“As you meet athletes all the time, some of the things that stick with you, or you remember the most, are the things that didn’t get done.” -Aaron Boone (Manager, New York Yankees)
If you’ve been a friend, follower, customer, client, partner and experienced The Art of Lax up to this point, you may have heard this so many times.
In prep school, The Art of Lax started ‘in-spirit’ as doodles while I was bored in class. My dormmates who saw my art and took interest would often pay for a custom drawing in the form of snacks: microwave popcorn, granola bars, soda and instant ramen noodles. That fun experience taught me the ability of getting somebody’s attention.
In art school, The Art of Lax™ became my ‘Senior Thesis‘ (‘Senior Project’ in art school terms) but when explaining my desire to artistically illustrate the history of lacrosse to art professors the response(s) felt dead. While I was allowed to do it, I always felt that I was ‘flying solo’ and didn’t get the sufficient feedback, or direction to make it a career. That solo experience taught me the importance of finding a target audience.
After college, I entered the workforce and I thought that my ‘Senior Thesis’ was just going to be something in my past. But, I always thought about it. When I returned to playing lacrosse on a regular basis, I thought about it VERY often. Having gained work knowledge and back to playing lacrosse, I launched The Art of Lax™ to the public in 2009. It was the best thing I ever done for my professional experience.
Going back to my art school, that ‘Senior Thesis’ was originally named ‘Lacrosse: An Experience Through History‘. It was supposed to be a coffee table book showcasing stories, or vignettes, and illustrations about the game of lacrosse from the Native American roots to the present day version. These stories, big or small, popular or not, were either lost, unheard of, overshadowed or had a different meaning, a version, or a point of view, that was never given the chance to be told. But all in all, they each have their own place – a special experience – in what is considered the oldest team sport on Earth.
I pitched and shopped the idea around a number of publishing, marketing, new product development and digital agencies in NYC, among other locations. While I was grateful for the companies that agreed to phone calls and schedule sit down meetings, I always had the feeling that something like this would be dormant. The personal experience of building The Art of Lax taught me that most often people DO NOT care about ideas, they only care about results. And during the Summer of 2020 – the year of COVID-19 – I decided to go on my own terms but do it differently.
Ryan Thayer, the creator of Vintage Lax Brand was chosen to be a partner in this project. His entrepreneurial spirit, drive and enthusiasm is impressive and after seeing him build something from the ground up, I knew he wasn’t just about having a ‘good idea’. Also, who would really want to do something like this alone, without a teammate – somebody to help charge creativity? If there was ONE thing I knew that I didn’t want, it was to relive a lackluster experience like in art school.
So what is this project, or venture? It’s still going to be called, ‘Lacrosse: An Experience Through History‘ but it’s NOT going to be a physical coffee table book. Using the digital and social mediums of today, these lacrosse-themed short stories, or vignettes, accompanied with whimsical, editorial-like artwork and illustrations, will be promoted and launched on a regular basis. Our goal is to not just entertain, but to also educate, inspire and open up a dialogue with these stories, enabling a forum for others to share their own – creating a BETTER EXPERIENCE.
Our first installment starts on Friday, February 5th. We hope you enjoy it!.
Vinnie Ricasio (Founder, Creative Director – The Art of Lax)
Ryan Thayer (Owner – Vintage Lax Brand)