Via news release
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Fans first in line at three Rockford IceHogs games this season have the chance to walk away with an original hat designed by a local artist.
The IceHogs teamed up with the Rockford Area Arts Council this year to create a local artists hat series. The Hogs said the goal is to support the Rockford artist community and give artists a platform to showcase their creativity.
The Hogs began seeking designs in August, and a selection committee made up of IceHogs and Rockford Area Arts Council staff, as well as local artists, selected the three winners.
Designs from artists Joe Tallman, Michael Laskonis and Ryan “Stuk One” Lape were chosen as the winners. Each artist will receive a $1,000 stipend from the IceHogs and have their hat handed out to the first 1,500 fans at a select IceHogs game. Tallman’s design will be distributed Dec. 9. Laskonis’ on Feb. 17 and Lape on April 6.
Tallman is a Rockford-based illustrator, graphic designer and screen printer whose clients have included Pabst Blue Ribbon and the bands Wilco and Primus.
“My goal in designing the hat was really just to make something that looked cool that I would want to wear,” Tallman said in a news release.
His design was inspired by the vintage feel of Starter caps from his childhood in the 1990s.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the IceHogs organization and represent my city in this way, and I hope to see people wearing the hats around town,” he said.
Laskonis, who is a lifelong Blackhawks fan and hockey player, is a graphic designer, photographer, videographer, artist and marketer.
His hat design was inspired by the murals around Rockford. The brushstrokes are intended to recreate the feeling of the speed, power and excitement of an IceHogs game. The design also contains a nod to the Hogs 25th anniversary season with graffiti-style Roman numerals XXV.
“I want to thank the IceHogs organization for the opportunity to design a hat for the fans, and I hope they enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed designing it,” Laskonis said.
Lape is a Rockford native now based in Chicago. He specializes in graffiti, small to large-scale murals, illustrations, canvas work, merchandise design, inked drawings and typography.
The IceHogs design is similar to one he created for the Chicago Cubs for a limited release cap in 2019.
“I am so grateful to be one of just three artists selected for this opportunity,” Lape said. “Both of my parents and my sister worked at the BMO Center, and the IceHogs were actually my first ever commissioned murals project. This is a proud moment for me.”
Designer hats have been one of the most sought-after giveaways the past three seasons, according to Mike Peck, the IceHogs vice president of marketing, content and operations.
“By having local artists design this season’s series of hats, it brings a unique local flavor to the hats,” he said. “We’re grateful for our partnership with the Rockford Arena Arts Council and all the interest we had from local artists in participating in this initiative.”