Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman has a large, artistic drawing of the city’s skyline inked on his abdomen. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when he met with a Canadian tattoo artist earlier this month.

After a 24-hour process spread out over four days, the Blue Jays pitcher acquired a permanent reminder of that appreciation — a large, artistic drawing of the city’s skyline inked on his abdomen.

“I would say (the tattoo) speaks to his respect and his love for Toronto, and it’s an expression of how well he’s been received there,” said Levi Reimer, the Abbotsford, B.C.-based artist who designed the image and flew to Stroman’s Florida home for the private session two weeks ago.

“He made a point to tell me how much he loves the way he’s been treated by Blue Jays fans. It’s such a strong memory to him that he wants to have that on his body for the rest of his life.”

Stroman discovered Reimer in December after putting out a call on Twitter for tattoo artists interested in an exclusive session with the right-hander. Someone tagged Reimer, who owns Tenfold Tattoo Gallery with his wife Hayley, in a reply to the tweet and the two got in touch over Instagram.

Reimer said Stroman came to him with a few ideas on what he wanted incorporated into the tattoo, which takes up a good chunk of his torso, and Reimer went from there, designing an artistic collaboration that also features a glass of wine, an orchid, and an image of a woman’s face that was inspired by singer Rihanna.

“We basically found a variety of images that corresponded with his vision and we sat down to decide what would work and how it would come together,” Reimer said in a phone interview from Abbotsford. “I put in my input and he ultimately let me run with the ideas. And that’s typically how it works with me.

“Marcus was very open about me selecting the final images and how I laid it out. He gave me a small list of things that were significant to him and I had the freedom to piece it all together.”

The session began with a few smaller tattoos — the words ‘keep your cool’ on Stroman’s throwing hand, ‘balance’ behind his ear, and ‘grow from what you go through’ arching across the left side of his upper torso — to get the ball rolling before Reimer delved into the more laborious and complex drawings.

Stroman, who already has a plethora of ink on his arms, back and chest from past artists, shared a condensed video of Reimer’s entire process on his Twitter and Instagram accounts last week that had nearly 50,000 combined views as of Friday.

Reimer said he isn’t done with Stroman just yet though. The current tattoo needs some finishing touches, and more work is scheduled next month to add a silhouette of a little boy with his finger pressed to his lips in a shushing gesture.

“It kind of demonstrates Stroman silencing his critics,” Reimer explained.

The 28-year-old Reimer started tattooing after graduating from high school at 18, apprenticing at a local shop for a year and a half before his curiosity took him to Los Angeles to meet some of the world’s more famous tattoo artists.

Reimer, who has family members who are painters, said he was drawn to the creativity of the tattoo world and learned about other forms of the art — especially Maori tattoos in New Zealand — by reading about them in books.

“I just knew I wanted to do something that wasn’t the typical 9-5 type of job,” he said. “I wanted to do something where I had a little bit of openness and creativity and could kinda run off my own inspiration.

“Most of my knowledge and growth in tattooing has come from travelling and getting tattooed by people I look up to and am inspired by.”

Reimer, a self-proclaimed Blue Jays fan who grew up playing hockey and other sports, said his ability to travel for private sessions with athletes has been a welcome curve in his career path. He’s tattooed San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane multiple times, and squeezed in a quick session for Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Archer while in Tampa for Stroman’s work.

Reimer credited his wife and his five-artist staff at Tenfold for the ability to broaden his business in that way.

“One of the coolest things about choosing this career is seeing where it’s taken me,” he said. “I always thought as a young man I’d pursue sports and try to go professional myself but it’s cool that this job has brought me to a spot where I get to meet these (athletes) and spend time with them.

“It’s like I get to live vicariously through them.”

Just Posted

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

CALGARY — An environmental group that tried to widen the scope of… Continue reading

Red Deer firefighter is recovering, thanks community for support

Firefighters who help together, stick together. Red Deer firefighter medic Ben Barthel,… Continue reading

Biathlon women sweep the podium for second time

Biathlon women took top four spots in Thursday’s 10-km race

Zion’s freak injury ripples in basketball, business worlds

DURHAM, N.C. — Soon after Zion Williamson’s shoe ripped apart, Nike’s stock… Continue reading

HBC to shutter Home Outfitters brand and likely some Saks Off Fifth locations

TORONTO — Hudson’s Bay Co. is shuttering its Home Outfitters business and… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

NEB gives Trans Mountain pipeline expansion its endorsement

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the… Continue reading

Abel begins diving season on brink of record for most worlds medals

MONTREAL — Jennifer Abel could make history this summer in Gwangju, South… Continue reading

On eve of return to Toronto, former Raptors star DeRozan says he’s “moved on”

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan has found closure. When the player once fondly… Continue reading

ACTRA to honour actress Jayne Eastwood who says being on set is her ‘happy place’

TORONTO — Looking back on her five decades in show business, Toronto… Continue reading

If proven, Smollett allegations could be a ‘career killer’

LOS ANGELES — Jussie Smollett is enmeshed in weekly drama on the… Continue reading

Ponoka host to Bayer Crop Science seed innovations trade show

The company held a trade show with seed crop science industry partners at the ag event centre

Gaudreau snaps goal drought to help Flames double up Islanders 4-2

CALGARY — The drought is over for Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau’s first goal… Continue reading

Federal government set to develop code of conduct for sport in Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government is developing a code of conduct for… Continue reading

Most Read