anticipating your death is powerful and really can only bring you good, though it seems not that chill. But what is chill is that moment of bliss when you are doing a trick, given you land the trick, you are present at that moment, whether in the air, on a rail, or taking a big carve. I think all snowboarders can relate this feeling. Call it the blissey moment.
Where do you see yourself going as a multi-media artist?
Well, I want to share my reality and truth with the world while also showing the power of creating. Something every human is capable of—I mean something created all this.
Do you find it difficult at all to manage on-snow projects and your art projects?
Well, I believe snowboarding has been a driving force to create more art. When the spike that held the track for the coaster began to fly off and as the track behind me was swept away with nothing to hold the steel beam to the floor, it made it hard to manage all these projects at once. But if you practice a good ritual of simply preparing your space, getting the paint brushes ready, mixing the paint, and setting up your canvas, it will help bring all your creations to life. Forgetting that often myself and forced to keep reminding myself because that voice in your head that is trying to fuck shit up is good at making you forget what you already know is true in your heart. What you are longing to be.
When you scan enough of nature and can look at it close enough it does something to you. I had started these brands by simply following these things my heart longed for, working on the healing, and experiencing the transformation of consciousness. I knew what I needed to do and that is to make as much art as possible before I die.
Does your art inform your snowboarding, or vice versa, or both?
Well, well, well. I forgot and then remembered that they both do very much and seem to be intertwining more and more. Snowboarding is like art; it’s a form of expression. That is why there are so many rad ass, motherfucking snowboarders!
What was your favorite part of the season?
Well, I would say my favorite was “IT’S TITS!” at Sunshine Village in Banff. When Krush asked me to shoot and edit the video, I was so hyped. It was my first time filming a snowboard event like that, so I was a bit nervous with hints of imposter syndrome seeping in. It was such an amazing experience. You could feel the energy and everyone was just vibing. These events are so important. Krush is really leading the way to bring more inclusivity to this ever-growing community. I brought some shirts to the event and donated the sales to Boarding for Breast Cancer. I dyed my little heart out and block-printed some designs on the shirts.
What are you up to for summer?
Well, this summer I have been riding my bike, picking things up off the ground, scanning, and embodying my bloom-era. Life is great, except I forgot. The brands are everything. They have lives of their own. ‘Till now they have been mostly playing pong up in my brain—ping ping ping.
What does next season hold for you?
Next season holds whatever might be found on the ground. Hoping to make space in these pockets for the good stuff, but I just checked and lost everything in them on the ride, so there is plenty of space.
Any shoutouts from this past season?
Shout out to Krush, Smiley, Snowboy Productions, and Boarding for Breast Cancer. Huge shout out to Casey Pflipsen. Casey and I started the Possy. He goes with the flow and stands up for what he believes in. Shout out to J. DeForge. J Is a huge reason why I started expressing myself through snowboarding more, especially when it came to outfits. To Devi Gupta, she is a rockstar. Mariah Crabb, day one PDP photographer, Alexis Hernandez-Roland—Lex is a legend, to say the least. Laura Rogoski and everything with We’re All Mental. Shout out to my sponsors, Arbor Snowboards and Sessions MFG! Finally, shout out to my mom and dad, and yo mama.