L.A. Artist Immortalizes Lakers Basketball Through Unique Artwork

Just like any artist, Norice has his own style of painting, and while it sounds tedious and difficult to most, it sounds about as easy for Norice as it is for Kobe to hit a fadeaway jumper.

“My personal art style, I will get a silhouette and first see the picture, then capture the overall skin tone of whoever I’m painting,” said Norice of the process he went about when painting the skateboards. “So with Jerry West I painted him as a silhouette – even with the jersey and everything. I build up a layer of tone after that and keep on building layer and layer, and getting darker and darker until I get to the darkest point. Then I went back to the highlights of everything and started to shape and mold it until it get’s more dimensional and starts to come to life. Then in the end, I hit it with the highlights and then go back to the jerseys and all of the other fine details. That’s pretty much what I did with every single character. Some people do it a little bit differently, but that’s the way I like to go – in layers and building up little by little. In art, if there’s black in whatever you’re painting, you can’t just paint black. You can capture it, it just won’t look realistic. And that’s what you want to do – is give the illusion that it looks like a photograph. My art style is to be as realistic as possible.”

While Norice makes the process sound easy, not every aspect of it was as easy as a Magic Johnson no-look pass.

My easel couldn’t hold all of the boards, it could only hold three at a time,” Norice said of some of the difficulties he encountered while working on this project. “I envisioned it really not like this, I think after the fourth board that’s when I started to put them together and see how am I doint it. Everything is kind of eye-level. That’s why I intentionally had Jerry West facing one way and Kobe facing the other way – creating a sense of “to be continued.” It’s all about eye movement and flow. Everything is flowing.”

Despite doing most of his artwork on shoes, Norice wasn’t troubled by a more unusual painting surface.

“Other than painting on wood versus leather, I definitely incorporated the same amount of skill into this. Painted more on this because I have a bigger space to fill as opposed to a little shoe. The wood was a little difficult at first, and I had to get used to it, because I’ve never painted on a skateboard before, but I definitely incorporated it and it worked out well.”

“I had a really great time painting it,” Norice said. “To me, this is probably one of the best pieces that I have ever done since I’ve been painting, and I have been painting all of my life.”

Continuing his display of uniqueness and originality, Norice actually did all of his research on his iPhone; saying that, “I did everything on my iPhone; like I googled Wilt Chamberlain, and looked at the picture, then paint for the picture from my iPhone.”

A few aspects, such as the Staples Center and the Great Western Forum were left off of the painting due to space constraints; however, Norice was able to personalize the creation for Naithe. Near the bottom of the piece, there is a painted picture of Naithe and his girlfriend following the Lakers’ game seven victory over the Celtics in the NBA Finals last season.

Next: The Creations of Michael Norice and Other Lakers Artwork

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