“Are those used for crabbing?”
That was the direct question from the lady on the subway platform of the 4, 5 & 6 trains in Manhattan with my pair of STX Goalmaster sticks resting on my equipment bag. It was 1989. There were only tokens, no MetroCards. Brooklyn wasn’t a “brand”. The Yankees were not known as winners. The Bronx still had a 212 area-code and buying a cup of coffee could get you a fat lip, instead of free Wi-Fi.
I was in 5th grade, and on the way to a grade school friend’s place where his parents would drive us to a weekend lacrosse practice in Oyster Bay, Long Island. How many of us “city-kids” played this strange sport, back then? My hometown of New York City (the 5 boroughs, not just “the city”) was a “dry-well” when it came to lacrosse. I thought that, this lacrosse-thing, was just a phase, or a short chapter in my life. I never would’ve thought that I would be a part of its growth, but it’s amazing how far things have come – Lacrosse-wise!
Fast-forward to present day, I wasn’t expecting the inquiry from Mat Levine to do commissioned art and design for his organization, CityLax, right around the Fall and 2013 Holiday Season. But when I did get his proposal, I felt like this was up my alley, literally. I remember first meeting Mat at a causal pick-up lacrosse game in City College in Manhattan back in 2002, which was spearheaded by his organization, Doc’s Youth Lacrosse. I remember looking around at, what was considered the NYC-lacrosse community, back then, and was happy to see that I was not the only one who carried lacrosse sticks in the subway.
The first proposal came to me at the 2013 CityLax Southampton Shootout in Long Island. Mat asked if I could design a logo for his new travel team, LC NEW YORK. I was happy to hear that Tewaaraton Award winners, Max Seibald and Rob Pannell, would be coaches of the newly established program. It was great to sit down with them and the CityLax group to come up with artistic direction for the design of the logo.
I think I had to look up a few times to really confirm to myself that, that was really Max and Rob sitting across the table. The end result… below. Can you guess the symbolic imagery??
The second proposal was actually two-fold. Mat asked if I could do a logo that would be used for promotional purposes for the annual CityLax Gala. The keywords for the gala theme were; “Reunion”, “Coming Together”, “Huddle Up”, “Sticks Up… Hands In”, among others.
CityLax board member, John Moser, who also acts as an advisor/mentor to my business, along with Whitney Thayer and Mairead Stack, gave me some great direction and ideas for concepts. The ideas that were coming were too good for it to be just a simple logo, that we decided to ramp it up and make it a “banner” of some sort.
I pulled out from my “mental rolodex” an idea that I always head for the past 3 years, or so, but never got the chance to do it. This was the opportunity to run it by Mat and company. They were “All-In”… to it…
But this project was two-fold. Mat wanted to incorporate the CityLax logo into the banner illustration, but before that he wanted a NEW CityLax logo. The work was getting more and more exciting. We targeted a clean and modern look with an urban feel, or symbolic imagery.
The end result, below…
Peel, slice, dice and mix in a bowl. Let it sit for an hour and then serve…
The image for “All-In!” combines; sport, education, history and cultural diversity. To me, the symbolic imagery of cultural diversity is a prime definition of NYC – a melting pot. And the more we can expose this sport to the non-traditional areas, it will keep on growing!
The Road is Long.
Recently, I was cleaning up my studio from clutter, all over. In a binder full of junk, I found an old article from The New York Times dated on Feb. 26th 2006, the paper yellowed from all the years. I remember my parents sending it to me as a reminder of how far the sport has grown in NYC. That tattered and dog-eared article was of Mat Levine and his venture, CityLax. Looking back, I would not have thought that I would be working with him, creatively, on something that I love to do (lacrosse) when I first met him on the old turf stadium in City College. I look at Mat, and the rest of the CityLax folks, as friends more than clients.
I’m proud of being a Native-New Yorker. I’m very honored to be part of this game. And I feel lucky to have been involved in growing the sport of lacrosse in the most cosmopolitan city in the world.
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The 2014 CityLax Gala takes place tonight at the Yale Club in Manhattan. These new smartphone covers will be available for purchase!
14 x 17 inches. Graphite, pen & ink on bristol board.
Available for purchase, here.
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