When the NHL planned to name the 100 Greatest Players from the league’s first century, they tapped sport painter Tony Harris to create their portraits. A new pair of Harris’s paintings appeared on NHL.com every week for most of 2017. The portraits are great, little 11-by-14 secular icon paintings of the finest players ever to lace up.
In a short video shot for NHL.com just before the paintings’ first public exhibition, Harris talks about how daunting the project might have been, if he’d let himself think about it. “Everybody kept on saying: ‘What are you doing? That’s a hundred paintings. Do you have any idea how overwhelming this is going to be?’ And I just kept blocking it out.”
But by November, he was finishing up the last of them. After all, Harris knows, as any commercial artist must, how to hit a deadline. He told the New York Times about a commission he got in 2016 from the Chicago Blackhawks to create a painting the team could present to President Obama.