Danielle Cartier is a ball of artistic energy, so it’s no surprise that her designs are full of color, movement, light and vibrancy.
That spirit helped the Málaga native be chosen to create a custom skate jersey for the New Jersey Devils’ recent Gender Equality Night earlier this month.
“I thought, why not? It’s open to any New Jersey artist, and I’m a Jersey artist!” She said on a sunny day inside drenched in light DC Gallery and Studios in the middle of the Glasstown arts district in Millville. Cartier saw a call for artists on the New Jersey Arts Council website and decided to give it a try.
The Devils selected her design “based on her strong commitment to our Artist Open Call and her beautiful portfolio of work,” Gillian Frechette, the Devils’ senior vice president of marketing, said in an email. “Danielle took a unique approach by using textiles to create the designs. She was incredible to work with.”
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NHL and Diversification Efforts
The Night of Gender Equality takes place within the framework of the National Hockey League Hockey for everyone campaign, an effort to “promote positive social change and foster more inclusive communities,” according to the website.
Such feelings are not shared by everyone: Ivan Provorov of The Flyers didn’t wear a pride jersey his team was dressed to skate before a game in January, citing his religious beliefs. San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer, also citing religious beliefs, refused to wear a Pride jersey and did not start the game on March 18who held the Pride evening at the SAP Center.
Cartier, who grew up in California but spent much of her childhood visiting family in Michigan, skating and playing ice hockey on frozen lakes, admitted the sport isn’t as diverse as others, and said Kudos to the Devils and the NHL for working toward greater inclusion.
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She received overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans on social media, and even a few negative comments didn’t faze her: “I’m an artist, so I’m used to being harassed,” she smiled.
“Gender is such a difficult topic to talk about for so many reasons,” she said. She has been inspired by many of the women the Devils chose to nominate, her students at Stockton and Rowan Universities, and the young people she knows who may be struggling but have found happiness by living authentically.
“The feedback related to Danielle’s design has been wonderful,” Frechette said. “Both the staff and our fans loved the final performance.” Autographed T-Shirt Online Auction Raises Over $27,000 for Newark Girls live, love and laughyouth non-profit organization.
Gender and identity as collage
Cartier’s artistic process is quite similar: she uses paint and textiles and creates designs for training jerseys first on physical canvases.
“I relate to the collage idea,” she explained. “Assembling a collage is like assembling your gender, your identity, yourself. These are all pieces: some of them are studied, some are already there. It’s about constructing your identity as a person.”
The Devils approached her in late September, and she began working on the design in October. In addition to the main logos on the front and back of the jersey, she created the New Jersey sleeve patches and other designs for the jerseys sold on the Devils website.
The only parameters: keep the Devils logo and branding in mind and don’t use royal blue (the color of the New York Rangers, the Devils Metropolitan Division rivals).
A full-time professional artist, Cartier was paid for her work, but she said the real reward for her was the message and prestige of working for a major professional sports team. Her mother flew in from the West Coast and they attended the game at the Prudential Center in Newark; her designs were featured not only on practice jerseys and other apparel, but also on the scoreboard and electronic signs throughout the game.
Having lived in South Jersey for the past five years, Cartier is well aware of the Flyers fandom that runs through the region.
Still, she says, when people ask her if she’s a Devils fan, she says, “I am now!”
Phaedra Tretton has been a reporter and editor in South Jersey since 2007 and has called the region home since 1971. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @wordsbyPhaedra or by phone at 856.486-2417.
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