The Art of Lax Blog

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MY 2011 NCAA Lax bracket

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“You don’t have to be the BEST team in the league, just the BEST on game day!”

Yup, it’s about that time where I make my decision(s) & publicly display them for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, which starts tomorrow at 12noon EST.
I have my upsets in mind/listed on here. Call me crazy on some of them but that’s the best thing about sport – anything can just happen.

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May 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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Looking EAST-making the stride to ASIA.

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My flight is booked and my equipment will be carefully selected as to making the trip to Thailand on May 31st for the “Grow the Game” event in Bangkok on June 4th.

Prior to all this was getting the chance to piece together and design the promotional card for our host, Thailand Lacrosse. Discussing with their team leader, Payu Nernchamnong, we went back & forth on concepts and tweaking little details here and there. The final result came out to this card.

Thailand Lacrosse has it also on their blog:
http://thailand.laxallstars.com/captains-log-vol-4-never-stop/

I’m very happy to see the final product for the event and to open up a different network in international lacrosse and for both brands to succeed and grow — The Art of Lax™ and Thailand Lacrosse.

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May 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

You LEARN something EVERYDAY

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A few weeks ago, I played a lacrosse game out in Long Island on a rainy, cold, Wednesday night and returned to NYC late. I was starving and thankfully in my neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens has a diner that is open 24-hours. As I sat down and ordered my bacon-cheeseburger w/ fries, the waiter looked closely at my lacrosse equipment lying on the floor and asked if my goalie sticks are “used for fishing?”.

I get questions like that often – esp., in my hometown of NYC! But I remember one time back in boarding school, I was outside the 30th St. Train Station in Philadelphia with my lacrosse equipment in hand when a stranger inquired,

“Oh, that’s the sport you play with a horse, correct?”

I rolled my eyes and giggled a bit and told him, “that’s Polo and this is Lacrosse.” Fast-forward to today, I googled “Lacrosse” and found on wikipedia “Polocrosse” and below is the picture of what came up. I guess that person in Philly (15 years ago) was correct.

You really LEARN SOMETHING EVERYDAY!

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April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

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A favor in return.

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I recently did a quick turnaround for a former club lacrosse teammate of mine named, Jorge Quintana (Brooklyn, NY). Jorge, a former US Marine officer (now tax consultant/preparer) asked me to revamp the USMC logo for a custom tattoo. He gave me all “freedom” to come up with a different style/look but had to contain the following USMC symbolic imageries: Globe, Anchor, Eagle, USMC/motto-“SEMPER FIDELIS” and the birth year of 1775.

My plan was to be simple, clean & DIRECT – just like the D.I.’s in the Marines. Improvise, Adapt & Overcome.





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April 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

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

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.

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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!

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October 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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