Niceville artist is NHL goalie mask painter

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By Heather Osbourne | 315-4440 | @heatheronwfdn | hosbourne@nwfdailynews.com

NICEVILLE — Jason Livery worked inside of his Niceville shop last week, holding an unfinished hockey mask belonging to St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen. 

The local artist is one of only a handful of people worldwide who specialize in painting goalies’ masks for the National Hockey League.

“I’ve always loved hockey,” Livery said. “I’ve always loved the goalies and the masks. I’m a painter, so I thought, ‘What if I can get into doing some of that?’ “

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In 2011, Livery made his “lucky break” into the industry while living in St. Louis, after he received the opportunity to paint a mask for then Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Since then, Livery has painted masks for Jake Allen, Jaro Halák, Scott Darling, Ben Bishop, Calvin Pickard, Jonas Hiller, Kari Ramo, Darcy Kuemper, Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek and many others.

“Jason always does great work,” Allen said in a telephone interview recently. “Every time it’s top-notch. I give them an idea of what I’m looking for and they give me a couple of drafts. It takes a couple of tries before we can get something we agree on. Jason then does his thing and it always turns out good.”

The tradition of painting goalie masks began in the late 1960s with Boston Bruins trainer John Forristall. After a puck hit Bruins player Gerry Cheever in the mask, Forristall drew black stitches onto the damaged mask. Since that iconic moment, hockey mask painting has become widely popular as well as competitive.

Livery, owner of Jason Livery Custom Paint Masks, employs a designer who works with the goalies to create the mask templates. Livery then uses the template to airbrush the masks using a plethora of techniques he’s learned through years of experience, he said. 

“I used to do everything when I first started,” Livery said. “It progressed so much now that I just can’t do it all anymore. It sucks because I wish I did. I make it up to the goalies by texting them pictures as I’m painting their masks.”

Livery also has his own signature paint line with the company Inspire Paint. He said he plans to expand his business even further when his wife retires from the military.

“I love doing what I do because knowing that a professional athlete trusts in me to create artwork that is an expression of them for the whole world to see every night is a great honor,” Livery said. “(It) gives my artwork a purpose and a meaning.”

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