Nov. 5, 2009
MADISON, Wis. -- Junior tight end Lance Kendricks has begun to register on the collective radar of Wisconsin football fans this season as the next piece in a long line of standout tight ends. He has shown his ability to catch the ball, as he caught six passes for 70 yards and his first career touchdown against Wofford on Sept. 19. In the team’s most recent game, he showcased his running skills as he totaled 91 yards on four carries against Purdue on Oct. 31.
Among his teammates, however, Kendricks has become known for something else: his artwork.
Offensive lineman John Moffitt lives with fellow offensive lineman Bill Nagy and quarterback Scott Tolzien. They asked Kendricks to help make their place unique.
“We knew he was an artist and we wanted something cool in our living room so we asked him if he could paint something up for us and he did,” Moffitt said. “Lance did a mural. It has to be like 8-feet by 8-feet at the least. It’s right in our living room. He did the beach with a palm tree, water and then a sunset and a night scene above it, going into the night scene. It’s amazing.”
Worked on intermittently, Kendricks completed the project in about three months, Moffitt said.
“We told him we wanted a beach scene,” Moffitt explained. “We gave him a couple of pictures. He looked at them and then did his own thing off of them, which was very cool.”
Art has been a hobby for Kendricks since he was around three or four years old. He was influenced by members of his family.
“My brothers were big artists when they were younger, so I just picked it up as a hobby,” he said.
His hobby was enhanced when he attended Rufus King High School in Milwaukee.
According to its Web site, the school has been honored twice as a National Blue Ribbon School and has had students enter work and win prizes in the Wisconsin Regional Scholastic Art Awards Competition, the Photographic Society of America Awards Competition and the Rainbow Summer Poster Competition.
“[Rufus King] is a pretty big art school,” Kendricks said. “I didn’t know too much about the art program before going there. I knew a little because it’s a good school, but I just went there and realized there were a lot of people that were drawing.”
Part of his growth as an artist sprang from learning from his peers.
“I mainly did portrait art so I really picked up a lot on that,” Kendricks said. “There were a lot of other people there that were the same age as me and they were really good. It kind of turned into a competition, but I picked up on it well.”
A crowning achievement for the Milwaukee native came during his senior year when he was invited to Washington, D.C. for his work.
“Out of all the districts in the nation, the winner of each district portrays their picture in the U.S. Capitol building,” Kendricks explained. “I won the district in Milwaukee. I think there are four districts in Wisconsin, and I won that district. I was flown to Washington, D.C. with my parents. My picture was in the U.S. Capitol building for one year, along with around 300 others.”
Designed with colored pencil, Kendricks’ picture was of his friends.
“They were sitting next to each other,” Kendricks said of his winning entry. “In the background, it was a color wheel because it was inside the art classroom. I titled the picture “Color Wheel.” I thought it was a pretty good picture, but I guess the title was real relevant to the picture and everything else there.”
Given the rigors of being a student-athlete, Kendricks, who normally works in colored pencil or acrylic, does not find as much time to hone his craft during the football season. He tries to find time when he can, though, as it helps to clear his mind.
“For me it is kind of a way to get away, relax and get my mind free,” he said. “In high school I played football, basketball and ran track, so it was a way to get some things going out of my mind.”
UW Athletic Communications