Jeremie White is an Illustrator and painter, owner of SportsArt.ca, as well as the Design Director and partner at Suburbia Studios. He enjoys living in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia with his wife and two teenage boys. And guess what? Jeremie and his kids play hockey.
Q: Your work is so beautiful and you’re obviously a big hockey fan! Can you share how your love of art and hockey came together?
A: When I was eight years old I would draw my favorite Canucks players; guys like Cesare Maniago and Richard Brodeur. I also use to collect hockey cards and game programs. After high school, I took the IDEA Design and Illustration program at Capilano in my hometown Vancouver. After graduation, I went on to work as a graphic designer for Suburbia and took on freelance illustration assignments. In the lead-up to the 1998 Winter Olympics, the first involving the NHL stars, I was hired to do a series of magazine illustrations featuring the best pros going to Nagano for the Games. That experience reignited my childhood passion to create sports art. I did some paintings for my own home and have been doing NHL art since.
Q: Can you share a little about your process with us?
A: Andy Warhol once said "You ought to make things big, people like it that way." I see my hockey card paintings, with their large scale and vibrant colors, as Canadian Pop Art. I usually start with a graphic drawing and a monochromatic acrylic under-painting. Layering in gel medium or gesso helps me build depth and texture. Finally, when I lay in darker washes using oil paint, the medium gets pretty thick and I can apply the lighter tones and highlights with a visible energy in the brush-strokes. My goal is to ride the line between capturing a likeness of the subject matter and maintaining a vitality that doesn’t hide the artist’s mark-making process.
Q: Have you created any pieces for NHL players?
A: Terry Sawchuk Jr. owns my painting of his father, one of the all-time greats, Red Wings goaltender Terry Sawchuk. Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur had my hockey card artwork "The Flower" hanging in his restaurant in Montreal.
Often hired by fans and sometimes by a player’s family, I have honored the careers of stars and journeymen players with my paintings. Honestly, I would love to get more commissions from the parents and partners of pro athletes. As an artist, it is such a unique opportunity to celebrate athletic accomplishments with a painting.
Q: Who is on your current ‘wish list’ to paint?
A: Connor McDavid, Austin Matthews and Gordie Howe.
Q: Aside from a love of the game, what artists inspire your work?
A: I love the bold way JC Leyendecker and John Singer Sargent applied paint. A more contemporary artist, Malcolm Liepke, uses an economy of brush strokes that has also inspired me since Art School.
Q: As a graphic designer, I understand you also had a hand in the design of the Vancouver Canucks uniforms many years back. What was that process like?
I had to pinch myself. At the time, I was a design student at Capilano, and a lifelong fan of my local team. The Assistant GM of the Canucks was Brian Burke. On his weekly radio appearances, Burke expressed his hatred of the club’s home jerseys, calling them "puke yellow." I saw my opportunity! I begged his secretary for a 5-minute meeting with Brian and eventually presented my ideas. Long story short, some back and forth, using an existing logo, I worked with the legendary GM Pat Quinn and they wore my design for several seasons.
Wearing my uniform design, in 1994, the Canucks were one victory away from winning the Stanley Cup. You can see the design and more details here:
Q: We understand that you have created a very cool ‘Hockey Room’ in your home. How did that come about?
We originally called the TV room / Man Cave in our house the "Sports Room" and it has since evolved into the "Hockey Room". Since my wife and I are hockey fans — I am obsessive and she is tolerant — Jeanene suggested it was a logical place to showcase my paintings and memorabilia collection that has grown since childhood.
You can see the room here: