ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It was the opportunity of a lifetime for one local artist.

To many, Horseheads is small town big dreams. It’s a hard-working, blue collar town that produces some creative and inspirational people in their respective professions. On Sunday, Horseheads art teacher Chris Bell made local history with the help of his artistic talent and a longtime friend.

Bell designed a pair of Christmas themed spikes for Minnesota Vikings standout receiver, Justin Jefferson, who wore them in Sunday’s game versus the Rams. How this opportunity happened was thanks to a bond that Bell shares with former Horseheads Blue Raider football standout, Guilian Gary.

An All-ACC wide receiver at the University of Maryland at wide receiver, Gary was in the college coaching ranks before embarking on a full-time sports marketing career with one of the world’s biggest brands, Under Armour. Jefferson, a second-year receiver out of LSU, was signed by the brand prior to the 2020 NFL Draft.

For years, Bell has been an elite graphic designer and illustrator. Getting this chance to see his work playout on the national football stage was something he’ll always be grateful for.

“I would have painted it for anyone on the field, let along one of the best players on the field,” Bell said. “It was pretty great.”

Bell says the response from the community has been overwhelming. After decades of art design, the Horseheads Intermediate School teacher is hopeful that this is only the start to some bigger projects. Bell credits Gary for pushing and inspiring him to design the cleats for an NFL game.

“For me as a freelance business, I do a lot of logos and a lot of general design for people. I’ve always seen myself as an illustrator so this was a great opportunity to do something different,” added Bell.

For more on Bell and his creative works, you can find him on the web at http://www.bellgfx.com

(Photos used in the story are courtesy of Instagram and Minnesota Vikings social media pages)