The Rockford IceHogs have teamed up with the Rockford Area Arts Council for a “Local Artists Hat Series" to support the Rockford artist community and give artists a platform to showcase their work, style and creativity, while engaging with the community’s passion for the IceHogs.
A call to local artists went out in August seeking unique artistic designs for an IceHogs hat for three giveaway games for the 2023-24 season. A selection committee made up of IceHogs and Rockford Area Arts Council staff, as well as local artists, has selected the three winning artists and their designs.
The three winning artists are Joe Tallman, Michael Laskonis, and Ryan Lape. Each artist will receive a $1,000 stipend from the IceHogs and will have their hat produced and handed out to the first 1,500 fans at a select IceHogs game. On this page you can learn more about the three winning artists, see their designs and read about what inspired them, and make your plans to join us for all three of our “Local Artists Hat Series" nights this season!
Joe Tallman is a Rockford based illustrator, graphic designer, and screen printer. He has worked with many local businesses, musicians, and agencies as well as clients including Pabst Blue Ribbon and bands Wilco and Primus.
Joe’s winning design was inspired by the vintage feel of Starter caps from his childhood in the 1990’s, specifically college sports mascot logos.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the IceHogs organization and represent my city in this way, and I hope to see people wearing the hats around town,” said Joe. “My goal in designing the hat was really just to make something that looked cool that I would want to wear.”
Michael Laskonis is a storyteller, graphic designer, photographer. videographer, art director, and marketer. He is a lifelong Blackhawks fan and loves to play hockey.
Michael’s hat design was inspired by the amazing murals that continue to be created all around Rockford. He used the paint to illustrate the intense action of an IceHogs hockey game. With each brushstroke, he sought to recreate the incredible feeling of speed, power, and breathtaking excitement of an IceHogs game. The design also contains a subtle nod commemorating the IceHogs’ 25th season.
"I want to thank the IceHogs organization for the opportunity to design a hat for the fans and I hope they enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed designing it,” said Michael.
Ryan "Stuk One" Lape is a Chicago-based artist and has been a force in the nationwide graffiti scene for more than 20 years. Originally from Rockford, Stuk One specializes in small to large-scale mural work, illustrations, canvas work, merchandise design, inked drawings, and typography.
Ryan’s approach to his IceHogs hat design is a nod to a similar design he did for a Chicago Cubs limited release cap back in 2019. His hope is that any Rockford locals who may have missed their chance will take advantage of this new opportunity to snag one of his uniquely designed hats.
“I am so grateful to be one of just three artists selected for this opportunity,” said Ryan. “Both of my parents and my sister worked at the BMO Center and the IceHogs were actually my first ever commissioned murals project. This is a proud moment for me.”