As part of the NFLUK Experience and takeover at Battersea Power Station on Saturday, wide receiver Kenny Stills joined visual artist Craig Black to re-design the Wilson Football using an acrylic fusion technique.
David Picioski, Head of Global Brand Partnerships at Wilson Europe, expressed the company’s enthusiasm about being in London and working closely with Craig Black. For those eager to own a piece of Craig’s work, Wilson set up a QR code linking to the NFL Foundation, where attendees could purchase a raffle ticket for £10. The lucky winner would take home a football designed by Craig. All proceeds were pledged to the NFL Foundation, reinforcing Wilson’s commitment to community welfare.
The event’s guest of honour, NFL superstar Kenny Stills, candidly discussed his journey. Having never painted before, Kenny was both a participant and observer. As he tried his hand at designing a football, attendees were encouraged to interact and ask questions.
When quizzed about his entry into sports, Kenny revealed he began playing tackle football at the age of six. He emphasised the benefits of letting kids start with flag football, letting them hone their skills before diving into the more aggressive version of the sport. Apart from football, Kenny also played baseball, basketball, and ran track. These varied experiences, he believes, contributed to transferable skills and enriched his athletic prowess.
In a lighter moment, Kenny shared his admiration for football legends like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson. Their charisma and mastery over their craft were sources of inspiration during his formative years. When discussing challenging teams, Kenny cited the Baltimore Ravens, stating their defense was one of the hardest he ever faced. In the same breath, he mentioned his respect for Ryan Tannehill, considering him an underappreciated asset to the sport.
Craig Black, the artist responsible for the day’s central attraction, shared insights into his creation process. Using a blend of acrylic paints and other mediums, Craig produced vibrant and dynamic designs. He joked about not revealing his “secret sauce” but offered a glimpse into the unpredictable nature of his work, emphasising how sometimes the end result surprises even him.
The event wasn’t just a fusion of art and sports but a convergence of talent, passion, and community spirit. From Kenny’s anecdotes about his sporting journey to Craig’s mesmerising art display, attendees got an intimate look into the worlds of football and design. With a deep emphasis on giving back to the community, both Wilson and the participating stars showed that beyond the thrill of the game and the beauty of art lies the heart of giving.