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In late 2014 BLK commissioned brilliant commercial artist Grange Wallis to create a series of artworks celebrating the rapidly expanding international sports brands expansion across the code.

The Adelaide Crows, Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Gold Coast SUNS were preparing to join existing BLK’s existing AFL partners Richmond, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions, making the Gold Coast based business the largest provider of on field apparel to the AFL.

Chief Marketing Officer Jason Sintome saying it was a great opportunity to create and a deliver an exciting multi layered campaign which provided club supporters and members with a range of unique content, opportunities and benefits across a host of mediums and platforms.

Our goal was to rekindle the passion and memories of childhood back yard footy contests and to reinforce the importance of club support.

The #youbethehero campaign pays tributes to those members and fans who proudly pull on their favourite Guernsey, tee-shirt or scarf to show support for their team at every opportunity.

While everyone has a favourite player or players, we wanted this campaign to be about the club, the colours and how wearing them makes you feel.

Working with each of six clubs along with the AFL, Grange Wallis set about bringing the six club mascots to life through a series of intricate digital drawings.

The talented craftsman’s task made more difficult due to the complex feather and fur textures of the club mascots.

Birds and Animals with fur take longer than the human or fleshy characters do, generally hair, feathers and scales take more time to draw due to all the intricacies involved in getting the details right with each drawing taking approximately four days to complete.

Already a successful and popular artist due to his portraits of Australian mascots and sporting characters, Grange said working on a project of this size and nature, with the additional support of BLK, the six clubs and the AFL had been an incredibly challenging, but rewarding experience.

Previously, I’d been working on a personal series of characters and just sharing the images online and they’d started getting some attention. So when I was invited to work with a company like BLK, I was very excited at being involved in a project of this size and nature.

Initially the attraction was due largely to BLK’s presence and involvement across Australian sport as they’re are second to none in my view, and secondly being invited to work on a project sanctioned by the AFL and that has so many dimensions is amazing, it’s been an utterly fantastic experience.

Through a series of specially edited time lapse videos, the effort, detail and time taken to create each character has been captured for fans of each club to view online.

It’s fair to say the videos are works of art in their own right with each available to view and shared from

During the production process Grange says he drew inspiration from the #Youbethehero theme along with the passion and pride shown by fans wearing their team colours on game day and all year round.

For me, its all about the supporters and the people that barrack for their teams. I try as much as I can to think of what qualities they would want to see in their mascot. Brave, heroic, strong, passionate, etc.

The way I see it is; the mascot is the spiritual collective of the playing group, supporters and the club.

Club champions come and go, and while they are always remembered, the colours and the mascot are a constant and they simply evolve with the club.

I try and capture that raw passion.

The mascot has to look like it’s out on the field amongst the playing group, lifting the team to victory.

That’s the goal with my body of work and how I want everyone who sees it to feel.

When pushed to provide a favourite?

The Brisbane Lion is always a favourite to draw and the most fun. Having said that, the Giants artwork I created for this project is one of my all-time favourite artworks.

Truthfully, I’ve loved doing all of my mascot artworks, as an artist I really have to love all of them, because if I don’t they won’t get finished or I’ll start the process again.

Funnily enough, because of this, I no longer hold any rivalry/resentment towards any of the six clubs, which feels weird as a Carlton fan.

With the BLK, AFL celebration piece completed, what’s next for Grange Wallis?

First I am looking forward to seeing this collection and campaign come to life across billboards, the internet, social media and video, I’m really interested to gauge fan interest and thoughts.

Personally I have a few projects on the go at the moment, but generally I’m just looking to continuing on from what was an amazing 2014 for me and try to build on that work.

Fortunately, I love what I do, however its a craft and I have to stay committed to keep exploring my art and keep pushing my boundaries both personally and professionally.

I’ve been taking on considerably more projects lately and I hope to continue working with great companies like BLK and the AFL.


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