An elementary school art teacher by day and painter by night, Justin Patten has always been interested in art. In fact, that’s why he became an art educator – so he could be involved in art on a daily basis. He’s also a huge sports fan, and for 10 years played for the Indianapolis Hoosiers, a baseball league that played in vintage uniforms without gloves.
“I’ve always wanted to blend art and sports but never had the right place for it, then Etsy came along,” says Patten, who created some sports logo paintings that sold well online. “When that happened, I was hooked.”
In March of 2020, when much of the world shut down, Patten and his wife Rachel used the downtime to kick his art business into high gear. They named the company Storm Striker Art, after their sons, Lyle Jacob Striker Patten, 13, and Troy Storm Patten, 11. Rachel became the chief financial officer for all things Storm Striker.
“I’m everything but the artist,” she says.
They began making all kinds of products, from college art and pet portraits to custom art and Indianapolis 500 paintings. They are licensed and make canvas art, stickers, ornaments, prints, magnets, tees, sweatshirts, hats and LED lights, representing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and various schools.
“Our goal is to get all the Indiana schools so we can represent,” Rachel says.
Their products are sold in more than 30 shops locally, including Back to the Bricks in Zionsville.
“We do pop-up spirit wear shops in Zionsville,”Rachel says. “The next one is November 8 to 21, with delivery in plenty of time for Christmas.”
They have a line of house flags, garden flags, ornaments and mugs, representing pro football, hockey and baseball, as well as Division 1 colleges.
Justin’s top-selling art depicts the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo. Through the years, he’s met numerous people with a passion for racing – both drivers and fans. For instance, Tony Kanaan is always wearing their tees, and this year Kanaan’s wife paired one of their tees with a couture skirt. Doug Boles, president of the Motor Speedway, has a Storm Striker painting hanging in his office.
Justin is thrilled to be living his dream of immersing himself in art on a daily basis.
“I teach all day and paint every night,” Justin says.
However, he’s not locked away in a dingy basement with a smock and a brush. When their children aren’t at one of their sporting events, the entire family spends time together in their main room at home that acts as a living room, dining room and art studio.
“I’m working but still hanging out with my wife and kids,” Justin says. “I’m painting but still asking my boys, ‘Have you brushed your teeth?’”
Rachel describes their life as “mass chaos,” but in the best kind of way – cat paw prints tinged with wet paint and all.
“Being around us and his students is what gives him energy,” Rachel says of Justin. “There is so much energy in his paintings.”