Catching up with Lanny Barnes after the 2018 Winter Games

Lanny Barnes is a three-time Olympian in the sport of Biathlon and a Professional 3-Gun competitor. Lanny is also a very talented and accomplished artist. We had a chance to catch up with her and learn about her unique involvement with the 2018 Winter Games this year. 

You were a part of the Olympic Art Project developed by the IOC, can you explain what that is?

The Olympic Art project is designed to bridge that gap between art and sport. It is a project for Olympians, by Olympians and this is the first time that the Olympic Committee (IOC) has brought in Olympians who are artists (I was chosen as one of 3 in the world for this project). There is always a huge art and cultural aspect to every Olympics especially with the start and finish being so artistic in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Olympics even awarding medals to artist between 1912 and 1948. The International Olympic Committee is starting to bring art back in a way that will help promote art through Olympic values and show that connection between Olympians as athletes and Olympians as artist, and the connections such as discipline and focus that you can take away from both. 

I was part of a 3-person team located inside the Coastal Olympic Village that brought in Olympic athletes to help us complete 15 paintings (one for each sport) that came together at the end to form the Olympic rings. Separately they are each a piece of art, but when combined they create a much bigger picture. The idea was formed by the head artist-in-residence Roald Bradstock an Olympic Javelin athlete, also known as the Olympic Picasso, and head of the newly formed World Olympians Association Art and Culture division. We set a world record for highest number of Olympians to complete a painting and all of the painting will go to the Olympic museum in Switzerland after the games to be displayed. Many of the competing athletes taking part are artists, but many are not. Our goal was to give the athletes an outlet outside of their competitions to express themselves through art with their fellow Olympians. No one signed the work and the idea behind that is to show that we are all Olympians and working together to be a part of a bigger picture with promoting art in Olympic values. We keep track of the number and names of all the Olympians who took part in this project. The IOC President Bach met with us during the games to discuss further promoting art in the future and he also spent some time painting on one of the 15 canvases. 

Q: How was your attitude or perception different for these Olympic Games as opposed to the last three with your new position?

It was a much different experience attending the games as an artist and not a competitor. It was a great and very unique experience regardless and I was honored for the opportunity to go as just one of 3 artists in the world that were able to go. I definitely didn't feel the pressure of competing and it was nice to enjoy the experience of the games more as opposed to being so focused on the competition. We worked very hard during the games to complete the paintings, so we weren't able to get out and see many of the events but we caught one hockey game and the closing ceremonies.

Q: How was PyeongChang?

This was my second time to PyeongChang. I was there in 2009 when they were making the bid for the Olympics. It is a very beautiful place and very unique being right on the ocean with the hill heading straight up where all the mountain sports were. One thing the region is known for is their dried fish. They take Pollock and dry it on racks out in the open during the winter for 4 months. With the combination of winds, freezing and thawing, and the sun, the fish get a higher protein content. It is definitely interesting being so close to the DMZ, but besides the threat from the North is it actually very hard to get into the country because it is surrounded by N. Korea and ocean. That made it (despite the threat from the north) a very safe place to host the Olympics. It is always a wonderful thing to visit places all around the world to see the different cultures and to give you a better appreciation for all the amazing freedoms you have back in the United States.


Q: How long have you been a professional artist?

I have been drawing and painting most of my life but only became a professional artist since 2000. My twin sister and I would use my artwork to help fund our Olympic careers. We would sell artwork on the streets and that would help pay for our food and lodging.


Q: It appears that you seem to specialize in charcoal drawing animals and wildlife, Why? What is your process?

I really enjoy doing wildlife because I spend so much time in nature that it inspires me to capture it on paper or canvas. I have been hunting my whole life and that has given me the unique opportunity to spend time in the outdoors observing wildlife in their natural habitat. That is where I get most of my inspiration from. I love doing it in white charcoal on black paper because I feel it give it a much more dramatic effect.


Q: We saw a couple photo’s of you wearing the Concealed Carry Alpine Faux Fur. How did you utilize this jacket while traveling?

I pretty much lived in my UnderTech UnderCover Concealed Carry Alpine Faux Fur Jacket while I was at the games because it gave me the peace of mind that my passport was always with me and safely locked in one of the inner locking pockets on the inside of the jacket. We had to keep our passport as well as our credentials on us all the time and the Conceal Carry Alpine Faux Fur Jacket allowed me to lock it away safely and keep it out of unwanted hands or prevent me from losing it or accidentally dropping it out of my pocket. It is hands down one of the best travel accessories when traveling during the winter or in cooler places.


Q: What will you be up to now?

I am just getting ready to kick off my 3-gun and shooting season. I have at least 10 major matches on the schedule including two PCC National Championships and I also made the IPSC USA Shotgun World Championship Team that will compete in France this summer. As far as my art career, I am going to continue to develop my skills as an artist and share as much art as I can with those around me. You can check out my artwork at or on Facebook at The Olympian Artist. I am hoping to head back to the next summer games to be a part of the Olympic Art Project again, but we will have to wait and see who is chosen.

Catching up with Lanny Barnes after the 2018 Winter Games
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