"I was at my CrossFit box in Weddington, NC, bent over, sweat dripping like a leaky faucet onto my shoes, my hands clinging to my shorts, and my breath slowly creeping back into me—when something clicked. I envisioned the perspiration as spattering paint."
That was the moment that artist Kent Youngstrom decided on his next project: CrossFit + Canvas, a seamless fitness art collaboration between his love for CrossFit and for creating works of art, or "artworkout."
"It's a caffeine-laden, high-intensity sampling of the jarring collision between art and repetitive movement," says Youngstrom.
He wanted to create something unique to the CrossFit community that they'd want to hang in their homes, offices, or right in their box, that "was of CrossFit origin but didn't scream 'Hey—look at me! I CrossFit." So he dipped weight plates, kettlebells, medicine balls, and his sneakers in black paint, stepped onto a white canvas, and got his WOD on. (Inspired to try a CrossFit workout? You can do this one at home with just a kettlebell.)
"There were a few rounds of trial and error," says Youngstrom. "Thick paint? Thin paint? Which items leave the best mark on canvas? Which ones look best on film?"
He also toyed around with adding color to various pieces since creating the original black-and-white ones, "but for now, I think the black-and-white versions are as impressive as an early morning strict muscle-up," he says. (No idea what a muscle-up is? Here's your beginner's guide to CrossFit.)
While Youngstrom personally created all the "artworkout" pieces that are currently for sale, he has also directed several other people in making their own WOD artwork, which he said has been one of the coolest parts of the fitness community's reaction to the collection.
The CrossFit + Canvas collab isn't Youngstrom's only foray into the fitness art world. Because he's played soccer since he was young and coaches his teenage son's travel team, Youngstrom also created a series called Kick-ups + Canvas, which was made by kicking paint-covered soccer balls at a white wall. Youngstrom has also teamed up with Lululemon for intimate live-painting yoga and hiking events.