6 questions with Janifer Calvez, the artist behind Uplift’s buff

Enthusiastic hikers who want to keep their adventures in Alberta going long after they leave the trails can keep the spirit alive with our one-of-a-kind, locally-designed Uplift Adventures buffs. 

The concept for our buff design was inspired by the landscapes and wildlife of Crowsnest Pass, where Uplift Adventures is based and one of the areas we host many interpretive hikes and backpacking trips.

“I wanted the buff design to be reminiscent of Crowsnest Pass, so Crowsnest Mountain was a very obvious landscape to feature. It’s the most iconic mountain in the region, and probably the South Canadian Rockies,” says Heather Davis, Founder, Uplift Adventures. “Conservation is another element I wanted to include, as it is very important to me and my company. The Westslope Cutthroat Trout, a native fish to Southern Alberta that are protected by both our provincial and federal government, was another natural choice. These fish are so beautiful, with their signature red marking in the throat-region and freckles, and they play an important role in our aquatic ecosystem.” 

But who could bring it all together? Who could create beautiful artwork and understand the importance of the region? Who could be both an artist and a scientist? 

And then we found her! Janifer Calvez is a local artist whose work is inspired by the outdoors, especially the nature of the South Canadian Rockies. She collaborated with Uplift Adventures to create our signature buffs.

We spoke with Janifer to learn about the inspiration behind the design and what it was like working with Uplift Adventures. 

Uplift Adventures(UA): How did you get into art?

Janifer Calvez(JC): After high school, I became a medical lab technologist, so I couldn’t take art in high school because I had to take all of the science courses that were offered at the same time. But I’ve always been interested in art. I decided to start taking evening art classes and ever since then, that was around the year 1990, I’ve been continually painting. I started with watercolour and now I do acrylic. My whole life has been about science and art and how you can do both. We’re all kind of pigeonholed into being either scientists or artists, but I think everybody has both in them. 

UA: What inspires your art?

JC: My inspiration has always been spending time in nature and I find painting is a way to express myself. I’ve continually taken courses and grown and tried different types of art, such as pottery, silver, and different painting mediums. Painting just called to me and I’ve enjoyed exploring and creating through paint. Eventually, I realized I was painting the wind.

UA: How did you hear about Uplift Adventures?

JC: My husband heard about Uplift Adventures first and was sending it to me, saying, ‘You have to go on one of these trips!’ We finally did and were part of Adventure Club all last year, joined an overnight backpacking trip, and did lots of hiking with Heather. The more I got to know her, we started to have a connection. 

UA: How did you get involved in the project?

JC: She reached out to me about collaborating on some buffs and I thought it was a great idea because the design she had in mind was exactly what I paint: wildflowers, wind, and landscapes. She had specific ideas about what she wanted, like specific mountains or a specific flower or animal. And then it was my job to make that into a painting. 

UA: What made you want to work with Uplift Adventures on this project?

JC: It was a no-brainer. I was really honoured that she asked me and that she thought I could bring her vision to life and excited to support the company because I really believe in everything Uplift is doing.

I also appreciated the conservation angle to the design, just the whole plight of the trout that’s going on right now. I’m involved with making sure our water source is preserved, so it spoke to me when she said that. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what I want to paint.’

Another connection I have is that I was born and raised in Pincher Creek. I still have family there and we spend a ton of time exploring the area, skiing, hiking, and doing other outdoor activities. It all ties it together.

UA: What about Uplift Adventures resonates most with you?

JC: I think people should take care of what they know, what they have connected to through experience, and what they love. We’ve always exposed our kids to being outside, camping, hiking, and being in nature. I take solace in it. It’s my refuge, and I feel it would help a lot of people if they spent more time outside. So, when I met Heather and her husband, Darren, they have the same kind of outlook. They’re all about the natural world and conservation and connecting with nature. It’s very inspiring!

More Alberta-inspired art designs with Janifer Calvez

Janifer worked with Uplift on two more art designs, one inspired by the Castle region and the other by Waterton Lakes National Park, as well as the flora and wildlife native to these areas. Projects with these designs are in the works and we are so excited to show them to the world. Subscribe to our newsletter for launch announcements!

If you’d like to rock an Uplift Adventures buff, you can purchase one on our Merch page. Or if you’d like to learn more about Janifer and her art, check out her website. We hope you enjoy her art as much as we do!

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