There is a growing number of lifestyle or non-competitive brand ambassadors in the mountain bike world. How has it been going from a racer to a more independent role?
MG: It’s awesome! For me, I think what makes me unique in this industry is my creative mind, artistic abilities, personality and vision. Racing didn’t allow me to venture into any of those spaces, nor did it showcase my abilities. I wasn’t ever the fastest in the world, and I’m actually not that great at dealing with the stress of racing, so I think this is a much better suited avenue for me.
How do you and your sponsors determine value in your creative projects? Do you find it difficult to get the support you’d like to have to truly create things you believe in?
MG: Getting support is always a huge struggle, especially since I’m not the most business-minded person. I’m an artist! This year has been the first year I feel like I’ve been able to prove myself worthy in the media world, so we will see what happens next! Before, my sponsors were solely going on my word and crazy-brained ideas. Since Ferda Girls, my work with Pinkbike and Intersection, I feel I have some good legs to stand on when I approach companies with ideas and collaborations. I’ve proven now that I can be versatile in front of the camera and with the right producers and equipment, I can pump out some original content. All of my contracts are up this year, so I’m excited to see what opportunities I can dig up in the bike world and beyond.
It seems that most of your paintings contain mountains or some sort of element pertaining to nature. Why is that?
MG: To be completely honest, I used to hate drawing/painting landscapes. When I was young, I’d only draw animals. Then, as I got older and went to art school, I got super into portraits, and weird monster-looking people with no eyes/street art style paintings. Then I got commissioned to do a big mountain painting for a gym downtown, and the reaction I got from it was way more positive than anything else I’d ever drawn. This all happened right around the same time I stopped racing and actually had time to slow down and enjoy my surroundings for the first time since I was about 12. It made me realize how much passion I had for the environment around me that I had overlooked in an artistic sense.
Who or what have been major influences to your art?
MG: My grandpa, dad, aunt and grandma are all artistic people, and really encouraged me when I was younger. As far as artists themselves go, I have always loved the Group of Seven, Chilli Thom and some Brazilian street artists that use shape and colour like no other.
MG: My big brother and Lesley Tomlinson were huge in my development as a rider. Katrina Strand, Claire Buchar and Brook Baker were my mentors as a teen and made racing and travelling/riding fun for me. Tracey Hannah has been a best bud since our first year racing junior worlds together in 06, and in more recent years Casey Brown, Vaea Verbeeck, Emilie Seigenthaler, Tahnee Seagrave, Myriam Nicole, Rachel Atherton, Steffi Marth and all those other girls have been huge inspirations and comrades in the biking world. #FerdaGirls!