GET TO KNOW THE ARTIST BEHIND THE #10WAGROWN JERSEYMar 21, 2023
Curtis Poortinga is a Des Moines resident and artist who helped the Iowa Wild design the jersey that the team will wear on #10WAGROWN Day. To learn more about Curtis and the specialty sweater, check out the Q&A below!
Where are you from and how long have you been living in Iowa?
As a kid, I moved a few times. My dad was a nuclear engineer, so we always moved to where the new plant was. I grew up in Michigan and Colorado before spending a lot of my young adulthood in Seattle. My wife grew up in Grundy Center, Iowa, and I was open to trying out the Midwest, so about 13 years ago we moved to Des Moines.
Do you work as an artist full-time, and what type of art do you produce?
My wife and I are both artists. We both work full-time jobs, but we try to stay active. I’ve been many different kinds of artist; I’ve been a graphic designer, an illustrator, and a fine painter. I’m a jack of all trades as far as art, and we’re always trying to do something different.
In Seattle, I used to be in a band and sell paintings after the show. It was my only chance to be in a band, as I don’t have any musical ability. It was fun, but terrifying, to get on stage and paint as part of a performance. The jersey project immediately made me nervous since it’s such a public moment, but it’s also a great opportunity.
I also painted a mural at Kinship Brewing Company in Waukee a couple years ago, which ended up being a much larger project than I had previously planned. It was super challenging but also super fun!
Are you a big sports fan?
Absolutely. As a kid, I used to design sports logos for imaginary teams. I loved the idea of mascot illustrations. When the Wild reached out to me, I geeked out.
What was designing the jersey like?
It was a really fun process. I had never worked with an organization in that context. There was a lot of interaction and fine tuning until we arrived at what we thought was the best possible jersey. I’m always looking for new experiences, and it was a great experience.
I dug into the history of Des Moines for inspiration. In my original designs, I showed the Wild some pretty crazy ideas. One was a raccoon made entirely of lightning. I can’t even remember all of the ideas. There was an oak leaf and all kinds of different symbols of nature in Des Moines. As an artist, I’m always going to throw out big, crazy ideas first knowing that adjustment is part of the process.
A lot went into arriving where we did arrive at, which was ultimately the state outline with the Des Moines skyline. It echoes Iowa and the Minnesota Wild logo. There’s also a bridge motif in the stripes of the jersey that references the Des Moines flag. The jersey references our community, which is important to me.
Are you looking forward to seeing the team wear the jersey?
I’m pretty low key, and this is definitely a lot of attention. I’ll definitely be overcoming a bit of nerves.
That being said, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the jersey on the ice. After some initial nerves, it'll be great to sit back and watch the game.
The fans can buy the jerseys the players wear on the ice at auction, but you’ll have one made just for you. What do you plan to do with it?
I really can’t wait to have my own jersey. I should probably get it framed, but I know I’m going to want to wear it!