Art In Unexpected Places_Featured Story

BY: Mark Kristofic

Every once in a while, you meet someone who is truly inspiring. And often it can be someone who you least expect. 

My story begins when I was at a ski trade show and had two hours between meetings. Having scoped out a decent little hall with long tables, chairs, and a strong WiFi signal, I sat down to peck away at my computer and get some work done.

While I was engrossed in whatever it was that I was doing, I did not pay attention to what was going on around me, and as the hall was being transformed I was slightly confused as a young man came up and sat across from me and started seriously chatting me up. 

Art In Unexpected Places

In my typical anti-social manner, I slightly glanced up at him from my computer as he sat down and I gave a cursory nod to acknowledge his existence. Not getting the hint that I was not engaging, the young man continued to talk about himself and ask me about my work.

At this point, my experience of having kids came in handy as I have skillfully learned the art of throwing an informational bone to kids for them to chew on and digest so I can get an additional moment of peace. So throwing an information bone to this young man, I figured I bought myself another 30 seconds. Not the case – this only increased his curiosity and engagement.

I realized then that I was not getting out of this conversation, so I looked up from my life and death planet saving email and gave him a look of “why are you talking to me?” at which point he explained that I was sitting in a job fair where eager young workers were looking to break into the ski industry by talking to various prospective employers. The job fair equivalent of speed dating.

Now realizing that I was the idiot (a realization I come to at some point in almost every conversation I have), I decided to engage and learn a little more about him, and my initial feeling of annoyance quickly turned to inspiration and awe.

Zachary Ray, it turns out, is an extremely talented artist who dreams of working in the ski/snowboard industry as a graphic artist. He talked about how passionate he is about art and skiing and snowboarding and it would be a lifelong dream to work in the industry combining his passions. And though he spoke the words, it was his non-spoken enthusiasm and excitement that truly impressed me. This kid was dripping with enthusiasm and talent.

Then he showed me some of his work.

I don’t often use the term “mind-blown”, but my mind was blown. While there are loads of talented artists around the world, Zachary’s graffiti style art seemed to have it’s own unique feel and style. Many of the pieces were done on scrap paper that looked as though they were pulled out of a recycling box and turned into incredible pieces of graffiti art. Most impressive were what Zachery calls “Flip Flop Faces” – images of a face that when turned upside down it becomes a new face and expression.

Since our little chance encounter, Zachary’s company – Internal Bakery Co.– has started to evolve, grow, and thrive.

Art In Unexpected PlacesI am currently working on new designs for T-shirts and hats that will be exclusively sold at a local shop called Hoyal Board Co. in Colorado Springs,” he tells me. “Also we will be doing a collaboration between Hoyal and Internal Bakery Co. to produce a skateboard deck with one of my designs and both brands logos.”

There are many talented people in this world but I have the most respect for those who put themselves out there – ready to take on the rejection that comes with the territory. Zachary’s personality and excitement, combined with the raw talent, was truly inspirational to me and I hope that someone in the ski/snowboard world has the foresight to grab this kind of fresh talent to help the industry grow.

Check out more at: or Instagram @Internalbakeryco