The news surrounding Michael Vick is not all bad these days.
His case actually inspired one young Caymanian to draw again.
Aaron Rivers constructed a pencil drawing about Vick. The drawing shows the Atlanta Falcons symbol at the top of the page with the word ‘con(vick)ted’ [convicted] in the middle and Vick’s jersey number at the bottom.
Around these images the text reads: ‘I hope ur [you are] not becuz [because] ur gonna [you are going to] be on ESPN August 4th in Cayman.’
For added effect, he used the colours of the Atlanta Falcons jersey: red, white and black.
Rivers says he was aiming to be provocative in his piece. He wants people to have a reaction.
‘I like the idea of it looking intimidating. I want people to look at it and feel it’s going to jump out at them and bite them almost.’
The West Bay native made his drawing based on chance and impulse.
‘I’ve always liked to draw and I like art. But the Vick drawing is my first in two years.
‘I was with my mother, who works at Coldwell Banker on Friday [20 July]. I was bored and I had time to brainstorm. After that, I just did it.’
The 19-year-old says Vick’s negative press made him wonder what Caymanians thought of him.
‘I had heard that the [NFL] Quarterback Challenge was airing on ESPN on 4 August. After watching the court coverage I began wondering if he could be convicted.
‘After that I started saying: well if that happens how is Cayman going to feel about seeing a convicted criminal glorified on our island?’
Rivers took four hours to complete the drawing. He started at 9am that day and didn’t finish until 1pm. He did his drawing with no breaks and no doubts about what he was doing.
‘Drawing is a talent but it’s also about knowing how to do it. Basically I started out with a piece of paper that I covered with lines. I used them for guidance, drew everything and erased those lines.’
Rivers, the son of Darcy and Darling Rivers, says he learned how to draw during his days at the public high and middle schools. He crafted his skill through drawing-intensive classes such as art, building tech and technical drawing. He says all his teachers helped him develop his gift, especially art teacher Mark Fraser at John Gray High School.
In spite of the message in his drawing, Rivers says he is neutral toward Vick.
‘Right now, I don’t have a problem with him. I am definitely no Michael Vick thrasher. I am an Atlanta [sports] fan.
‘If he is convicted, my feelings will change. However, I’d still support him because it’s his first offence. I’d give him a second chance.’
In fact, football is just Rivers’ second favourite sport. He prefers baseball better, especially the Atlanta Braves.
He likes the Braves so much that he intends to make his next drawing about them.
‘I surprised myself with the Vick drawing. I am doing another drawing, but on the Braves. It’ll be just for fun.’
Rivers says in spite of his resurgent artistic ability, he has other concerns he intends to focus on.
‘I want to be a pilot. My priority is to focus on starting my new full-time job at Cayman Airways.’
Rivers is also committed to getting a college education. He says he intends to go to a university in the US state of Georgia.
He has narrowed down his options to Georgia State University, Georgia Tech University or the University of Georgia.
Rivers had words of encouragement for other young artists in the community.
‘Practice as much as possible. Interest inspires passion. If you have passion it won’t feel like work. Be yourself. Do things your way.’
The NFL Quarterback Challenge from the Cayman Islands, which was filmed here in May, will be shown at 2pm tomorrow on ESPN.