By: Kevin Keane | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
February 14, 2018
NICEVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For Americans, red, white and blue mean everything. It's our country, it's our people, and it's our pride.
For one local artist, those colors are personal.
“I've always had a fascination with art you know just always been doodling since as long as I can remember," Jason Livery explains.
For Livery, art comes easy.
“I never had an art class in my life um I'm completely self-taught,” he said.
Not only self taught, but also self-made. Livery, a Niceville resident, has been in the custom painting business for over 25 years. He specializes in designing hockey masks for goalies.
“It just kind of kept snowballing. People would be like you know it was word of mouth and people were like where did you get that, where did you get that? And the next thing you know someone else would contact me,“ he said.
As business began to boom, so too did his list of clients. Over the years, Livery's designed masks for several NHL goalies, his work on display in arenas across the country. But now, he's going worldwide.
“The equipment manager that was assigned to the winter games had contacted me and said they named the goalies for this year's winter Olympics. ‘Would you be interested in painting their masks?’ And of course, I was like 'Yeah of course I will,' he recalled.
But the process was far from easy.
"We had come up with a design, we had sent off to the IOC. They kicked it back and said we couldn't have this or we had to come up with another design, send it off say no you can't have that so it was kind of, it was more of a drawn out process than normal,” Livery explained of the strict rules the IOC has in place when it comes to iconography in the games.
After a few last-minute tweaks, Livery's work is now in the hands of Team USA, and early Wednesday, the masks, from a garage in west Florida debuted on the sporting world's largest stage.
“You know, it's one thing painting a mask in the NHL where you know you've got the whole country watching nightly. But, when you've got tens of millions of people watching it worldwide and seeing it, it's a little bit different,” he said.
As Team USA hits the ice, it's his design that Livery hopes people will take just a minute to appreciate and truly value what it means to be an American.
“Just be patriotic and thankful that our country is what it is today and um allows our guys to go and play in the Olympics and represent our country, And it's just an honor.”