Art and North Carolina’s Year of the Trail

In fall 2022, the Great Trails State Coalition’s Year of the Trail Planning Committee called for artists from North Carolina to participate in the Year of the Trail campaign, creating artwork celebrating the importance of trails in North Carolina. A juried competition was held, choosing five winning artists from the larger incredible group of artists who applied.

The artists chosen for the Year of the Trail Artist Program were challenged to create artwork themed around the story of “why trails are important to North Carolinians and our visitors.” The artwork created brings out the unique style of each artist, boldly focusing on what Year of the Trail means to them.

The amazing artwork will be used in various ways to showcase the campaign throughout the year and will be found in many places, from merchandise to larger-scale prints. We’re excited to share the work of these five artists throughout 2023!

A sincere congratulations and thank you to artists Lindsay Anderson, Autumn Cobeland, Gabriel Eng-Goetz, James McInvale, and Scott Partridge, along with everyone else who has worked to make this aspect of Year of the Trail come to life! Check out their work below and read a bit about the artists and what inspired them.

Gabe Eng-Goetz

Gabriel Eng-Goetz designed this incredible illustration for Year of the Trail. He says, “I wanted to create a piece of children’s fantasy art because when I think of trails, I reminisce about canoeing with my dad as a kid, traversing untamed ecosystems, imagining what swam below in the murky depths. The intrigue of the unknown will always keep me yearning for the wild. Catch me outside!”

Gabriel’s studio is based in Durham, North Carolina USA. His work explores the cultural history of identity, including his own as an Asian American born and raised in the South, and our human connection to the natural world. Outside of creating artwork for clients and collectors, Gabriel works with his community to showcase and uplift North Carolina’s vibrant and diverse art scene by producing/curating events and working as a youth mentor.

Autumn Cobeland

This painting comes from Autumn Cobeland, a painter, muralist, triathlete, and Raleigh, NC native. Autumn holds a degree in Fine Arts and studied art in Japan and Italy. Her works can be seen in galleries, shops, and private collections both nationally and internationally.

This work is inspired by French vintage posters and Raleigh’s parks and trails. She created a series of paintings devoted to the Triangle Greenway System. With her work, Autumn donates a portion of the proceeds from print sales to local greenways and Friends of the MST. Her studio is currently located in downtown Raleigh.

James McInvale

“On the Trails in North Carolina” is an illustration by artist James McInvale. It’s inspired by the endless beauty and diversity of North Carolina’s natural resources, from the mountains to the coast. Frequent trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Outer Banks as a child left a lasting impression on James, and he wanted to capture that sense of wonder and awe while inspiring others to go discover what North Carolina has to offer for themselves.

James is a freelance artist/illustrator based in Charlotte, NC, and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. He creates his travel and nature-inspired artworks in a combination of pen and ink drawing, acrylic ink painting, digital media, and “whatever else gets the job done.”

Scott Partridge

This art was created by Scott Partridge. The inspiration comes from walking on various trails in Charlotte, where he lives. The Rail Trail, Cross Charlotte Trail (which will eventually stretch from north to south all the way across Mecklenburg County), and other trails/greenways informed his work on these pieces.

Scott is based in Charlotte, NC, and works in digital and traditional media in an illustrative style. Natural history is the most prominent theme in his work.

Lindsay Anderson

Lindsay Anderson’s piece is named “A Walk on the Wild Side”

In her words, “We are at a point in humanity where most of us spend more time inside than we do out in nature, and it’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves feeling out of balance. We are all very much children of nature, so I wanted to create a piece that encourages folks to get up off the couch and hit the trail so that they might reconnect with their wild side. Our state offers so much natural beauty and ecological diversity, and there are countless trails that act as portals to these magical places. Choosing to head out for a hike, bike, walk or run may seem like a small act in and of itself but in actuality, it is a catalyst for the blossoming of our physical, mental and emotional health. So go ahead, choose nature and take a walk on the wild side.”

Lindsay is a painter, illustrator, and mixed media artist deeply inspired by the beautiful scenery that surrounds her on a daily basis. Through enhancing the light and color play in her work, she seeks to add a psychedelic aesthetic to her pieces to take them beyond the world of the ordinary. Through her art, she works to merge the influence of the diverse landscapes and nature that exist in both the east and the west, where she has also lived, in CO, while encouraging people to get outside and explore their own backyards.