The Art of Lax Blog

For the player, coach, parent & lacrosse enthusiast in us!

Making a “Win-Win”

leave a comment »

“There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.” 

William Butler Yeats (Irish writer & poet. 1865-1939)

At the 2009 US Lacrosse Convention, the Power-Tek Performance Gear company were my neighbors in the Vendor Hall.  Owners and brothers, Jim and Tom Lalli, kept me company during the long hours of the event, telling stories and jokes.  During the down-time we perused each others products and inventory, telling the reasons behind both brands.  By the end of the event, Jim bought the original of “Clear” telling me it looked exactly like his son who is a lacrosse goalie.

A year later, at the 2010 Lacrosse Convention we found our booths diagonally across from each other and continued our friendship from the year before, while catching up on our business status. I told Jim and Tom that my spring club lacrosse team ordered their “Dominator shorts” and became a big hit among my teammates.

We even made their “Shooter Shirt” a jersey for the most recent “War at the Shore” lacrosse tournament in Brick, NJ with The Art of Lax™ image of “Crank” screened on it.  Unbeknownst to me, both Jim and Tom were at the tournament as well, as Power-Tek sponsored a few teams there and while my team was not sponsored it was good to represent their product overall.

At the 2011 Lacrosse Convention, our booths were far apart, on opposite ends, but that didn’t hinder us to say hello once in a while during lunch and/or bathroom breaks.

Present Day.

Power-Tek Performance Gear proposes to design a full-page ad for the 2011 NCAA Men’s & Women’s Final Four of Lacrosse using images from The Art of Lax™ portfolio.  The thousands of fans scheduled to pack both events, we agree that it is a “win-win” for both brands.

A few weeks ago, the three of us recently met up for dinner/drinks in Hoboken, NJ after work to discuss the possible things that may arise.  I mentioned how funny it was not knowing, back then, both business (practically strangers) would ever come to a stage like this.  Jim added this quote that really stuck and defined the unpredictable road looking back,

It’s not about the classes you take, but the hands you shake.

Written by theartoflax

May 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Looking EAST-making the stride to ASIA.

with 2 comments

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.

Written by theartoflax

May 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

You LEARN something EVERYDAY

leave a comment »

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!

Written by theartoflax

April 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

A favor in return.

leave a comment »

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.





Written by theartoflax

April 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Expansion.

with one comment

“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)

Written by theartoflax

February 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Moving FORWARD while looking BACK.

with one comment

“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

“Creating the Eck’s Factor”

with one comment

Here is the first piece I did for 2011 titled, the “Eck’s Factor”.  It’s an action portrait of Chris Eck who is currently the face-off man for the Boston Cannons in MLL, a 2010 MLL All-Star, a member of the Team USA national/training roster and the founder of Eck’s Factor Lacrosse (teaching the fundamentals and tactics of facing off).  This is the second action portrait I did of him – the first being a pen & ink drawing titled, “Winning the X“.  The “Eck’s Factor” is executed using a mixed-media of graphite, pen & ink and watercolor. We recently met up here in NYC where he signed a limited edition of 24 reproductions (24 – which is his jersey number) each for both the “Eck’s Factor” and “Winning the X” pieces that will be presented and sold to the public at The Art of Lax™ booth #227, at the 2011 U.S. Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore.

Below are the stages of execution for the “Eck’s Factor”:

Putting on the finishing touches, shadows, details and off to get them signed by Chris Eck himself!

The limited edition, signed prints of “Winning the X” and “Eck’s Factor”.  Each edition is numbered and titled by the artist for proof of record.

I’m very happy with the end result and the subject matter overall.  It is great to work with one of the BEST in the professional game today.  Thanks, Eck!

 

Written by theartoflax

January 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Posted in Art, Inspiration, Lacrosse