There is a dividing line between people who approach snowboarding as art and creative self-expression and people who approach it as problem solving or competition. When the Olympics rolls through Sochi in 2014, the world will be watching snowboarding as athletics. Snowboarding as competition. Snowboarding as sport. But for those of us who are inside of it, those of it who are drawn to the community and expressive nature of snowboarding, it is something more. As a culture we respect the creative spirit above all else. It’s the reason a simple styled-out method garners respect from all who witness it and it’s the reason that Desiree Melancon stands out, both for her casual controlled riding, and for her artwork, with its pen and ink realism, its whimsical watercolors and, her graphically striking depictions of sexuality drawn from the censored pages of internet porn. (Yes, her catalog of work depicting the full-frontal female form will make you wish you didn’t click on her blog link in the middle of class or work.)
If I were to say that Desiree follows the lineage of any other snowboarder, I’d be lying. A more accurate comparison would be to say she’s like Pro Skateboarder, Elissa Steamer, who earned her place in skateboarding with skills, determination and an ability to blend into the masculine world as one of their own. Throw in a talent for fine arts and a face that can be outright beautiful and you have Desiree. Never one to trade in her looks for a thicker slice of the marketing pie, most photos of Desiree portray the snowboarder, not the girl. These photos are make-up free, a cigarette hanging off her lip, the dark circles of a night spent shoveling a run-in to a rail at 2 a.m. still lingering under her eyes. Most images depict Desiree at her roughest and toughest, the younger brother who shouts out profanity to be heard, the “Shock Jock,” from her years spent riding Big Bear.
Des has built a solid career the old-fashioned way– summers spent on Mt. Hood, a few hard-earned victories at rail jams in the early days and several seasons of filming video parts that both genders respect– most recently earning her Women’s Video Part of the Year at the 14th Annual Transworld Rider’s Poll Awards for the online edit she released last October.
To read the full article and peruse a work-safe photo gallery, go to http://xgames.espn.go.com/snowboarding/article/9846044/right-brained-desiree-melancon for the full story.