Seeing the World in Watercolor: Meet Max Romey
Seeing the World in Watercolor: Meet Max Romey

Seeing the World in Watercolor: Meet Max Romey

Shoemaking is complicated. Sustainability is even more complicated. But KEEN Artist & Impact Maker Max Romey has a way of making both of these things beautifully simple.

You might already know Max’s hands, voice, and colorful artwork. This Alaskan filmmaker and painter has turned his dyslexia into a superpower for storytelling with watercolors instead of words. Check out his work in our recent “What is PFAS Free?” or “What is Consciously Created?” videos, and you’ll see why we instantly knew we needed to work with him. We are a few months into a really special KEEN x Max partnership, and we are so excited for what’s to come.

“You Can’t Misspell a Painting”

Storytelling didn’t always come easy to Max, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child. He turned to painting, something inspired by his grandmother, as a way to share ideas without struggling with how to spell them. Today, Max brings his love of nature to life as a filmmaker and climate activist, which is how we met him – at the Protect Our Winters summit. We are partnering with POW as title sponsors of Max’s upcoming film, Footprints on Katmai, debuting at MountainFilm in Telluride in May.

"Sometimes painting is just a great excuse to spend as much time as you want in a beautiful place."

In that film, and in everything he does, Max brings the effects of human-induced environmental impacts to the forefront through his art and unique point of view. Around here, we call it “Maxification.” He works with our KEEN Effect and Creative teams from his shed-io (studio/shed) in Anchorage, Alaska. Thanks to Zoom, we get to see him every day and get a regular dose of Maxified color.

Learn a little bit more about this talented KEEN impact maker in the video above and in the quick Q&A below.

Get to Know Max in 60 seconds

3 Things Always in Your Backpack:
A sketchbook or two. (I have a hard time leaving home unless I am packed as if I will be stuck in the mountains for a week.) A spare diaper. (I am a new dad and am living that life.) A granola bar that I forgot to eat during my last trip, there is always one that lives in my backpack like a resident artist.

Fave Place You’ve Painted:
There is a mountain right above Anchorage, Alaska, where I live that I can’t get enough of. I have painted from sun up to sun down on the longest day of the year. And even went up to sketch all night long on the longest night of the year. Sometimes painting is just a great excuse to spend as much time as you want in a beautiful place.

Most Unusual Object You’ve Painted:
Once I spent 30 minutes sketching a frozen moose during a long ski. Sometimes no one will believe what you saw unless you bring a photo back, but it turned out a sketch worked just as well.

Number of Sketchbooks You’ve Filled:
I have about 40 sketchbooks started, but I usually get distracted before I can fully finish one cover-to-cover. My guilty habit to get myself back into the swing of things is cracking a new blank book open.

Bucket List Painting Destination:
My grandmother would always send me sketches of penguins from Antarctica when I was a little kid. One day I would love to visit that continent and sketch those amazing little birds.

If You Were a Hue, What Hue Would You Be?:
I would be a deep purple. Simple, fun but always a surprise when you mix it with other colors.

If You Were a KEEN Shoe, What Shoe Would You Be?:
I would be a Revel boot, because they have helped me stay out in Alaska’s winter without my toes freezing.

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