By Phil Hecken
Uni Watch readers may recall I’ve featured today’s artist, Andy Brown, a few times last year, including his Winter Olympics art, some of his baseball art, pre-2018, and a look at some ballparks he visited during a summer trip to the States.
I recently spoke at length with Andy about his future plans, as he’s trying to make the transition from teaching to becoming a full-time “ballpark artist.” As you may know, going to parks and painting stadia and players isn’t as simple as it sounds, and he asked me if I had any advice in that area. I was able to put him in touch with Graig Kreindler and Todd Radom, who were able to (hopefully) proffer sage advice regarding the intricacies of navigating the tangled weave of licensing and the like. They are both incredibly stand up and generous guys, and willingly offered Andy help. Andy notes,
This June I am leaving teaching – I’ve taught Art for 15 years or so now, and I want to spend more time painting baseball than teaching painting/printing/sculpture. With no major commitments apart from water and bread I am going to travel doing what I love – painting ballparks worldwide.
This summer (after the All Star Break) I am heading back to the US to paint all 30 MLB stadiums. My eventual plan is to complete my trip at Cooperstown and hold an exhibition, ideally at the Hall of Fame.
I had hoped to meet Andy in person last summer during his ballpark tour, but unfortunately our schedules didn’t jibe. He’s coming back again this year, and we both will do everything possible to make that happen, hopefully along with Todd and Graig.
I also asked Andy if he had any pre-trip thoughts or updates since his past trip to the USA. Oh boy, does he ever. There’s a lot to get into, so I’ll shut up now. Here’s Andy…
Diamonds on Canvas — The Art of Baseball
By Andy Brown
My name is Andy Brown and I am a British artist. For over half a decade I have traveled the globe with my paints to document baseball: ballparks, stadiums, the players and the people who make up the game. So far I have worked in the US (MLB, MiLB, Independent Ball), Korea (KBO), Japan (NPB), Taiwan (CPBL), and China (CBL).
The last time I wrote for Uni Watch I had just finished a tour painting the US Major, Minor and Independent leagues. In 34 days I visited 24 ballparks, watching 32 games in 8 different states. Since then I have continued my journey documenting baseball worldwide looking at the similarities and differences found in the game and people who enjoy it.
In September I traveled to Taiwan to paint the CPBL – a league relatively close to my current home here in South Korea and one that I had never visited before. Having seen the passion and energy of the Chinese Taipei national teams fans in Seoul during the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC), it was a league I had wanted to see and capture on canvas.
I found it to be a great league to paint. Friendly fans in great ballparks, creating a great atmosphere while watching a great standard of play. I ended up making two trips, one in September and was then invited back by the CPBL for the playoffs and the Taiwan Series. The ballparks were fantastic from the Japanese built Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium which is the oldest (1931), and holds similarities to the Koshien in Osaka (home of the Hanshin Tigers), to the modern hi-tech Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium which features a hydraulic airplane (Taoyuan the location the islands main international airport) which lifts the teams cheer master skywards during the seventh inning stretch.
N.b. Airplane mid-air behind home plate.
I found the people at every level of the game (players, fans, managers CPBL executives) incredibly welcoming and supportive, always happy to be painted and very encouraging of me working in their league. Whilst there I also was lucky enough to be interviewed by Fox Sports, national newspapers and meeting players and managers from the teams, to whom I sold some pieces. Currently there is also the possibility of baseball cards being made featuring my work in the future. A hugely exciting prospect!
Recently I have decided that this summer I will leave my profession of the past 15 years (teaching Art and Design) to paint baseball ‘full time’. This season I will visit all 30 MLB ballparks to paint and record these treasured diamonds on canvas in oils. Being the 150th Year of professional baseball since the Cincinnati Red Stockings were established, I feel this is a wonderful time to do it, and a great opportunity for MLB and the cities in which baseball is played, to be captured in this unique way and on this unique journey. One which I do not believe has ever been done before using this medium.
At the conclusion of my trip, I am going to be exhibiting my paintings of all 30 ballparks plus other independent, and minor league teams I pass, in Cooperstown. In all the ballparks in which I have worked, my paintings – and the process of me actively painting during the game has always attracted a huge amount of attention, giving enjoyment to the fans, players and all involved. I feel that me working in this same way will give the MLB teams fans a unique family friendly live art show with which they could interact and view in between innings and while the game is in progress.
As I mentioned earlier, along with documenting ballparks I am also very interested in the people and wider communities which surround baseball. During the off season, I find myself working on these aspects mostly. This year this body of work has included people met on my US tour, the Hall of Fame ballot and inductees, highlights from the 2018 World Series, and players mechanics.
(Right) Ed Pruitt aka ‘Smoke’ pitching coach for the Cleburne Railroaders who I met in Texas last summer. Smoke (55 years old) threw a perfect inning for the team in their 2017 season, a great character and artist (the reason we started chatting)! Oil on paper.
This last series is my most recent, where I have been working on large scale pieces. Within my work there has always been an interest in movement, something I find one of the attractions to the national past time, moments of stillness followed by moments of explosive decisive actions; players circling and stealing bases, pitchers hurling themselves towards home plate and frenetic fans shouting, cheering and dancing.
These were made taking four stages of the players swing, which was then painted onto four separate canvases, which were then animated to create clips of these legends in action. This off seasons pieces are similar, but bring all the separate stages into one artwork. So far I have made works of Giancarlo Stanton and Mookie Betts, with CC Sabathia, David Price and Aaron Judge all in progress. These dynamic images give a Futurist like vision similar to that of Umberto Boccioni showing the power, movement and energy in different people and parts of the game.
See the progress of this painting here.
Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium
Painted on my first trip to Taiwan and the CPBL, in this fabulously arched ballpark, unlike any other I’ve visited before. The Chinatrust Brothers’ Elih Villanueva on the mound, who while I painted threw a no hitter!
At the call of the final strike in the CPBL Taiwan Series the fans throw streamers downwards from the stands, creating a cascade of ribbon. It’s one of the beautiful and unique sights of the CPBL. I painted this image as the players and fans celebrated. You can see this artwork being made and the final out here
Singing and dancing, passionate and hugely knowledgeable about the game. Cheer squads, Mr Lee a ball hawk and Ken, a young student who came to say hello.
Built like a marvel character, Giancarlo Stanton is an incredible athlete, and an incredible hitter. Here I took 5 or 6 seperate images of him which I drew and redrew over and over to make this image, with references to Caravaggio, Francis Bacon and the Futurists tied in. See how this painting progressed here.
Up until this stage I had never painted Barry Bonds. It’s difficult when choosing an image to work from of such a notorious player. I decided to use this one of him as a young man in his college years playing for the Arizona State Sun Devils. So much in front of him. Always a polarising figure when HOF ballots come around, which I tried to capture in the impasto painted features.
With Spring training well underway and opening day fast approaching I am preparing my trip to the US, and a brief stop in Mexico to see the LMB. As always I am looking for any support or help people can offer. This can include sponsorship and funding, places to exhibit my work, or even just recommendations of where to visit, eat drink, and paint along the way. If you feel you can help, or would like me to come and visit your team, please get in touch and I will see you at the ballpark soon!
Phil here. Thanks, Andy. As always, just outstanding work, and thanks for sharing. Looking forward to (finally) meeting you this summer when you return to the States!
For more about Andy, his work, and how to contact and/or follow him, click any of the links below:
Go fund me: https://www.gofundme.com/diamonds-on-canvas
The View From The Net
You probably know Brinke Guthrie (who I jokingly refer to as my tennis “doubles partner”) more for his “Collector’s Corner” segment that runs weekdays on Uni Watch, but for the past decade or so, I’ve collaborated with Brinke on many tennis-related segments for this blog — but always for the “Majors,” which also comprise Tennis’ Grand Slam. But the tennis world doesn’t just revolve around the four majors; there are other tourneys held throughout the year, and Brinke will occasionally look at the “uniforms” (a/k/a fashion) for the smaller events. Today is one of those days.
Casual tennis fans will know the names of the big four Grand Slam events, the Australian, French and U.S. Opens, along with Wimbledon. The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (Palm Springs) is unofficially known as “The Fifth Slam,” with good reason. This tournament boasts an amazing desert facility that brings in all of the best men’s and women’s players in the world for its two week run, which we are now halfway through. (Hopefully someday I’ll get to see this in person! I stopped by once in the early summer and all I saw was…a bunch of construction going on.)
Fila is a major sponsor of the event and outfitter of all the umpires and ball persons, and they always make sure to make a big splash. For the third year in a row, they’ve rolled out a special sneaker for the event, the Fila X BNP Paribas Open Original Tennis 2.0 knit, in navy blue/white with light blue accents, as well as a matching “Drifter” sandal with a safety strap made of “tennis ball material.” The uniform sets and the special edition footwear are on sale on-site at the Fila retail store.
Just like Nike and Adidas, Fila boasts a large stable of pro players, including women’s #5 Karolina Pliskova and men’s #10 Marin Cilic. Pliskova is shown in the Acqua Sole collection in sharp green, blue curacao and French blue.
Cilic is wearing the Men’s Heritage collection with bright green as the predominant color.
And here’s something I dig. Men’s #9 John Isner and women’s doubles #4 Timea Babos will be wearing Fila’s limited edition P.L.Rolando line. While you probably won’t know that name, Pierluigi Rolando (you can see him in this video) was the original creative director for the brand, and he was the designer for those timeless Borg and Vilas styles. A true tennis fashion visionary, he could see where tennis needed to go in the 1970s in order to break free from the staid confines of the genteel country clubs- he made his looks pop. And until you wore those original Borg Egyptian cotton shirts on court, you didn’t know what tennis cool really was.
The Indian Wells action concludes on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, and then both the ATP and WTA players zip across country for the back half of the spring “Sunshine Double,” AKA the Miami Open. Lacoste is the major tennis gear player there, and we’ll hear about Le Croc next weekend.
Thanks, Brinke! If you couldn’t already guess, that’s a much younger Brinke in the splash photo atop this section. Three stripes almost head to toe! But since this segment featured Fila, Brinke used to rock that too:
What Phil Did Last Weekend…
What you see above is the beginning of the end of a Bonspiel (a curling tournament), which is the “piping in ceremony,” and this past weekend, I got to be in one, as my rink (team) made it to the finals of the “C” event. It’s quite an honor and a great reward for having reached the finals. I’ve now curled in four Bonspiels, and never once even made it close to a final. That all changed last weekend.
Before I begin to tell you about our play, I first want to point you to this piece penned by Paul back in 2012, which he wrote after we both attended the U.S. Curling Championships in Philadelphia. If you didn’t read that all the way through to the end, the last graph reads
Speaking of which: the bagpipes! Curling originated in Scotland, so tournaments — or bonspiels, as they’re more properly called — often begin and end with a playing of the pipes, complete with full Scottish dress (read: kilts). Here’s how the ceremonial procession looked just prior to the awarding of the trophy. For now, at least, that’s a unique sporting experience that even Jeremy Lin can’t match.
Many of the major Bonspiels feature several pipers and drums, as you can see here. That’s the 2015 Francis Dykes Memorial Bonspiel — I recently completed in the 2019 edition (played at the Schenectady and Albany Curling Clubs), and although we only had one piper, it’s still an incredibly moving ceremony. We begin inside the “warm room” of the host club, and all teams who have reached their respective finals are led onto the ice by the pipes, where we then line up before play begins. In the splash photo, I’m wearing the blue cap with the “paint splatter” pants.
The procession goes as follows:
We leave the warm room and head down to the sheets, following behind the piper:
From there, the teams take their places behind their respective sheets, while the piper turns at mid-ice and proceeds to the head of the sheets (while all this is occurring, all curlers tap/bang their brooms in rhythmic “syncopation” to the medley; actually, we were pretty much all on-beat):
Finally, the piping stops as we proceed to a position just in front of the houses (those are the “bullseye” shapes), where a shot of scotch is provided for those wish to toast the tourney. (My rink are the second four from the left — all in colorful pants.)
Shots are then taken, and we ready for play:
Now, here’s the good part (at least to me). My rink curls out of the Long Island Curling Club, an arena club. This means we share a rink with other activities, in our case, hockey. This means the ice gets its share of abuse, and a zamboni is used extensively to clean and prepare the ice. We were the only arena club to reach one of the finals. Every other rink there (and there were some very good ones) plays in an actual curling club on what’s known as “dedicated” ice — ice that is designed specifically for curling, which is (at least in theory) perfectly flat, immaculately groomed, and on ice which is never touched by a zamboni. There is a tremendous difference between arena ice and dedicated ice, and as such, most arena clubs are at a severe disadvantage playing in bonspiels held on dedicated ice. While not a perfect analogy, imagine you play all your tennis matches on slow red clay, only to play your next match on slick grass. It’s still the same game, but the play is totally different. It takes a while to adjust.
A bit more information about most bonspiels. Rinks (teams) are guaranteed three games minimum. So, you can lose three times (and you’re out), lose once, win once, lose again, and you’re out (or win/lose/lose, etc.). Once you lose, you’re dropped into a new “bracket” — so if you lose in the main draw, you drop to the “B” bracket, lose there and you go to the “C” bracket. But it’s not always this simple. There is also a feed-in system whereby teams who lose in later rounds of the “A” bracket are placed into the lower brackets. It’s complicated — if you’re really interested in seeing how it all shook out, click here (I think that link is viewable to all). To make a long story
longer somewhat shorter, we ended up losing our first two matches (including a close 5-2 loss in the first round to a team who would end up winning the “A” bracket — the Champions — and only team without a loss), so we dropped to the “C” bracket — if you click on the tabs at the bottom of the excel spreadsheet, you can see we’re “Long Island – Kasprowicz” (Kasprowicz being the last name of our skip, Colin Kasprowicz). Once we made it to the “C” bracket, we finally got used to the “real” curling ice, and we won our first match there. Here’s how we looked during that one:
Left to right, my rink is: Howie Kunzinger, Johnny Lusardi, Phil Hecken, Colin Kasprowicz.
You’ll note the big guy on the left, Howie, is wearing blue patterned pants. Those are the official Long Island Curling Club pants, which we’ve worn at other friendlies and bonspiels. We all brought those along…except Colin (wearing the “Hearts” pants), who accidentally brought his son’s pants (yes, he does own an adult pair). So, without the ability to sport the all-LICC pants throughout the bonspiel, Johnny & I decided to rock a different pair of pants for each game. Of course, I wasn’t expecting to make a deep run into the tourney (and also I expected to be wearing LICC pants all weekend), so I only brought four different pairs. But Howie & Colin went with the LICC & Hearts pants, respectively, throughout the whole Bonspiel.
We won that third match and kept on winning, three matches on Saturday in fact, to reach the Sunday morning semi-finals of the “C” bracket.
Our first “C” match we won fairly easily, but our next two were real dog-fights, and we prevailed nine ends (after eight ends we were tied, so we had to play an extra — similar to extra innings in baseball), and eight ends late Saturday night. Tired but triumphant, we persevered against other rinks who probably should have beaten us (after all, we were an “arena” team). Because we play on arena ice, we probably don’t play as “conventional” a game as those teams used to playing on dedicated ice, so perhaps our strategy and our technique confused the “dedicated ice” teams. We also played extremely well, and we definitely got a lucky break or two along the way. Still, we joked we were “playing with house money” with each win. But …
Sunday would be different. To “reward” the teams who lost in the semi-finals of the “A” bracket, those teams were then “placed” into the C bracket. So our first match on Sunday would be not only against a truly excellent team, but arguably the third or fourth best team in the tournament (which totaled 56 teams!). You can see that “feed in” below:
As you can see, WE WON, in what was probably the biggest upset of the entire Bonspiel. I couldn’t have been prouder of Howie, Johnny & Colin, who all played fantastically! That put us into the finals of the “C” bracket (leading into the piping in, etc.). Unfortunately, we played another great team, and while we fought admirably, we ultimately fell 7-5, to the “C” bracket champs. We were definitely tired (we played the final 5 matches in about 28 hours — with each game taking two-ish hours — so over 10 hours of curling in that time frame).
Here’s some shots of us in action in the final:
Some quick “uni” notes: Johnny is a big SF Giants fan, and he ware several Giants caps during the tourney, including in the final; Howie (the big guy with the orange shirt) is wearing — no joke — blue suede shoes! He actually made those himself and curled magnificently in them.
And, if you couldn’t tell from the piping in photos, we weren’t the only ones wearing “crazy” pants, although we were the only rink to feature all four members in them. Many curlers still go with the “traditional” black pants look, but thanks to the Norwegian Curling Team, the sport is becoming much more colorful. Here’s a few sweet pants from the other finals:
When it was all over, we were exhausted but happy. Truly, our team shocked the curling world with our run. At the awards ceremony GNCC (Grand National Curling Club, basically the parent organization of all CC’s) Chairman Charlie Brown even mentioned how an arena club could compete with the big boys, so to speak (yes, that’s his real name and yes, he mentioned his parents must have hated him). Although we didn’t win (and didn’t walk off with a trophy), we did get piped in, and we did get presented with some nice medals for the effort.
I couldn’t be prouder of these guys.
And that’s how I spent last weekend. If you read this far, thanks for listening.
Your Friendly Reminder…
Most of you (likely) have devices (phones, clocks, DVR’s, etc.) that will automatically “Spring Forward” for Daylight Saving Time — remember there is no “S” at the end of “saving” — as a local television ad for a mattress company once said, “Leave off the last ‘S’ for saving!”, a good reminder that we’re now in the good time of the year.
Despite the fact that it takes my old bones a good two weeks to make up that hour of “lost” sleep, there is nothing better than DST. Living in the eastern end of my time zone, I greatly appreciate the “extra” hour of daylight we’re afforded for the next six-ish months. Yes, I get that those of you who live in the western end of your time zones probably have no use for it (and yes, if you’re an early riser, you probably will wake up in darkness), but there’s nothing better than being able to do something outdoors after work (or after supper as we hit summer). We can’t really do that in the eastern end of the time zone.
So, in case you own some devices (analog/battery operated clock, watch, car radio, etc.) that don’t automatically “spring” ahead for you, don’t forget to adjust your time-keeping devices to Daylight Saving Time before you go to sleep tonight.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
By Anthony Matthew Emerson
Baseball News: Great news out of the MLB: the MLB150 patches will be stitched liked the All-Star Game patches, not plastic like the World Series patches (from Rose Culper). … MLB.com has published “the quintessential Bryce Harper style guide” (from Justo Gutierrez). … As a Red Sox fan, it’s sad to see the Green Monster being turned into a giant billboard. Advertising on the Monstah just seems wrong, regardless of its history (from @ohhhsourry). … Also posted in the hockey section: The AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals wore awesome Brewers-inspired unis last night (form @arnuccio4). … The Louisville Bats, Triple-A affiliates of the Reds, will be wearing these
bad boys jerseys for Super Hero Night on June 15 (thanks, Phil). … The Gwinnett Stripers, Triple-A affiliates of the Braves, will be wearing these jerseys for their Outdoors Night on April 26 (from David Clemons). … The University of Delaware has debuted new pinstriped home whites (from Bob Novotny). … Virginia Tech went GFGS last evening (from Mike Lucia). … Auburn baseball have added “Lee County Strong” decals to their helmets in honor of the victims of the terrible tornadoes that hit the area last week (from Clint Richardson). … A batter for Ohio University wore a football-style hand warmer to the plate. Hey, it was only March 8 (from Chris Howell). … Here’s something you don’t see every day: a football-style softball uni for the Gators. Strange, but I kind of dig it (from @fsuego). … Also posted in the football section: Double logo poach here: Fall River (Wi.) High has the Buccaneers’ flag logo mixed with the Pirates’ pirate-head logo (from Dan Pfeifer). … Also posted in the football section: Another double logo poach: Jordan (N.C.) High has combined the Falcons logo with the Blue Jays logo — and yes, that is Rasheed Wallace being introduced as the head basketball coach (from Charlie Ryczek, Shawn Shearer and Jason Scherer).
NFL News: Like their baseball team, Auburn football will wear “Lee County Strong” decals on their helmets this fall to honor the victims of the tornadoes last week. … Cross-posted from the baseball section: Double logo poach here: Fall River (Wi.) High has the Buccaneers’ flag logo mixed with the Pirates’ pirate-head logo (from Dan Pfeifer). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: Another double logo poach: Jordan (N.C.) High has combined the Falcons logo with the Blue Jays logo — and yes, that is Rasheed Wallace being introduced as the head basketball coach (from Charlie Ryczek, Shawn Shearer and Jason Scherer). … Even more logo poaching: Marion (Ar.) High has poached the Patriots’ logo (from Jerry Rich).
College/High School Football News: BYU will be wearing Nike through the 2025-26 season (thanks, Phil). … Alfred University has revealed their 2019 helmet. It’s purple, so Paul should look away (from Larry Soprano).
Hockey News: “At the start of this video you can see the memorial ‘Ted 7′ that the Chicago Blackhawks have added to the walls for Ted Lindsay. This is in addition to the ’21’ behind the goals for Stan Mikita,” writes Steve Johnston. … The Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s ref unis are the best ref unis in history (from Alec Pappas). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: The AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals wore awesome Brewers-inspired unis last night (form @arnuccio4). … And on the opposite end of the hockey level hierarchy, the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen took uni advertising disgustingly far last evening (blame goes to Matt Straus for sending this our way). … Gorgeous color-vs-color for the Minnesota State High School hockey tournament (from Heath Stoll). … Unfortunately, it appears the tourney itself is on the wrong side of a logo-theft debacle (from Tommy Everson).
NBA News: Steph Curry met with a nine-year-old who asked him why his shoe line didn’t make shoes in girl’s sizes — with Steph even putting her hand-drawn design on a pair (from James Gilbert). … Tyler Zeller will wear No. 45 with the Hawks (from Etienne Catalan).
College/High School Hoops News: Virginia Tech put the uni numbers of its seniors at midcourt for senior night — 5 for G Justin Robinson, 13 for G Ahmed Hill and 42 for G/F Ty Outlaw (from Andrew Cosentino). … Drake wore their awesome throwbacks last night (from Will Smead). … @BoilerUniforms is tracking what Purdue men are wearing this season (from @nickgoose02). … The court for the ACC’s Women’s Tournament absolutely screams 1993. … It must’ve been very hard for folks to follow this white-vs-champagne uni matchup in a high school tourney (from Andrew Albrecht).
Soccer News: We finally have the reason for Manchester United MF Mason Greenwood’s different NOB font and PSG-badged uni numbers that have been in the ticker the last few days: Greenwood was a last-minute addition to the squad, and United borrowed PSG’s print shop to apply his uni number and NOB. As United is an Adidas club and PSG a Nike club, they didn’t have United’s font on hand (from Guy Phillips and @ursos_arctos59). … FC Nordsjælland players have each chosen a female role model and will wear her name on their shirts for this weekend’s match as part of International Women’s Day celebrations (from Ed Żelaski). … Speaking of International Women’s Day (and Scandinavia), the Swedish Football Federation used the occasion to reveal the kits the Blågult’s 2019 Women’s World Cup kits (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … New kits for the Tampa Bay Rowdies (from Josh Hinton). … This podcast has a review of all the new MLS kits.
Grab Bag: In-N-Out Burger is suing Puma for creating sneakers that look too similar to In-N-Out’s brand (from Jack Wade). [I originally read this as “taste too similar” — PH] … Caleb Gelder sends along this gallery of every WrestleMania logo in history. Caleb went pretty deep in his analysis of the logos, too. Highly recommended. … Team British Columbia at The 2019 Brier have baseball caps matching the sun motif from the provincial flag (from Wade Heidt). … Not uni related, but adorable: daycare snafus sometimes lead to adorable meetings (from Phil and Sarah Segal). … More non-uni news, but news that hits close to my Maine-based heart: Maine State Rep. Janice Cooper has introduced a bill to change the state flag from its boring and ugly current design to its unique and classic old design. Go Janice. Janice for everything (from Matthew Algeo).