In 2005 my artistic creativity was lacking A LOT of enthusiasm. Teaching art to grade school students wasn’t exciting. Pharmaceutical/Chemical/Health & Scientific advertising was/is bland – more like “nerdy”. So when the New York Titans asked me to conceptualize and design their advertising, marketing and game program in late-2006, for their January 2007 inaugural season, I couldn’t resist. I had to take it. This was my first time to professionally do something that required my direct, yet strange, mix of talents – ART and LACROSSE!
The opportunity came to me at a lacrosse fundraiser party on a “native’s night” (the name given for night before Thanksgiving in NYC). Dana Czapnik (a former member of Gotham Women’s Lacrosse and a native-New Yorker) was the Media Relations Director of the newly formed, New York Titans of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). She asked for an art director to take charge and design material for the Titans, in particularly the game program and told me “it was mine to have, if interested.” Of course I said, “Yes!”
“Oil & Vinegar don’t mix but when they do, it makes salad dressing.”
Artists are usually not Athletes and vice-versa. But this was up my alley, especially the fact that it was lacrosse! Since the Titans gave me full control on the ideas, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was the kind of work that I’ve always dreamed about and there were many nights I just could not sleep due to constant thinking and conceptualizing. Many times had me leaving their office high above Grand Central Station late with a huge smile on my face, because I knew that I was going to do this kind of work the following morning. My arguments, more like debates, were dealing with which lacrosse photo goes best with that certain lacrosse article… or which lacrosse player was going to be featured in a photo spread… or how that marketing material needed to somehow include a lacrosse element to it. I couldn’t believe these were my problems! I couldn’t believe I was getting paid for this! These were not problems in my book, rather things I really looked forward to handling each and every single day I worked for the Titans.
At the START and END of the day… it is a BUSINESS.
I remember in art school, when the word “business” was mentioned by our professors in a studio art class, it usually “rocked the boat” for a lot of creative minded individuals. It wasn’t all fun and games with the Titans. A lot of weekends were spent working and communicating with vendors in charge of printing, marketing and coordinating all the fine details that made up the big picture. Ideas were constantly tweaked, pages and content added at the last minute and having to deal with real problems that weren’t your own and explaining to people who just do not understand your expertise. I learned so much about the professional sports and entertainment industry, that it was just that, an industry… a BUSINESS!
January 17, 2007.
It was opening night of the 2007 New York Titans Season. I picked up my complimentary tickets at the “Will Call” window at Madison Square Garden and met my parents and a bunch of my lacrosse teammates from all over. Upon walking up the ramp to our seating section, I saw the game programs being sold to the many fans lining up to purchase them. I’ll never forget seeing that for the first time, published in print, and not on my computer screen. There were some differences such as the color being different on paper than on screen, among others, but the job was approved and manifestly, it was all behind me. The overall feeling of excitement was that of attending a movie premiere but not as a spectator, rather as an individual who had some sort of responsibility in the making.
Lacrosse in a hockey rink.
Honestly, I was/am not a fan of the indoor style of the game called “box” as they call it in Canada, but the Titans had many U.S. based players playing the box version. It was interesting to see such high profile names like Ryan Boyle, Casey Powell, and among others that dominated the field version of the game, playing that night. It’s a different game in many ways that I can’t explain. It’s tough, but as a goalie in field lacrosse, I think the box goalies have it way easier with all that protective equipment.
I forgot whom the Titans opened up their season against… I think the Chicago Shamrocks? My eyes were wandering all over the interior space of Madison Square Garden; wondering the amount of seats filled, the reaction of the fans and especially how many game programs were in the hands of individuals. I was very happy that the sport of lacrosse was getting more mainstream and that the NLL expanded to the most famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden a.k.a. “The Mecca”. I really couldn’t care if the Titans won or lost that opening game because my mind was taken over by all the things coming together that special night. Most of all, I was very happy to see my artistic work having finally made it’s way into the lacrosse industry.
I knew that this is where I belong.
The following images are from the “Calgary Day” event that I did a few years back where an affiliate of the Calgary Roughnecks requested images of a few of their players done for their promotions. This was the first time I did traditional art for the indoor version/box game.