Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis did not have a lot of time to get his mask ready before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but he had only one request for his painter.
Gudlevskis wanted Latvia’s Freedom Monument featured prominently.
With only a week to work, Jesse Acciacca of Jesse’s Custom Design Airbrush Studio delivered so much more, turning the new Vaughn mask made by Pro’s Choice into a work of art that has since become a huge hit a the Sochi Olympics.
“One week before Kristers was set to be on his way to Sochi for the 2014 Olympics to play for his Home team Latvia he called me to discuss his mask paint job the only thing he was real sure that he wanted was the Liberty monument on the forehead,” Acciacca said. “Other than that he left it up to me. With a short time to do this one I tried to make it a simple, but somewhat detailed as possible, using the elements of the Latvia crest and the burgundy-and-white striped flag as a background.”
The mask could be on display at least one more time in these Olympics, as Gudlevskis, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect who has spent time in the ECHL, AHL and NHL (as an emergency call-up backup), and the Latvians take on Switzerland in the qualification round on Wednesday.
The centrepiece, as requested, is on the forehead: The lady of liberty holding gilded stars, just as she appears atop the Freedom Monument a memorial in Riga that honours soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence from 1918-1920.
The rest of the mask uses pieces of the Latvian Coat of Arms, including the rising sun that sits on the chin, a red lion on the right, and a silver griffin on the left.
The Pro’s Choice proprietary Tri Cat Cage has been been painted white, a perfect compliment to the burgundy and white striped background of the Latvian flag.
It’s a striking mask, and it’s not the only Pro’s Choice-Acciacca combination in Sochi. The mask maker and painter also teamed up for Tuukka Rask’s Finnish mask. You can see more of the Boston-area artist’s work on his company website, and Facebook Page, and on Twitter. In the meantime enjoy his latest painting on the canvas provided by Pro’s Choice, who are also on Facebook and Twitter: