Celebrating the art of the crease


  • Jeff Hicks, Record staff
  • Fri Mar 08 2013 20:06:00

Celebrating the art of the crease

Art grad’s collection of goalie mask paintings part of Hockey Town event

Michael Slotwinski Michael Slotwinski ‘s Fuhry Before The Storm is one of 12 paintings of goalie masks on display at Kitchener City Hall on Saturday.
1 of 2

KITCHENER — Artists are a lot like goalies.

“There are some days where it’s just not working,” said Michael Slotwinski, who brings his gallery of famous goalie mask paintings to Kitchener City Hall on Saturday for the third annual Hockey Town celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Other days, you are impenetrable and your work is impeccable.

Exhibit A is Slotwinski’s portrait of Grant Fuhr’s scuffed Edmonton Oilers mask leaning forward in anticipate of the puck-driven chaos that is to come.

Slotwinski, a 23-year-old University of Guelph art grad from Sarnia, calls it The Fuhry before the Storm.

“The day I painted it, everything just kind of clicked,” said Slotwinski, admiring the painting’s dynamic features, lighting and perspective.

“Normally, it takes me a week to do. This one I did in two days. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I just kind of worked on it and felt happy the whole way doing it.”

Slotwinski is a simple road hockey goalie himself. But his brother Matt played goal and warmed the Kitchener Rangers bench as a backup for five games six years ago.

His family is hockey-obsessed. So he channels his artistic instincts into depicting the false faces of the sport’s nimblest netminders.

Patrick Roy. Gerry Cheevers. Ken Dryden. Mike Palmateer. Tony Esposito. Terry Sawchuk.

They are among the 14 huge portraits, completed last September and October, he lugs around Ontario in the back of his parents’ minivan.

He stops at Ontario Hockey League rinks and other outposts where depictions of the game’s face-stamped postal workers, created in part by sketching the masks themselves at Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame, can be appreciated.

The masks-to-the-masses tour will continue next year. He plans to do another set and just finished Jim Rutherford. A second Ken Dryden, with a later mask, is on the way too.

The supply of crease inspiration is limitless.

“There are so many throughout time,” he said. “I have a big source to work with.”


Hockey Town

Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kitchener City Hall rotunda and civic square rink

NHL trophies on display, charity barbecue, Masked Men art exhibit

Kitchener tyke teams play for Mayor’s Cup from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.