- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

VAIL, Colo. (AP) - Each night at the medals ceremony in Vail Village, some of the best ski racers in the world clutch artwork created by Italian artist Carlo Trost as they stand atop the podium, grinning.

Trost created 100 of the trophies, which are red, white and blue ski bibs, each sculpted in resin. They are given to the top podium finishers of each 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships race.

“The awards are really amazing contemporary pieces,” said Marc LeVarn, co-owner of Vail International Gallery, which has represented Trost since 2006. “Each bib has an award plaque mounted onto it; it’s such a fresh approach to an award, very different from a traditional trophy, and very distinctive.”

One of Trost’s good friends is former Italian World Cup ski racer Marco Tonazzi, who owns Valbruno. Tonazzi’s home helped inspire the awards, Trost said.

“His home is full of trophies,” Trost said. “I wanted to think of something different to hang on the wall, and that was the result. “

After a significant achievement, athletes typically frame their jersey or uniform as a reflection of the moment. Trost wanted to encapsulate the emotions of the winner with the trophies, he said.

“I tried to feel how the winner would feel,” he said.

Trost traveled to Vail in September to make the trophies. He spent a month working at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater with the bibs and resin. After dipping the fabric in the liquid resin, he’d have about 30 minutes to manipulate the nylon with his fingers, carefully adding in lifelike wrinkles and folds. It took about five days for the resin to harden completely.

This isn’t Trost’s first foray making resin-and-fabric trophies. He created similar trophies for the winners of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge using bike jerseys.

Trost first experimented with using resin on fabric around five years ago. While the artist primarily uses wood to create his contemporary sculptures, a few years ago he started sending textile pieces along with his wood sculptures to the gallery, LeVarn said.

First was “a shirt he’d done, where he arranged the folds and hung it on the wall, like art. It was a different media for Carlo and when we showed these to people, they thought they were very exciting,” LeVarn said.

Jennifer Bruno is on the prize committee for the Vail Valley Foundation. She saw the pieces and liked them, “which led to the bike jerseys and eventually the ski bib (trophies),” LeVarn said.

Trost was in town skiing and watching the races this week with his wife and son. Vail International Gallery planned a reception with Trost on Saturday - offering a chance to meet the artist, see an example of the award and check out nine of Trost’s new carved wooden sculptures on display for the exhibit.

Three of the sculptures are “signature” Trost: the undulations in the wood makes them resemble a flying carpet. The pieces, like most of Trost’s work, incorporate bright colors.

“You look at the work and try to fly away, dreaming,” Trost said.

Depending on how you hang the artwork, it can feel very weightless, LeVarn said.

“Almost like it’s floating. And to me, it’s very kinetic, in the sense that it feels like it’s alive and moving,” he said.

Born in Uruguay, Trost arrived in Udine, Italy, at the age of four. After managing the family business for 10 years, he decided to take a sabbatical, returning to a childhood project by setting up a small artistic furniture design and production business.

He made his first painting in 2001 and he’s dedicated himself exclusively to art for about a decade now.

It’s an honor to have his work seen by people from around the world during the World Championships, Trost said.

“How many millions of people will be watching TV and look at this work? So for me this is really important, not for money but just for the art. I’m very satisfied,” he said.

___

Information from: Vail Daily, https://www.vaildaily.com/

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