As I have tried to remain informative to those that look upon my website and this blog – tonight I am in Kingston, displaying my art exhibit: “Hockey’s Masked Men” at the K-Rock Center Arena where the Kingston Frontenacs are facing off against the Oshawa Generals. While the game begins at 7:00 PM, I will arrive prior to the game to have my artwork set up (in-case anyone is able to arrive early, I’d like to be up and ready to go).
I’ve never been to Kingston before. The downtown area looks beautiful. I love the architecture winding around the main streets. As I write this I’m looking out over the water from a hotel room. I like this a lot.
As for ‘new’ news. On my long drive down I was able to confirm with the Belleville Bulls that I can also display my artwork at their game tomorrow, where they take on Kingston at 7:05 PM as well. I cannot explain to you how exciting this time is for me. My momentum is growing more and more each day it seems, and I really have to send out a big word of gratitude to these hockey teams that have opened their doors and allowed me to show my paintings off to their fans and neighbors.
Once again, tonight (Friday, November 30th) I am in Kingston for their 7:00PM game at the K-Rock Centre. Tomorrow (Saturday, December 1st), I will be in Belleville for their 7:05PM game at the Yardman Arena. Hope to see you all out there. Please feel free to come speak to me if you have the chance to view my work.
And finally, here is a wonderful article that was written about me in the Kingston’s newspaper, The Whig:
Goalie mask exhibit brings NHL flavour to rink
By Michael Lea, Kingston Whig-Standard
KINGSTON – Any hockey lovers going through NHL-withdrawal symptoms can get their fix Friday night during the Kingston Frontenacs game at the K-Rock Centre.
Sarnia artist Michael Slotwinski will be displaying his oil paintings that depict some of the NHL’s most famous goalies and their masks.
Titled Hockey’s Masked Men, the project dates back to an assignment from his art classes in university, the recent graduate explained.
“I had to have something old and something new so I did an old Gerry Cheevers goal mask and a Dominik Hasek mask,” Slotwinski said.
Thanks to the demands placed on his time by his other courses, he had to complete the two in 24 hours each.
“I finished 20 minutes before the critique,” he said.
He got some good feedback on the work and decided to do a few more.
The next one he did was of Ken Dryden.
“I actually had to re-do that one three times because I wanted to get it right,” the artist said.
Since then, the goalie maks paintings he has done include those of Martin Brodeur, Grant Fuhr, Felix Potvin, Mike Richter and Patrick Roy.
He has only seen the goalies on television, never in person, so he wanted to make sure he captured their style correctly.
“For each one of these paintings I have had to do a lot of research,” he said.
He watched dozens of YouTube clips of the goalies and got a Don Cherry retrospective video.
“I watched so many videos in my research I had forgotten there is a lockout,” he said.
The research gave him plenty of ideas to incorporate into his paintings.
“I have seen a lot of their styles and tried to interpret that into a lot of the paintings.”
He always tried to replicate a classic pose or position that was unique to each player.
“I spent about two months painting 12 other ones and they have become a hit,” Slotwinski said. “So I decided to take them on tour and see where it goes.”
He put them on display during a couple of Sarnia Sting games and will be in Kingston on Friday night for the game against the Oshawa Generals.
Slotwinski likes to add a personal touch to his display.
“I stand by my paintings and I ask people to come talk to me. You will have the casual person who will just walk by and have a quick glance at it and feel nothing more but then you have those ones where they stop with their buddy and they try and pick out their favourite ones, they try and name all the teams and all their favourite players,” he said. “They pull me aside and say ‘Hey, I used to be a goalie and this guy here was my icon.’”
Sometimes they will have kids with them and will explain to them who the goalies were.
“These goalies wore these masks like their shields. They displayed their art on them so the players who were charging towards them knew who they were facing. It made them stand out on television.”
The paintings have a personal appeal for Slotwinski as well.
“My whole family plays hockey and everyone around me seems to play hockey so there’s a real drive.”
The paintings are about one metre square and focus on the goalies’ faces.
“It’s really quite impressive. It’s dominating and it looks iconic when you see them in person,” he said
Slotwinski said he is “definitely” planning on doing more goalie portraits. He has even had people put in requests.
And there are some personal favourites he would have loved to have done, such as Jacques Plante.
“But there’s only so many you can do in two months,” he said.
The future of the project is a little up in the air and depends on how the tour goes, he said.
“If this becomes a popular thing then I could create it possibly into an annual event and I could return to different hockey arenas displaying different goalies. There are so many throughout the history of hockey. There is a lot to cover and many favourites I haven’t even had a chance to come to yet.”
Slotwinski is planning to sell his work but is in the early stages of setting up a way to market them.
He said the response to the early showings has been “overwhelming” and is hoping to keep the momentum going although his expectations are limited.
“For my first year I won’t make a lot of money and I am fine with that. There has got to be a lot of hard work before I see a return. I know down the road things will work. I spent the last couple of years at university as a starving student so I am used to the idea that I don’t have a lot of cash in my pocket.”