“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – General George S. Patton
The title of this article comes from the lyrics of the famed Beastie Boys song, but supported by a quote from one of the most decorated Generals in World War II. A recent custom order with a unique theme required elements that haven’t been done in years – making it a challenge. Looking back, testing yourself once in a while is a good thing in order to better your talents.
The Brooklyn Lacrosse Club, a youth program based in the NYC borough, was founded in 2012. Prior to the 2019 Holiday Season, a parent from the program inquired about a custom piece done as a coach’s gift. It was to be a team picture – a huddle of multiple individuals – which intimidated me, at first. With a heavy work load from the Holiday Season the project was going to be grueling, but as a competitive person, there’s always something about a great challenge.
As the graphite pencil and the ink pen met the paper, the progress pics were documented along the way:
Once the contour lines of the figures were blocked in, the foundation for heavy inking to create scale and value made way.
Details and more details were added and the contrast of figures was coming about.
The confidence kept on growing after each figure, part and section was being filled and coming out as planned. That feeling is one of the most exciting parts about being an artist.
And finally, I was done with the team huddle of The Brooklyn Lacrosse Club. At least that’s what I thought.
I had a discussion with the client and we agreed that what made this team unique was the location of Brooklyn. One of the practice fields for the team is at Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the Brooklyn side of the East River, which separates Manhattan and Brooklyn. Without an urban setting, the image above could be any team, from any location, mostly a suburban setting that lacrosse is known for. We agreed that it needed the downtown Manhattan skyline as a background to fully define the piece of art.
But that meant architecture, something totally different than human anatomy. While both are very complex in execution, it had been a long time since I did any architecture pieces, thus I had to “re-tool” myself for that. Rulers, straight-edges and other geometric tools were found and brought to the drafting table, along with a very deep breath prior to the start.
Back during my time in art school, a number of my friends were architecture majors and they commonly joked by calling it ‘archi-TORTURE’. At this point, there was a different kind of stress coming from it, which I quickly thought of those individuals in the grueling department, back then. I just didn’t want to mess this up!
You started to see depth and a lot of meaning once the architecture was being placed.
With the edifices being carefully rendered in the background it was time to put a surface to make the figures in the foreground leveled.
The final marks, contrasting shades and shadows were put in as a finish was near.
I opened this article with a quote from General Patton, which happens to be one of my favorite quotes to live by. It couldn’t be any more true.
This project required a number of very late nights, not because I had to due to the complexity, rather because I wanted to. As each element was working out, the more I wanted to keep working on it. And while this was a daunting project in two aspects – the figures, and the buildings – the NYC theme, for me, had a close and personal attachment for it being my hometown. It kept me focused and determined. It’s a proud reminder to use for future challenges ahead.
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Some architectural renderings from my non-lacrosse art / travel and destination art collection: