… And He Scores! Professor Capparelli and the NHL

For Illustration Professor Anthony “Tony” Capparelli, the National Hockey League is a passion, but you won’t find him on the ice! He’s been dubbed “The Michelangelo of the Meadowlands” by hockey historian Stan Fischler and has been described as “the world’s most diverse sports artist.”

The NHL has been keeping Prof. Capparelli busy. He recently illustrated New York Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, as part of a large illustration. The work was presented when Clutterbuck was awarded a “silver” hockey stick (it’s really polished stainless steel) after playing 1,000 regular-season games in a career going back 17 years.

Prof. Capparellis’s Nassau Coliseum Mural “The Goal”

A televised ceremony was held before the NY Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers hockey game at UBS Arena. Capparelli’s earlier works, including Stanley Cup Champion Zdeno Chara, were also showcased.

Team photo with Prof. Capparelli and his art work

Craving more sports trivia? Capparelli notes that Clutterbuck also holds the all-time NHL record for “hits.” To be labeled a “hit,” an opposing player must have the puck, or have just gotten rid of it (no more than three seconds earlier). The contact must impede or slow the opposing player, and the contact must also be intentional and legal.

“It’s amazing to be located at FIT, just steps from Madison Square Garden. From Penn Station I can get to three major hockey venues: UBS Arena, Madison Square Garden, Prudential Center.  Even Canadian hockey fans cannot say that!” – Prof. Capparelli

Prof. Capparelli’s sports illustration work hangs in his art studio

Capparelli’s acrylic painting of Boston Garden shows the iconic venue’s exterior when the last Blues-Bruins Stanley Cup was decided. The photo from his studio shows the painting hanging, along with past Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick.

“In many ways, I’m brought full-circle from my days as a child, waiting for my father to bring home the New York Daily News to see the latest Bruce Stark or Bill Gallo sports cartoon. — Prof. Capparelli

Prof. Capparelli creates his artwork from photos and by watching the games. His signature “splash” look and a comic book font is an ode to Roy Lichtenstein, who’s studio was being renovated by the Whitney Museum just outside Capparelli’s window as he worked on the painting.

To see Prof. Capparelli in action, view him on this video. No, he’s not on the ice, but he is cool!

More current and past Capparelli highlights:

  • MSG is currently running a New Jersey Devils commercial with depiction of former Devil, Taylor Hall.
  • MSG featured Capparelli chronicling Brian Boyle’s struggle to defeat cancer and win NHL’s Masterton Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Boyle now calls games for the network.
  • MSG Networks featured Prof. Capparelli’s solo exhibit, “Tony Capparelli: The Art of Sport” at The Museum at FIT. It included a nine-foot mural depicting the Stanley Cup–winning goal made by New York Ranger Mark Messier.
Prof. Capparelli Discussing His Brian Boyle Chalk Art Drawing on the FIT Facade

This semester, Prof. Capparelli is teaching Pictorial Problem Solving, Drawing for Animation 1, and Illustration Process 1. He also teaches a summer watercolor class. He says he often videotapes the various stages of his artworks, to use in the classroom.

On set at MSG. Left to right: Joe Micheletti (ice hockey analyst), Prof. Capparelli, Steve Valiquette (hockey goaltender), Bryce Salvador (hockey defenseman)

Capparelli says of his career, “In many ways, I’m brought full-circle from my days as a child, waiting for my father to bring home the New York Daily News to see the latest Bruce Stark or Bill Gallo sports cartoon.

“I even had the audacity to call the local paper trying to get to do their sports cartoons,” says Caparelli. “Now I get to show a newer generation of young artists how it is done.“

To see more of  Prof. Capparelli’s work, visit his website: TonyCapp.com and on Instagram: @studiotonycapparelli.

To learn more about the School of Art and Design Illustration major go to:  Illustration at FIT.

Images and video used with permission.

3 responses to “… And He Scores! Professor Capparelli and the NHL”

  1. Cool article! I love the artwork! It captures the fun and excitement of hockey and helps me understand why I almost broke half of the bones in my body growing up playing!

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