Once Upon A Time / by Jonathan Centeno

Once Upon A Time 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel

Once Upon A Time 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel

When I finished painting the Once Upon A Time, the Raptors were down 2-0 to the Bucks.  It looked grim, but a steadfast, even-keeled #2 told an interviewer that to be a championship team, they'd have to overcome adversity. 

I was inspired to go to my studio the night of the "shot".  I've never sketched and painted so quickly. To create the final image is a process, however, and so the Raps would be down by two by the time the piece was ready for showing.  


Tonight, however, on this Thursday night in May, the completed piece rests in the window of Hazelton Gallery.  My curators decided to "launch" it at the right moment as the Raptors have won 3 straight since then.  On Saturday, #2 and his band of brothers will get a chance at Raptor history.  My personal good luck charm in the form of a tribute painting, judging by the furor on Facebook and Instagram, has played a small role in all of this.  In this season of finales, in this season of magical moments,  the piece acquired a GOT vibe to it, but unlike the final season of the drama, the piece has not disappointed.  And the Raptors, no matter what happens, have not disappointed their fans, and this city.

Monsieur LEONARD was born a Raptor forever on the night he sealed the deal with Philly.  On that night, he shone as if he was the Northern King, come to steal the iron throne.  Since that night, his legend has continued to expand, and in the minds of basketball fans everywhere, he has been placed in the company of the game's all-time elite.

So the moment, as I saw it, had him in  golden glow, with the ball on fire, and himself a crimson and purple Raptor in emergence.

Signed, sealed and delivered.  Everything from here on in is gravy.

At this writing, the team is up 3-2 on the monstrous Bucks, and may advance with a victory on home court.  

Artistic inspiration can from anywhere, any moment.

Once upon a Time there was a Raptor King....

Check out our "Four Leaf Clover" in the window at Hazelton Gallery, Yorkville...TORONTO!