When the team boarded Air Canucks Monday morning, we were informed that because of unfriendly weather in Minneapolis, our flight to Minnesota would be delayed roughly two hours.
When you’re delayed two hours on a normal human flight, it can be torture. Most times there’s no food, the TV at your seat doesn’t work and the stinky traveler beside you get riper by the second.
On Air Canucks, delays are a big fat whatever. There’s food, entertainment and no stink, stank or stunk.
Sven Baertschi wasn’t bothered. He sat down in the right side of the plane, seat 9D beside Alex Biega, took out a pad of paper, grabbed a pencil and got back to work. Baertschi is an artist, you see, a wizard with an HB, 9B or a 9H, or even a pen. Just give him a writing utensil and stand back.
HORVAT was written across his page in bold graffiti lettering and he had to finish shading in a few places before he gave it to Bo. He’s also done one for his seatmate Biega and is hoping to sketch one for everyone on the team before season’s end.
After the HORVAT, Baertschi gave props to the city he calls home sketching a VANCITY. Check it out.
Baertschi’s love for art began when he was little. His older brother Kevin, three years Sven’s senior, is a natural artist. Tell him what to draw and he’ll sketch it up, lickety-split.
Young Sven never sat down with his brother for actual lessons, he simply observed how he put pencil to paper and took it upon himself to practice, practice, practice.
And here we are. Baertschi turns to art during flight delays, pre-game in his hotel room, basically any time he wants to get in the zone and relax.
Baertschi grew up in Switzerland and it had a major impact on him and his brother and the artists they’ve become. He explained graffiti is everywhere, on trains, in tunnels, on overpasses; every letter, different fonts, colours galore. That style is evident in the above VANCITY and in the piece he made for Horvat, which Bo will display on his fridge at home where all good art belongs.
Kevin, now 25, works at an extreme sports store back home in Bern, Switzerland; he’s got tattoos up and down his arms and some on his legs. He’s designed a few himself, others have just been on a whim, like the South Park Cartman piece on his leg.
Sven wants to again follow in his brother’s footsteps and design himself a tattoo, but it’s been three years in the making and still nothing. Ideas are a plenty, perfection is not – yet. When he does get inked, Sven wants it to be perfect, naturally, but if he’s anything like most artists out there, perfection is an illusion, as unattainable as a water mirage in the desert.
Until he finds something good enough for his skin, Baertschi will continue practicing his latest drawing obsession: 3D art. He said 3D art is on the rise in Switzerland and, inspired by it, he’s taught himself to draw a hole that if looked at from a certain angle, looks like it goes right through the paper.
Turns out you don’t need a ridiculous adult colouring book to be creative these days after all.
It was great discussing drawing with Baertschi as he’s really quite passionate about it. You can tell he’s proud of what he can do and the fact he’s willingly doing drawings for teammates says a lot.
All the team travel throughout the season can turn one into a zombie, but not Sven, he’s sharpening his skills one weather delay at a time.