UPDATE: We have the first look at Fleury’s Olympic Mask right here.
Did you come here looking for the 2009-2010 Mask Design? Artist Stephane Bergeron told inGoal Mag that Fleury had him paint the same design on this year’s mask. You’ll notice it is branded Bauer now though.
What exactly is that on Marc-Andre Fleury’s mask and where did it come from?
I love the work on Marc-Andre Fleury’s mask. There is something about the simple design that captures you from afar – the obvious ice blocks and the large Penguins’ logo – but then it challenges you to keep looking for details. I was never quite sure what the wild design on the side opposite the Penguins logo was – a crazed psychotic goalie maybe?
I went looking to see who did the work and came across Stephane Bergeron’s name and his company Griffe Originale. I also discovered that a lot of fans want to know about the work and just what that character is. It was a real pleasure to find Stephane’s web site – and to discover that he also paints for Cristobal Huet and Corey Crawford who drew a few minutes of play recently in the Western Conference finals.
I think Huet’s design also captures that simple and striking graphic style, while having a remarkable level of detail to impress. I gave Stephane a call and we chatted at some length about his work with Huet, Fleury and the industry in general. He has had a long relationship with Marc-Andre Fleury and enjoys the challenge of painting for him:
“I’ve been working with him since junior. He’s a picky guy. He will agree quite easily (about the general design) but if there’s a little something on the mask that he doesn’t like, we will talk for a long time about it.”
Fleury, like many NHL goalies, likes a new mask design each year. Stephane described how they came up with the one we are seeing now in the Stanley Cup Finals:
“This year’s mask we blended the design of last year and the season before. From last year we ket the ice blocks and he always keeps the Penguins logo on one side – that is very important for him. Two year’s ago I drew him that flower on the side with the goalie glove and mask and he liked that so we decided to use it again.”
And there was the explanation – the crazy character on the side is a flower. That won’t come as a huge surprise if you have listened to his teammates being interviewed. They quite often refer to him by his nickname – Flower. Stephane expanded a bit for us on how it fit into the desgn:
“Fleury means flower in French, so his nickname is flower. So maybe two years ago he didn’t know what to do (for a mask design), so I proposed a kind of scary flower with goalie gear. So I just drew it like you see it right now and he just loved it.”
I’m sure that when he is at his acrobatic best Marc-Andre really looks like a scary goalie – one crazy flower or sure.
Thank you very much to Stephane for taking the time with us and sharing his great artwork. Stop by his web site for a visit and if you have a mask that needs an NHL quality paint job, don’t hesitate to give him a call.
For more on Stephane’s work please see:
Stephane Bergeron La Griffe Originale on being a professional mask artist (coming soon).
All photos are courtesy of Stephane Bergeron, all rights reserved.