Story and photos by Brad Andrew
From the outside, the unassuming white stucco-clad building on the corner of Flora Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Bellingham looks no different than the monotonous rows of storefronts and office spaces surrounding it. What lies within the confines of these utilitarian walls, however, most certainly sets it apart. Once you pass through the glass storefront doors and step onto the terrazzo tile, you are stepping out of a world of bland monotony and escaping into a world of inspiration and beauty, the walls before you adorned with unique woodwork, vibrant paintings and photographs. You are stepping into the world of N-Grained Inc., a workshop, gallery and collaborative space for an evolving community of like-minded artists.
N-Grained Inc. is the brainchild of Bellingham resident Mark Landvik, one of the top professional snowboarders in the world. Landvik travels the globe every year in search of exotic locales and the perfect snow. His exploits on the snowboard can be seen in Brainfarm Production’s films, The Art of Flight and That’s it That’s All. Landvik has carved out a living doing what he loves, and this career path also helped plant the seed that grew into N-Grained Inc.
While filming for The Art of Flight in 2010, Landvik suffered a catastrophic knee injury that turned his world upside down. During the downtime after the injury, he took to woodworking to ease his mind. He emptied out his garage and turned it into a wood shop, building custom furniture for clients and friends with beautiful live-edge slabs of wood.
It was the grain in the very first piece of live-edge spalted maple he purchased that lit the bulb for what would become N-Grained Inc. The singularity and beauty of the grain in the wood inspired Landvik, and he realized it could never be replicated. Neither could the works he was creating; their uniqueness was deeply embedded, ingrained in the wood itself. The name N-Grained Inc. was born, but it wouldn’t be until the summer of 2015 that Landvik’s busy lifestyle would afford him the time to fully realize the vision.
In June 2015, Landvik invited snowboard legend and world-renowned artist Jamie Lynn to his home to help with the design of his 2016 Lib Tech Signature Model snowboard graphic. Instead of working on the graphic as intended, they just created art together, spawning inspiration off one another, crossing mediums and letting the art evolve between them. This synergy of collaborative efforts is what Landvik was looking for, and he knew it was time to act.
A few days later Landvik flew his childhood friend James Johnson up from his current home in Arizona to get involved in the process. Johnson and Landvik parted ways after high school but reconnected a few years ago over social media, after Johnson’s astonishing Native American masks and Tlingit formline art caught Landvik’s eye. Johnson immediately went to work in Landvik’s shop, adding bold formline to a live edge slab of spalted maple while Landvik added hand-cut copper accents to Johnson’s work. The collaborative approach once again led to a sum greater than the parts involved. The art was flowing and needed to be shared. Landvik leased a space downtown and Johnson designed a website and set up an online store.
In September 2015, N-Grained Inc. opened the doors at 201 Grand Avenue for its downtown workspace. The workspace includes a gallery to showcase current artwork and hold special events, and two workshop rooms to store the wood, tools and art supplies that enable live art exhibitions in the main room.
Where N-Grained Inc. is going from here is unknown, and that is how Landvik wants to keep it. As a constantly evolving collaborative of world-class artists, N-Grained Inc. is a living organism set on creating authenticity and inspiration through raw and honest self-expression. If you ever find yourself needing to be inspired or wanting to own a unique work of art, swing by N-Grained Inc. at 201 Grand Avenue in Bellingham, Washington or visit them online at ngrainedinc.com. x