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The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Art of the Poster

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Painting Uniforms on Uniforms

Reader Douglas Ford recently alerted me to the work of an artist named Dan Stromme, who has an interesting specialty: He paints sports scenes on helmets and jerseys.

Let’s start with the helmets, which are particularly cool. Here are some of my favorites (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

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A Great Way To Say 'Thank You'

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By Phil Hecken

As many of you readers are aware, Leo Strawn, Jr. often sends in ticker contributions for some obscure sports (usually, but not always, Australian Rules Football), but he’s a renaissance man when it comes to his sports tastes. He also dabbles in eBay and Etsy. So, whenever someone . . . → Read More: A Great Way To Say ‘Thank You’

He Shoots, He Score(board)s!

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Nowadays every stadium has a high-def color jumbotron. Back in the 1970s and ’80s, though, most ballparks had conventional one-color scoreboards that displayed dot-matrix images. An artist named Peter Chen has created a series of portraits based on that old scoreboard style (you can see some of them above; there are more here). I really like them, so I asked him to give a little summary of the project, which he happily provided:

As someone who thinks a lot about baseball as seen through an artistic lens, I recently began pondering about the jumbotron images and animations I had grown up seeing (as well as mimicked in ’90s baseball video games). This gave me an urge to create player portraits similar to those flashed on the scoreboard during Hank Aaron’s 715th home run and Pete Rose’s 4192nd hit. Specifically, I wanted to create players from the ’70s and ’80s, who were the equivalent of superheroes to me when I was growing up.

The process starts with creating a black-and-white pixel-sized image in Photoshop. This is the most painstaking part of the process, as each pixel can significantly change a portrait. Once that’s completed, the image is imported into Illustrator and overlaid with a series of dots in grid format. The excess dots are removed from the grid, resulting in the final image.

The image is then printed in black onto black paper via a laser printer, which results in a black-on-black effect. Gold foil is then overlaid on top of the printed piece, and both are sent through a heat laminator. The heating process fuses the gold foil to the toner to create the final image. This is an affordable yet powerful method of printing metalics in a one-off fashion. Otherwise, it would surely be cost-prohibitive.

Interesting! Peter’s prints evoke very specific reactions in my mind. The Shea Stadium scoreboard never displayed this type of image, so I associate these portraits with the Phillies, the Pirates, maybe the Reds. As I list those teams, I realize I’m also listing donut-style stadiums that had artificial turf. When I see these images, that’s what I think of: cheesy, synthetic, ’70s-style plastic culture. Except I mean all of that in a good way, if that’s possible.

Peter sells these prints for $100 at his Etsy shop. He also has a series of really nice MLB paintings, which he sells on his web site. Great stuff all around.

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