The Art of Lax Blog

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Archive for October 2010

The Triumvirate

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Caesar, Crassus & Pompeius. The political alliance of the Roman Republic.

I had to refer to my 7th grade ancient history class (a favorite subject of mine) for the word and title – Triumvirate.  Wikipedia’s definition can be found here.

(Yes, that’s me in 7th grade – top row, 2nd from left.  1991.  The St. David’s School, New York, NY)

I wanted to artistically depict the 3 main components of a lacrosse team: offensive, defensive and goalie. A TRIO of some sort.  The focus being solely on them, nothing else.  The idea came during a late-night of staying up (couldn’t sleep), mindlessly watching old “Looney Tunes” cartoon characters on some network channel.  The Looney Tunes were all traditionally hand-drawn(!) compared to the present, digital/computer age.  I remember watching these shows either after school or on a Saturday morning, but what stands out the most in these cartoons are the “exaggerated style” that made it comical.

“Drive 2” (Offensive) progression pics:

This was my 1st of the 3.  I was inspired by the Looney Tunes character the “Road-Runner” – always evading chase from the hopeless, “Wile E. Coyote”.  Just like the “Road-Runner”, I made the offensive player very low to the ground, head tilted forward and focused on the goal in sight.

The finished piece – Drive 2:

“The Hunter” (Defensive) progression pics:

The cartoon character that came to mind right away was “Elmer Fudd” who was always on “the hunt for rabbit!”

Just like Elmer Fudd’s shotgun in hand, I increased the perspective of the defenseman’s pole as the primary focus – the one you see first.  His eyes scanning the field, patiently waiting for the prey.

The finished piece – The Hunter:

“The Stopper” (Goalie) progression pics:

The cartoon character that comes to mind (and my favorite) is the “Tasmanian Devil” or “Taz”.  He’s just a freak of nature, with some screws loose in the head and hard to figure out – just like goalies.  “Taz” would’ve been an awesome ‘keeper!

As a goalie, the hardest shot to stop is anything placed on the “off-stick side”.  Due to stick technology, shots have been so difficult to read that clean saves aren’t the norm anymore.  Stepping is so outdated, rather I believe in keeping good position and surging or “exploding” to the ball, especially from in close, throwing whatever you can.  However, in this piece, I wanted to show a clean, cross-over save.

It was such a simple time back then – cartoons after school, homework, dinner, more homework and lacrosse on the weekends.  Thank god the cartoons still exist on some late-night channel… but what was THAT channel again?!

Written by theartoflax

October 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Art, Childhood, Lacrosse

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Creating the Knighthawks

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“I’m glad to have given you the challenge.” – Jules (Oshweken, ONT-Canada)

That was the response from my client when I mentioned that her custom piece, titled: “The Knighthawks” (below) was one of the most challenging projects to date (click image to enlarge).

“What made it so challenging?” she asked.

Aside from doing it simultaneously with three custom pieces, this was a “box lacrosse” version.  Ever since working with the former and now defunct, New York Titans in 2006/2007 by designing their game program, ads, etc., I rarely follow box lacrosse.  It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m just used to the field version that I play.  I had to re-educate myself with box lacrosse by going on the web and watching numerous Youtube clips of the sport.  But what also made the piece challenging was having multiple players (4) in the photo that she took – it’s been almost two years since I’ve done that.

“Making progress, slowly but surely…” – is the name of the game.  The muscle memory kicks in and the images start to take place on paper.  I’m liking what I see and hoping in my mind that the client will be proud of it.  Piece is done and out it goes overnight, via FedEx to Canada.

I get a very positive email from Jules upon her receipt of the piece.  I also find out that she’s an associate of Curt Styres, the owner of the Knighthawks and an entrepreneur based on the Grand River Reserve of the Six Nations (near Toronto).  She told me that Curt “saw the piece and swiped your business card right away”.

Do the good work.  EverydayUnderstand your audience and treat your client with the utmost respect.  You never know, who they may know.

One of my lacrosse coaches in high school once said, “If there’s no challenge, it ain’t worth it!”

Thanks, Jules!  It was worth it!

Written by theartoflax

October 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Art, Business, Lacrosse

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Hellooooo LADIES!

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I’ve been staying up late and working on some ladies recently.

Wait, forget that line!

I’ve been working late (a bit past midnight), drawing some female lacrosse players to be exact.  A few emails and a Twitter Direct Message or “DM” prompted my decision to take action.

“Do you plan to make more girls art anytime soon? I need a few things for my daughters in time for Christmas.” –Heather (CA)

“I just saw it on Twitter and looks like one of my players I coach.  Can I buy it on your site?” -Susan (FL)

It’s been a while since I’ve done some female lacrosse art and after some emails from customers asking for such images, I decided to dedicate a week to produce three pieces.  Due to the absence of equipment (no helmets, pads, etc.) drawing the female lacrosse athlete is much easier and less time consuming than the male side.  I’m also reminded that the female version of the game highly resembles the original, Native-American version as well (sans the brutal body contact/checking!).  As I study the drawings, my respect towards the the female aspect(s) of the game grows.

I announce on twitter that they are “avail. for purchase”.  A few hours later, my blackberry sounds off.  Google Checkout tells me it is Susan (from Florida) and she just purchased one of each.

Looks like I got some more work to do tonight.

Written by theartoflax

October 18, 2010 at 9:25 pm

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“It’s supposed to be HARD!”

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For the past few months (since the beginning of summer) I’ve been amassing the ongoing requests for custom lacrosse art from people all over.  They email a pic of what it is that they want to be artistically reproduced along with the specific requirements which will make the piece “special” to [them] – the customer.  Each is different in size, medium and genre and I’m told that it would be the best birthday, graduation (yes, already!) and Holiday present for the person in mind.  But as I’m working on a custom piece, my Blackberry vibrates with the words in the email subject line: “Custom Art Drawing – how much?”.  It’s another prospective client.  Strangely enough, I get another one the next week asking the same thing: “Piece for my Grandson – can you?”.  Both are from different email providers.  I look at my calendar for the rest of the year and study the deadlines of each current and future customers in line.

“You can do anything, but not everything!” – David Allen (author).

I agree to take them on and hypothetically forecast that [it] can be DONE – all the projects!  I clear my schedule.  It is when I start, that I don’t realize how much time, patience or focus I have.  Do I want to stay up ’til 2am again working on a piece(?), knowing I have to wake up 4 hours later to start my day!

“I knew stuff like this is HARD… but not this HARD!”

Tired, exhausted – you name it.  The projects are on-going but I’m learning to multitask and use my time correctly.  X-amount of hours later, x-amount of days after, each project is done – mailed, UPS’ed, FedEx’ed… whichever.

“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of VICTORY.” – Gen. George S. Patton

Positive feedback from customers come in email form.  I’m excited to complete more.  Is it worth it? – staying up late on the weeknights… staying in on a Friday and/or Saturday night… constantly perfecting your craft… growing your brand.  Those are some of the things that make it HARD, but in truth, HARD – is how you look and/or make it.  It defines us as individuals.

I started this entry with a line from a movie about baseball – yes, baseball… the rival, spring-seasoned sport of lacrosse.  Not one of my favorite movies, but has one of my favorite actors – Tom Hanks, in “A League of Their Own”.  I conclude with this scene from the movie.  Pay close attention to the last line!

Written by theartoflax

October 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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This is why I play.

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This is why I play.

I need a release in life.  We all need a release(s) in life.  I had a boss once say:

“You need to have a ‘life’ outside of your life.”

Even doing the things you love can get a bit excessive, which is why you need a release or a break from it all.

“Vinnie, when do you NOT work?!” – Chris Eck (Face-off, Boston Cannons)

That was a question from a friend of mine who’s talented enough to play lacrosse on the professional level.  My mind has been in work mode – doing and/or thinking, and I just missed 2 weekends of my fall lacrosse league games in NYC.  The games are played on Sundays – a day of rest.  It’s a time for me, personally, to leave the apartment, get a workout, catch-up with friends and most of all – not talk or think about work.  All that on a 110 yard lacrosse field, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

“Hey man, can you stick around & play goal for us?… our ‘keeper couldn’t make it today.”

My first time back after a 2-week absence and I find myself being asked to sub in goal for the games directly after mine was over.  For the 4 remaining games that day, one team in each time-slot was without a goalie.  I saved my best performance for MY team only and the rest just had to be glad that I said ‘yes’ and decided to stick around.  After the 2nd game, I realize that the Jets game has started and I may miss it.  After the 3rd game, my meager bowl of Cheerios and a cup of coffee that morning isn’t holding me up anymore.  I’m shell-shocked from shots and starving!  Ironically, I needed to be “released” from what is considered my release.  I pack up and leave regardless of another team asking me to stay.

Equipment over my shoulder, I make my way on Houston St. towards Ave. A to the sports bar called “Nice Guy Eddie’s!”, where I find a contingent of lacrosse players, pitchers of beer, multiple plates of steaming hot wings, a giant side of cheese-fries and the Jets leading the Buffalo Bills, among other NFL games.  I join in on the fun, relax and devour 2 plates of hot-wings!  In my crowd of lacrosse players we talk about the dreaded thing coming up as the sun goes down – Monday.  Realistically, our release is behind us.

Our Monday, consists of finance & development, advertising & marketing, art & design, pharmaceutical sales & research, IT & computer programing, among a variety of things strange and unknown to the professionals in the group.  Each explains what [they] will do tomorrow.  Each explains ‘the good and the bad’ about next week.  We listen closely to each other while the waitress asks for any more orders.  One person says:

“I’m in corporate staffing for x-amount of years… it’s alright.  I’ve learned a lot.”

The voice next to him answers:

“Well, we’re increasing our numbers and we’re looking big time.” He takes out from his wallet a business card and says “email me your resume next week… and let’s talk”.

The bar tab is settled.  We shake hands.

“See you guys next week on the field.”

The benefits from having a release come in many forms – even hot wings!

This is why WE PLAY!

Written by theartoflax

October 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized