Michael Slotwinski is a Canadian artist behind the “Hockey’s Masked Men” series of iconic goalie mask oil paintings. Beginning as a university project, Slotwinski chose to paint goalie masks to show how they have evolved both structurally and artistically, and how they have entered into popular culture beyond the sport of hockey. Currently, with twenty-five paintings in total, Slotwinski doesn’t just display his artwork in art galleries – but also in hockey arenas for the majority of hockey-fans to see. These fans have grown up cherishing the masks their heroes have worn, brandishing their team’s colours, logos, and personal iconography. Slotwinski enlarged each mask to depict the physical damage that they endure in order to remind people that they aren’t just fun designs, but that they originally served a purpose to protect the person wearing them.
In 2014, Michael Slotwinski was invited to show his artwork at the NHL Draft in Philadelphia. He was also the feature display at the NHL Alumni Gala Awards in Toronto Ontario, presenting original portraits to award winners Bryan Trottier, Walter Gretzky, and Mark Mannarn. Slotwinski graduated with Honors in the Bachelor of Arts program from the University of Guelph in 2011.