Do you ever wonder how the design of a goalie mask is arrived at?
Do you want to hear what Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera think of the goalie masks I created for them?
Put aside about 3 minutes and watch this video that the Phoenix Coyotes put together which answers all of those questions and shares some behind the scenes footage:
Just a couple weeks ago the Montreal Canadiens made a very smart acquisition in trading for Dustin ‘Tic’ Tokarski.
There were two immediate rewards for me personally:
- he needed a new paint job and
- since I live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and Dustin will be playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs, it means I will see him in action a lot more
In case you don’t know, then you need to be informed that the Canadiens acquired a goalie who’s performance only gets better under pressure. Check out this resume:
Tokarski won the Calder Cup with Norfolk last year, in 2009 he led Canada to a Word Junior Gold Medal, the prior year he was part of a Spokane Chiefs team that won the Memorial Cup. Even as a youth Tokarski was a winner, leading his team to a Canadian Midget National Championship.
courtesy of http://www.habseyesontheprize.com
Enough about Dustin! Let’s talk mask design!
The parameters for the mask were simple: maintain The Tick imagery and use a simple clean design. The overall theme is retro, the minimal use of colour gives it a throwback feel to the earliest styles of goalie masks.
For imagery, on one side are the various logos that have been worn by the historic Montreal Canadiens franchise. On the other side, is the funniest superhero ever, The Tick. For this graphic The Tick is breaking through the helmet ready with his Habs power ring, ready to “Goalkeep safely!”.
We stick with the Phoenix Coyotes for today’s post as well, this time it is highly touted prospect Mark Visentin’s new mask.
Mark currently plays in the AHL for Phoenix’s affiliate the Portland Pirates. When we discussed the design it was clear that celebrating the 20th season of the franchise should be a prominent element.
The artwork on this mask begins and ends with everything Pirate: a ship, cannons, an eye-patch bearded pirate, skulls, skulls and more skulls.
On one side of the mask we displayed the 20th anniversary logo of the Portland franchise. The rest of the mask is my artwork which is stems from the haul of a pirate ship unloading its arsenal of cannon balls. The right side of the mask is a hockey stick yielding pirate I morphed from the team logo.
The chin of the mask features Mark’s nickname which resides on the water breaking from the front of the ship. The text is contains a backdrop of skulls to ensure we can claim that this mask has the most skulls on any hockey mask. Ever.
After seeing this mask and reading this post, there is only one thing left. I know you want, to so belt it out:
Mike Smith (aka Smitty) has worn a Looney Tunes themed Wile E. Coyote mask since he joined the Phoenix Coyotes. The mask design has become an icon and we decided to evolve the design for the 2013 NHL season.
The twist on this year’s addition is that it includes a personal touch. On the sides of the mask you will find Smitty’s two sons decked out in hockey gear.
The Wile E. design has also been updated as he donned a retro goalie mask. A Wile E. mask is not completed without the Roadrunner, his fossilized remnants can be found on the chin of the mask.
Be sure to check out Mike Smith’s past masks to see the evolution:
Smitty wore the mask for the first time yesterday against the Edmonton Oilers, I’ve include a game photo (courtesy of the Edmonton Journal).
Over the next few days I will be releasing my three latest goalie masks. These masks share a common thread in that they all belong to goalies of the Phoenix Coyotes: Mike ‘Smitty’ Smith, Jason ‘Barbs’ LaBarbera and upcomer Mark ‘Vizzer’ Visentin.
Anyone that has been near a hockey rink knows that goalies are a special breed. I would take this even a step further for Smitty, Barbs and Vizzer and classify them as an apex predators sitting on the top of the food chain.
Today’s post features Jason LaBarbera’s 2013 mask. Barbs loves it loud and his masks up to now have completely reflected it.
This year’s edition is no different, although he has traded in wrestling and Rock n’ Roll imagery for that of the Coyotes emblems and Navajo Indian patterns.
The bold imagery is back-dropped by a desert scene and completed with a personal note of the two stars on either side of the chin. The stars are allusions to Jason’s two kids.
Of course a Jason LaBarbera goalie mask is not complete without a Metallica reference. This take place on the back plate of the helmet which features the St. Anger fists.
Be sure to check out some of the memorable masks I created for Jason LaBarbera in the past:
Tis’ the season…
When Christmas is near, you know the World Junior hockey tournament is not far behind. With the current lockout in the NHL, this year’s WJ competition cannot start quick enough. I am yearning for hockey!
The canvases and helmets I painted as part of the 100th Grey Cup festivities are available on Ebay:
- BC Lions – Zero to Go
- Calgary Stampeders – Beginning of the Festival
- Edmonton Eskimos – The Rain Bowl
- Hamilton Tiger Cats – Rookie Time
- Montreal Alouettes – Birth of a Dynasty
- Saskatchewan Roughriders – The Kick
- Toronto Argos – The 87 Yard Return
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Canvas) – The Fog Bowl
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Helmet) – The Fog Bowl
Just over a week ago I wrote a post about the Montreal Alouettes Tribute helmet I completed as part of the monumental 100th Grey Cup festivities.
A lot has happened since then and the helmets for all 8 CFL teams have been completed. Each helmet contains dedicated artwork to the team’s history to commemorate classic moments in Grey Cup history.
I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking…
This year’s hockey hall of fame class consisted of Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.
I painted a Live Mural eXperience featuring each player as part of the event. Before being auctioned off it was signed by each newly appointed hall members.
The historic Grey Cup is celebrating its 100th year anniversary in legendary style. As part of the many festivities leading up to the big game on November 25th in Toronto, I have been commissioned by the CFL to complete 9 commemorative football helmets.
I was directed to design each helmet to celebrate great individual moments of the 8 CFL teams as chosen by the League. The 9th helmet will be saved for last and will capture the teams vying for the 100th Grey Cup.