Local artist's work to be displayed at Olympics
A local artist's work is about to be seen on the international stage at the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Niceville, Florida may not be the place that comes to mind when you think of hockey.
"I've always loved hockey growing up in the north and being a painter," said Jason Livery, owner of Head Strong Grafx.
Livery has been a custom painter for more than 20 years. His wife is in the military which brought their family, and Livery's love of hockey, down to the panhandle.
"I need to do something I could take with me," said Livery.
That something was custom-painting hockey goalie masks.
"I've never had an art class in my life. I've never been taught anything really," said Livery.
Even though he may lack formal training, his clients seem to enjoy his work. They make up some of the top goalies in the National Hockey League.
"Brian Elliot, Jake Allen, Darcy Kemper, Jimmy Howard, Ben Bishop," rattled off Livery.
According to Livery, most goalies like their masks to have something personal worked in to the design.
"They like to be unique, obviously goalies are unique, they're the only ones on the ice that are in goal and have the pads and they're unique people," said Livery.
He's creating two unique masks for two special goalies. Olympians Brandon Maxwell and David Leggio who will wear their custom-masks at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.
"I like to come up with different ideas and different quirks and things that aren't the norm," said Livery.
Livery tells us he works with Dennis Simone, a designer, when creating the custom masks. Something that's not the norm in his designs, the custom changing pigment that goes on clear but once the players hit the ice the color shows.
Maxwell's mask will match his pads he will wear for the games. The other USA goalie, Leggio, asked Livery to include a lion on his mask for his son, Leo.
Livery tells us he hopes people support the athletes from the United States by watching them compete in South Korea.
"I look at the Olympics as representing our country," said Livery.
His artwork will be on display when the puck drops in Team USA's first game on February 14th.
Livery is also painting the goalie masks for the U.S. Para-Olympic sled hockey team. He tells us he hopes to see the United States come home with the gold.