The Art of Lax Blog

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Archive for the ‘Hard Work’ Category

Expansion.

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“Uncertainty and Expectation are the joys of life.  Security is a insipid thing.”
William Cowper (English poet. 1731-1800)

The Art of Lax™ is officially a global business as of February 2011 partnering with  Northern Soul Sportswear Ltd., as the exclusive retailer in the United Kingdom and the European Union.  Developing such working-relationships TAKE TIME.  Looking back at the road in creating a global-working relationship, all I can say is it was very UNPREDICTABLE – especially the starting line.

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” John Hope Franklin (Historian. Professor. Author, ‘From Slavery to Freedom’. 1915-2009)

After developing a good base through social networks (Facebook & Twitter) and meeting at the 2010 U.S. Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore, I pitched the Fit 2 Win Sportswear company (based in the area) an idea to collaborate on a creative idea.  I told them that the next time I was heading down to Baltimore was for the 2010 Men’s Final Four of Lacrosse and Walter Pennington, who heads Fit 2 Win’s marketing, graciously agreed to make time to meet.

It was Memorial Day 2010 and a sweltering 90+ degrees.  I brought with me a dossier of printed examples of my best selling piece “Crank” on paper as well as on two, cotton t-shirts to their headquarters, not too far from the venue of the Final Four – M&T Bank Stadium. Walter takes me around the facility, showing me the boxes, stacks and shelves filled with the great amount of product that makes up Fit 2 Win Sportswear.  It’s a “gym-rats” dream come true!  Unbeknownst to me, I find two representatives for Team Wales, Jason Perrin and Mike Black, who are in discussion with the Welsh National Lacrosse Team being outfitted by Fit 2 Win for the upcoming 2010 ILF World Games of Lacrosse in Manchester, England.  Walter makes the introduction and we trade off our lacrosse backgrounds, among other things.  He also includes me as the artist behind The Art of Lax™ and the direct response comes from Mike Black’s voice,

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen and read about the work.”

Hearing that response reinforces the positive of “knowing you’re doing something right”.  We stand overlooking boxes of Fit 2 Win’s brilliant collection of National-themed shirts for the World Games and Walter is very generous to let me choose one.  With my Fit 2 Win United States Lacrosse shirt in hand, Walter and I come to the table, trading off our ideas and forecasts between Fit 2 Win and The Art of Lax™.  The meeting is a good one and I leave behind one of two “Crank” t-shirts with Walter along with the printed examples in a binder for a future meeting.

“You MISS 100% of the shots you NEVER take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Jason Perrin and I are left sitting on an office couch waiting for Walter to finish things up before we make our way to M&T Bank Stadium.  We discuss the lacrosse industry in the United States and overseas and dissect our views and opinions as players and business professionals.  For some reason our topic turns to possibly getting The Art of Lax™ exhibited and sold at the 2010 ILF World Games of Lacrosse through a company spearheaded by his father, Clive Perrin, called Northern Soul Sportswear Ltd. based in the United Kingdom.  I knew that this was a personal goal at some point for The Art of Lax™ and if this was the road getting the artwork into the World Games of Lacrosse, I HAD to explore it.  As we were “clock-watching” to make the championship game between Notre Dame and Duke, Jason and I exchange final ideas for immediate action steps to take once we return to our respective home locations.  On a torn piece of paper, he writes and hands me his email address.  In return, I give him the last remaining “Crank” t-shirt to take back “across the pond”.

“Carpe Diem” Horace – Qunitus Horatius Flaccus (Roman philosopher, 65 BC – 8 BC)

On June 1, 2010, I received an email from Jason’s father, Clive (the owner of Northern Soul) mentioning Jason “…wearing one of your tees today”.  He concluded with Northern Soul Sportswear being very interested in “…trailing some of your art and apparel here in the UK and EU.”  Upon receipt of the exciting news, I stepped out of my office in midtown-Manhattan and “circled” the Empire State Building a few times with a proud feeling of accomplishment and wonder what responsibilities were to come.  The great people you meet from the sport of lacrosse always amaze me, and when they understand your vision it makes you want to do more.  I look forward to the possibilities with Walter, Jason and Clive and their respective brands.

I’m not a fan of the words “luck” or “got lucky” but I think another Roman philosopher once said,

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca (54 BC – 39 AD)

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February 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Moving FORWARD while looking BACK.

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“It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you react to it.” -David Neeleman (former CEO, JetBlue Airlines)

Upon my return from the 2011 U.S. National Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore, I took out all receipts saved on that weekend and carefully seperated them from the 2010 receipts for tax purposes.  In my leather work bag, I found more 2010 receipts smashed in a notepad purchased from Staples, with the date of 1/28/’10 written on the top left-hand side of the page.  I knew exactly what this was – my “plan-book” for 2010.

Exactly 365 days ago.

(Above. The “plan-book” and the date of 1/28/’10.  One year ago today.)

In past jobs, I would have to write yearly goals or plans just knowing that they can (will) change.  I was never a fan of planning every single detail to an exact moment of time.  My biggest secret with The Art of Lax™ since inception – I never wrote down a formal BUSINESS PLAN! While perusing through the notepad, I came across drafts for client-pitching and networking, multiple lists for artistic content, strategy/marketing/advertising, quickly drawn mock-ups for apparel, phone numbers, emails, price points, reminder/note-to-self/to-do lists and anything important that came to mind.

The different color of pen inks used and constant editing made me smile at the things accomplished and wonder about the things ‘put on the back-burner’ or entirely crossed off.

I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.

I’m a firm believer that you can not determine the outcome for everything.

But I am firm believer that there will always be a right time for ANYTHING.

“I believe that success is not defined by how much you have, but how much you have accomplished.” – Larry Flint (Publisher & President, Larry Flint Publications-LFP)

 

Written by theartoflax

January 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

“Excuses are like @$$holes. Everybody’s got one!”

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“Excuses are like a–holes, Taylor!  Everybody’s got one!” – Sgt. O’Neill (played by John C. McGinley in the 1986 movie “Platoon”)

“Snow-magedon”

“Snow-pocalypse”

“Snow-torious”

The snow-storm that recently hit the northeast after Christmas and literally buried NYC made me think of a lacrosse photo of mine.  The photo was taken back in 2007 when the post-collegiate lacrosse team that I help start became competitive in the American Lacrosse League.  Excited to be playing a very high-level of lacrosse each week, my mind was focused to one team in particular that always stood out – The New York Athletic Club a.k.a. “NYAC” or “The AC”.  I looked at their roster and each name (except for two) was a Div. I All-American in college, consisting of current/former Major League Lacrosse, National Lacrosse League players and have either tried out/made a U.S. National Team in the ILF World Games of Lacrosse.  I was soon going to find out what 4-years of art-school and earning a BFA in Communications Design, was going to get me on the lacrosse field facing this kind of talent.

“FAILURE to prepare, is a preparation for FAILURE” -John Wooden (Former basketball coach of UCLA. October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010)

The days leading up to the game I asked my friend, Drew Andreotti, to meet me at the turf field (Chelsea Waterside Park) on W. 23rd St. along the Westside Highway and shoot some lacrosse balls at me.  A heavy snow-storm the night before decided to hamper our plans but we decided to ‘screw that’ and go ahead regardless.  As I arrived to the field, Drew graciously labored well-ahead of time to clear out the snow for a goal crease and ample shooting space.

“Stick-side high” 8x

“Off-stick-side high” 8x

“Stick-side hip” 8x

…and so on and so forth with the goalie warm-up/shooting routine.  We braved the freezing elements and the harsh glare from the snow and ice called for a thick layer of eye-black.  To keep our sanity and for some laughs, I kept on screaming out loud “NYAAAACCCC!” to mimic the winter, outdoor training scene in “Rocky IV” where Rocky yells his opponent’s name of “Ivan Drago” after reaching the top of a mountain.  Before the training session ended Drew took out his cellphone and got a pic of the crazy, 1-hour experience.

The opening quote may be of poor taste, but it’s something I hear a lot of, even from my own mouth – excuses.  But the pic and the experience is a constant reminder that if something is important to you (whatever it is) you will make time for it.

 

 

Written by theartoflax

December 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm

The GREATEST Risk Is Not Taking ONE.

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“The Greatest Risk Is Not Taking One” – American International Group (AIG)

Over the weekend I celebrated the 2nd birthday of The Art of Lax™.  The celebration did not have a cake with candles or party favors, and such, rather it consisted with a lot of reflection accompanied with a smile or 10.  :o)

In the Fall season of 2008, The Art of Lax™ was being built and slowly taking shape – 25 drawings, 5 paintings and a lot of sleepless nights “working and wondering” into the unknown.

“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”– James Allen (author, “From Poverty to Power”)

On Dec. 18th 2008, I took those images and created the Facebook Group Page – “The Art of Lax™ – by Vincent Ricasio“.  Crossing the line and pushing the boundaries, I “invited” as many friends (mostly lacrosse related) on the group page, hoping that they might ‘spread the word’.  After that, it was back to a state of “wonder”.

The next day, Dec. 19th 2008, I received an email at exactly 10:04 a.m. requesting a specific reproduction print for a last minute Christmas present.  I did not have a website up, nor any way to take orders and make online transactions, but I didn’t care (at the moment) because I was excited to get a response within 24 hours from launching [it] to the public.  I printed and framed that customer’s email and it hangs next to my computer at home, where I stare at it to this day as a positive reminder.

(My first business/promo card)

I opened this post with a quote from an old AIG commercial in the late-90’s or early-2000’s that is a favorite of mine.  It combines footage of the “Space Race” along with a narration of lines from T.S. Elliot’s poem: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.  It is a lesson and reminder that being scared is a realistic behavior when stepping into the “unknown”.  But The Art of Lax™ and entrepreneurship has taught me just that – risk, push, learn and REPEAT.

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December 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

“The Elements of STYLE!”

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I still have that book from boarding school, also known as “Strunk & White” (William Strunk, Jr. & EB White), a guide for proper American English writing style.

I NEVER opened the book (the spine doesn’t have a crease) and it still sits on my bookshelf at home.

“Don’t look for a style.  Let if find you, again and again as it deepens and grows in richness, and as to your style, your friends will recognize it, you won’t, unless you stole someone else’s.  Style comes to you when it is ready and it comes as inevitably as sweat on a July day.” – Charles Goslin (Pratt Institute. Former professor of design. Feb 23, 1932 – May 16, 2007)

As an artist, the two questions I get the most are:

“Where do you get your style from?”

“What inspires you?”

I figured to somehow combine both art and lacrosse here, considering my two passions  I’m known for.  My artistic style comes from a variety of artists that I love.  I was fortunate to spend 3 years of my childhood growing up in Milan, Italy where I was able to see an abundance of original masterpieces up front.  You might be able to see the influence in my work(s).  The list of ARTISTS goes:

Leonardo Da Vinci (Italian. April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519)

Albrecht Durer (German. May 21, 1417 -April 6, 1528)

Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch. March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890)

John Singer Sargent (American. January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925)

There are so many more artists but these are my top dawgs!

As far as an ATHLETE. This is where it gets interesting!

Scott Bacigalupo (American, Goalie. Princeton University 1991-1994)

Mike Richter (American, Goalie. New York Rangers 1989-2003)

Lighting quick reflexes, aggressive, acrobatic and flexible!

Mix all contents in a bowl.  Stir frequently.  The final product(s) should look something like the following:

Art:

Lacrosse:

Inspiration and style comes from a multitude of things.  From Leornardo’s invention drawings, Van Gogh’s vibrant use of color, Bacigalupo’s unorthodox execution to Richter’s gymnast-style of flexibility – the more, the better.  But getting points for STYLE is not enough.  I’m constantly reminded how HARD these famous artists and decorated athletes had to WORK, growing their craft and expertise – and that is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect! As for that book, “The Elements of Style” maybe I can sell it to buy much needed art supplies and/or lacrosse equipment.

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December 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm