Home About Joe Artworks Photography Contact Commissions Links


The Rivalry  -   2017 
Bill Ranford

Theo Fleury

" The Rivalry "
This is a 30" x 40" Acrylic on Canvas Painting of Connor McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau 
by Joe Versikaitis
This piece was conceived with the idea of helping out a local charity called KidSport.
This whole story began back on September 2nd, 2016 while I was getting my artwork and the marketing part ready for my exhibit at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. I had my list of things to get, business cards to be printed, thank you cards to be made and everything else that goes with putting on an art exhibit. On my to do list was locating a local business to sponsor the exhibit. I was looking to frame two of my Theo Fleury prints that were going to be auctioned off during the launch day for the exhibit. The good Lord knows that picture framing is not one of the cheapests things to get. The proceeds from these prints would go towards KidSport Red Deer and the other to the Hall of Fame.
Through Linkedin I reached out to a gentleman by the name of Kevin Clark of Cam Clark Ford in Red Deer.
 I was asked how I get to meet very important and God sent individuals throughout my art venture. I can honestly say, as an artist, the best way for people to know who you are and your style is through networking.
Linkedin has shown me that vehicle and has given me that opportunity. Facebook, also helps, yes!...lol
Kevin in turn introduced me to Sean Bell - Managing Partners of Cam Clark Ford in Red Deer.

My concept to Sean was to create paintings of top players in each of the professional sports franchises in Alberta. With the blessing of Cam Clark Ford and Ford Motor Dealer Association we are looking at creating limited edition prints of these renderings. These prints would then be given to new vehicle owners throughout Alberta and in turn  Ford would donate funds to KidSports.

To kick started this project with Sean's concept of having Connor and Johnny together on one piece. When it came to the name, I could only reminisce of the earlier seasons when intensity between Calgary and Edmonton became "The Battle of Alberta".  After all these years, I can only dream of witnessing such a historic rivalry era again. Like Theo Fleury said " Because they hated me and my team mates,  I hated every single guy on the Oilers!"..... 

The piece took about 200 hours to complete. The one challenge I had was trying to determine how the two players compare to each other on the ice. Usually like most of my past renderings, I would study the players stances and rituals from either watching them on TV or actually going to a game. For most part in my art venture I have had the opportunity to take my own action shots of the players that I render.  With Connor and Johnny, other than a couple of videos I had found of those two practicing together for team North America in the World Cup, I have never seen them playing against each other on the same shift.  I am sure they have but I haven't experienced that. . I stopped the video many times to measure the differences in the helmet numbers and comparing those to each other. I finally came with a pose and worked it together. Like all my projects I have the means to use equipment and jerseys to get my details on those. But the faces is where I needed to make sure I find quality images to show a players facial features. I reached out to Getty Images for those shots. A little pricy but the quality is there.

For the background I wanted to feature the boards up close enough to see the KidSport logo and in the penalty box I installed the Ford Logo and the Penalty Box keeper. The game was played in Calgary.

This piece has become one of my favourites not only for the main characters but also for the idea of helping out a local charity like KidSport.

We are creating 1000 limited Edition canvas prints and each signed and numbered by yours truly. In return Ford would donate one hundred dollars from every print given to KidSport.

These kind of projects don't happen over night. There is still a few hurdles to go over before the final go ahead for all 1000 prints are given. There has been 10 canvas prints made already but these are being used to showcase this major project idea, quarterbacked by the brilliant marketing mind of Sean Bell,  to Ford Motor Dealer Association in Alberta.

I have been asked several times on how a person can get their hands on one these prints, Well...If you are looking at buying a new Ford in the near future you could hold off until these prints come out!

At the time of this publishing - April 25th, 2017.. The Calgary Flames have been eliminated from the playoff by the Anaheim Ducks but the Edmonton Oilers have reached the second round of playoffs. They will be going up against the same pesky Ducks!


All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited

Back to the top