(NOTE: If you want to skip the story and just see all the artwork, scroll to the bottom. I won’t be too terribly offended.)
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook this summer you’ll already know this, but, if not, it’s about time I posted something on here about the live-painting I’ve been doing outside Yankee Stadium all summer long. For just about every Yankee home game since mid-April, I’ve been outside the Yankee Twin Eatery & Bar (844 River Ave, across from the old Stadium) painting different Yankees. I generally try and start about 2 or 3 hours before first pitch so I have something recognizable and at least 2/3 of the way finished by the time the street’s filled up with fans going to the game. I’ll then paint up through the first or second inning, relax, have a beer and a sandwich, and watch as much of the game as possible, before getting off my butt around the 7th or 8th inning so I can be finishing it up as everyone files out afterward, and hopefully hand it off to a buyer. If not it goes up in my little gallery in the bar downstairs.
It all kind of started on a whim. I was working on a mural in the bar downstairs (more on that later), and painting during a few of the early games, which attracted a lot of attention. So I decided to see if I could possibly set up the easel outside and maybe bang out an entire painting over the course of a game. One of my problems over the past several years of painting, I think, has been my perfectionism, especially when it comes to photo-realistic artwork. I have almost certainly put way more time into just about every one of my paintings than was necessary. So, I really wasn’t sure if I could pull off finishing an entire painting in such a short amount of time. I knew it would have to be looser, sketchier, and more stylized than most of my past work, and what really worried me was whether or not people familiar with my past work would be accepting of it. What surprised me, though, was that not only could I actually complete a pretty darn photo-realistic painting in such a short amount of time, but also how many people accepted the fact that none of these were perfect. It really allowed me to loosen up, have fun, and experiment with different looks, techniques, and styles like I really haven’t before.
At times it has been exhausting to be out there every night. Finishing an entire painting in such a short amount of time can take quite a bit of concentration and energy, especially when doing it in the middle of a crowd and having to stop and talk to people, take photos, and post updates to social media. That can be especially hard when you’re a 41 year old with bad knees, shin splints, and bipolar disorder. By the end of a homestand I find myself pouring cups of coffee and beer down my throat all night just to keep up my energy levels and fend off the aches and pains. I can also be pretty damn cranky and impatient by the end (high-irritability is a common bipolar symptom), so if you have been out at a game and I’ve been less than civil with you, now you know why. And, I heartily apologize.
Overall, though, as challenging and tiring as it can be, it’s been one of the better experiences of my life, and certainly the best experience I’ve had as both an artist and Yankee fan. To be a part of that scene night after night, especially when the team is in the middle of what could be an all-time memorable season, has been a whole lot of fun, and to be almost an added attraction, another one of the many interesting and exciting things for fans to check out and take pictures of, has been both very surprising and extremely cool. It has also not only made me a financially solvent artist, and allowed me to finally do it full-time, it’s also helped me to branch out and experiment creatively, learn to work more quickly, and made me a much better artist than I was even a few months ago. As someone who’s largely self-taught, I honestly have no idea what I’m doing and just throw things at the canvas and hope they stick. I’ve gotten lucky a lot this year in that most of those things have stuck pretty well.
The most surprising and rewarding part of this summer (other than the money…) has been all the different Yankee fans I’ve met, and new friends and business associates I’ve made. For as grouchy as I can get by the end of a long homestand, the majority of the fans have been great. I’ve met some really, really nice people and die-hard Yankee fans, and forged some new friendships that I hope last beyond just this season. Being told night after night how talented you are doesn’t get old either.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the good folks at the Yankee Twin Eatery & Bar for giving me a space to work, display, and sell my Yankee art, and for all the fantastic food. They’ve been great friends every step of the way. They’ve got a great family running the place, and are putting together what I think is one of the best pre- and post-game hangout spots outside the Stadium. It certainly has the best food and cheapest beer (not to mention great art). So, if you’re heading out to the Bronx for a game the rest of the way, please swing by, say hello, grab a beer and a sandwich, and check out the artwork downstairs. I promise you none of it will suck.
Below is all the work I’ve finished to date. Most are 18″ x 24″, which is the smallest size I’ve been working at, the largest is 36″ x 48″, and all are acrylic on canvas. A few are still available to purchase. If you’re interested in any, or would like to commission a piece, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, please enjoy. And LET’S GO YANKEES!