The day I met Tony Becker wasn’t much different from the next few dozen times. We were playing on the same box lacrosse team, the Columbus Crows, with a completely new squad and as guys began to feel each other out, Tony remained pretty quiet, yet engaged, in practice. He didn’t say a whole lot, he hustled, he adapted, he went home.
It wasn’t until the first game that I learned there’s more to Tony than I bothered imagining. He was a spark in the transition game, a complete workhorse on the backline and turned a couple big plays into points on the scoreboard. We hand out a customary chain after every game, a tradition that started with this moment, and Tony’s performance in the inaugural game earned him the rights to the gold-painted plastic links. It was an honor based on a defensive effort, which led most of us to the surprise to find out that Tony spent his life as an attackman. From discovering the game as a kid through four years at Wittenberg University, he did what he could to not play defense. But when he was called upon Tony answered the bell.
Now, I consider Tony one of my closest friends. COVID quarantines aside, we spend quite a bit of time around each other and I get the chance to watch him slip away from the world we are sharing to a realm where imagination flows from brain to pen. I brought up the story of our early days to illustrate that although we are good friends I don’t think I will ever really know Tony. It’s because he not only reveals himself one layer at a time, he’s ever-growing as a person and as an artist. It’s hard to define what he does and don’t even start to ask him. That’s what makes him a guy worth paying attention to.
What else I can tell you is the man has silky smooth hands and a passion for nature. His work with a pen is as creative as his stick and he’s got a knack for tying it all together. That’s how his new line of prints connecting North American animals to the various wooden sticks from the game’s roots. When he brings his passions together, we are all better for it.
Before we push Tony’s completely badass art on you, get to know the man tying nature, the digital world and lacrosse together.
Q&A with Tony Becker
MD: Let’s start with the basics. When did you first start playing lacrosse and how did you find the game?
TB: I first started playing in 7th grade at the Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio. I got convinced to play because I was somewhat athletic and all my friends were on the team. We needed players and so the kids on the team just pulled in whoever they could get.
Once you were in, what kept you connected to lacrosse?
The pursuit of self mastery, skill building, and the integration with the team.
Wisdom. Where are some places lacrosse has taken you?
All over the United States. Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands. It also has taken me to college.
Where did you go to college and where have you studied art?
I have a bachelors degree in graphic design from Wittenberg University. However, I would say I learned nearly all I know from various teachers outside the traditional school system. Thierry Lafontaine is most likely the biggest influence on my art learning, he works for Schoolism/imaginism studios, which focuses on giving world class art education to the world. That being said I’m a lifelong learner and continue to study everyday.
Taking on both fields at the next level in college, what connections can you make between creating art and playing lacrosse?
The skill mastery aspect is nearly the same to me. Building fundamental art skills is the same as wall ball in my mind. When I decided to start taking art seriously, I just applied my lacrosse work ethic and growth oriented mindset that has been programmed into me from years with the game. I see my whole life in this sort of wax on/wax off programmed manner.
What inspired your latest line of art tying lacrosse and animals?
Something like the idea that players embody certain characteristics in their play styles that can be associated with various animals. Here I focused on more North American animals to tie into the roots of lacrosse. Shamanism also somewhat plays a role. The original was the crow, which I actually designed as a tattoo, and then gave a framed print to a friend as a gift. He then suggested that I try to make a series of similar animals.
I may know that guy, ha! What do you want people to experience through this series?
Maybe to identify with a specific animal, or better yet see them as different expressions of ability and try to integrate them all. A pantheon of sorts.
Aside from nature and the game, what are you biggest artistic inspirations/influences?
Mainly things like spirituality, consciousness, and other big ideas like that. I am very obsessed with how the mind works and it’s relation to conditioning/genetics/skill building/etc. It’s also one of those paths that allows you to continue to expand your mind forever. That’s pretty important for me, I am a bit of an info-fiend.
I would also say I’m heavily influenced by Renaissance, Baroque art. But also more contemporary fantasy and such.
What are your favorite styles to work in and favorite mediums to create with?
I really like naturalistic art, from realism to more idealized fantasy stuff. My favorite medium is slowly becoming ink drawing/painting. Although, I wanted to be a video game artist for a long time so I have become quite fond of digital art.
Thanks, man Let’s roll some of that art out to the people!
Want to get your hands on some lacrosse art from Tony Becker? We know you do. That’s why we are dropping prints of all shapes and sizes, canvas, matted, you name it. Time to do some redecorating.
Tony Becker Art FOR SALE
Follow Tony Becker Art on Instagram to keep up with all the doodles and doings of the man himself.