DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (September 18, 2013) — Since the much-anticipated launching of Iron Mike Productions last month, Hall of Famer and living legend “Iron” Mike Tyson has had a string of major media appearances, granting interviews to Fox Sports Live, Extra, the Today Show, and Conan O’Brien, where he spoke about his upcoming show, “Being Mike Tyson,” as well as the current state of boxing. His recent return to the ring as a boxing promoter with Iron Mike Productions has also given him a lot to talk about, like the National Football League and which teams he believes are heading to the Super Bowl.
Most boxing fans also enjoy watching football because of the inherent action and physicality of the two sports. They may remember the stencil art done by artist Joe Lurato a few years back of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for a segment titled, “Quarterbacks of the Decade.” Lurato’s artwork has been featured on NFL broadcasts and Tyson has kept his eyes out for it because, in addition to being passionate about sports, Mike and his Iron Mike Productions business partner, Garry Jonas, are also passionate about art.
“Not only is this unique artwork beautiful,” Tyson said, “it is also inspirational for our fighters as they train in the Iron Mike gym. Our goal is to give all our fighters everything they need to be their very best, physically and mentally, and this serves as another example of Iron Mike Productions’ commitment to excellence on their behalf.”
Tyson and Jonas, CEO of Iron Mike Productions, immediately thought of Lurato when they were building their state-of-the-art training facility in Deerfield Beach, Florida. They commissioned both Lurato and fellow New York stencil artist, Logan Hicks, to create amazing, larger-than life wall murals to inspire and provoke their fighters, capturing the range of emotions that happen inside the ring.
“The photo-realistic images have depth and move with the eye,” Jonas explained. “They follow the fighters throughout the space, inspiring them and reminding them of why they are here and what they are training for.”
Using layers of hand-cut paper, spray paint and stencils, both artists worked round-the-clock over one weekend to create an energized series of mixed-medium murals that echo the raw dynamism of the Iron Mike gym and capture the hope, struggle and desire that are at the heart of every fighter here.
The artists deliberately incorporated elements of urban street art to make the murals both visceral and refined to directly reflect the raw, gritty talent each of the fighters started with as they work to refine their skills and transform themselves into champions.
Lurato’s work has also been featured on ESPN as part of the “Art of Basketball” project, created by Billi Kid and Public Works Department, an organization that promotes street and graffiti artists and their work. Licensed by the NBA, the organization features a growing collection of NBA-themed original street artwork that tours the country. Lurato’s contribution focused on the 2012 championship-winning Miami Heat.