Goal Mask Artist Stephane Bergeron
The artist responsible for Marc-Andre Fleury’s and Cristobal Huet’s Mask Designs talks with InGoal Magazine.
Stephane Bergeron is a professional goalie mask artist who has worked for many goaltenders, including today’s stars Marc-Andre Fleury and Cristobal Huet. Check out our discussions with Stephane about Huet’s mask and Fleury’s mask for more on his specific work. For those of you who saw the original posts letting readers know about the interview please go back and have a look now. We have updated the photos and even included some of the original design sketches, kindly provided by Stephane.
Like a lot of mask artists, Stephane was a skilled designer who also happened to play goal and was his own first client.
“I used to be a graphic designer before I started to airbrush… At first I painted my own mask. Then I decided to do something with that. I was one of the crazy guys to try and make a living with that 15 years ago in Quebec. It was a new field then, so I painted maybe one mask a week and it took three or four years before I could make a living from it. Since then I have painted two or three masks a week and have now painted over 1300 masks.”
With so much competition many mask artists have expanded into other fields to maintain a busy workload. At one point Stephane worked on motorcycles but he noted that for two or three years now he has stopped advertising for it as he has no time – all his time is taken up painting goalie masks now. It’s only June but he has already begun his “rush season” for next year.
A few of the artists I speak with know each other. Like in any industry, some are friends while there is no love lost between some of them. Perhaps it’s the highly charged competitive atmosphere, or maybe because he is one of the few full-time artists in Quebec, but Stephane doesn’t count other mask artists amongst his friends:
“No I don’t have many friends like that. Years ago with iTech we were two artists for the pros, Frank Cipra and me and even then, we met once and you could feel the….it wasn’t that friendly, you know? And even these days, it’s hard to get some NHL guys. You know, there is a big competition, you can see it. I could lose a customer next week, but then I could gain one in a few months too. Some goalies really care about you and if they like your paint job they’ll stay with you for a long time. But some other goalies I do a nice paint job and the season after they won’t call you back. They want to see another painter.”
“But here in Quebec I’m one of the only guys who paint for NHL goalies. Despite what come people claim on their websites!”
Looking at his website, like with other artists it’s obvious that there are goalies in the NHL today that Stephane once worked with but no longer does. His original designs though are still reflected in some of today’s paint jobs. I asked him if it’s a little frustrating when he sees his design get evolved by another artist?
“Oh yea, (laughs), of course! If the guy is not happy, that’s OK. If the goalie talks to you and tells you what he wants, then I have to project that idea on his mask. Sometimes goalies are not happy, not often, but it happens. But when he keeps the same concept (and goes to another artist)…that concept is mine. But I was with iTech and they decide who will paint the masks.”
Stephane was very generous with his time. Go have a look at his website and if you’re in the market for a new paint job, give him a call. I’m sure you’ll come up with smething fantastic together.
For more on Stephane’s work see: