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Four years ago, artist Pierick Smith wasn’t happy.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, his art activity, once prevalent as a kid, had lapsed into a “real world” job.
That’s when he made a change.
Since three and a half years ago, Smith has made painting his only occupation, blending his two loves– sports and art– into a rewarding career.
“I experience a lot of aesthetic pleasure from sports,” Smith wrote to The Redskins Blog. “The uniforms, the helmets, the human form in action. Also, I like doing art that isn’t about me (or my emotions or my own inner-demons). I enjoy sort of being second to the actual artwork. I spend enough time inside my own head, I don’t care to work with that subject matter.”
His style is certainly unique. The works re-envision athletes–mostly football players– with a style he calls “Pop-Pop” art, named for players popping out of the frame and illustrating pop culture around them.
He makes the pieces by cutting out players from light wood, like basswood or foam core, and colors them with acrylic paint.
As you can see, the extra dimension gives a “certain physical impact-fulness which seems to be especially amusing with the sports theme.”
His first few works were of Robert Griffin III and Sean Taylor. Smith, known as “Paintin’ Manning” on Twitter, credited the Washington, D.C., fanbase as being very instrumental in his early success.
“I was just always a fan of [Taylor’s] game,” wrote Smith, who was commissioned by many Redskins fan for portraits. “[I] felt a great loss when he was taken away like that.”
Smith, 37, lives in Bloomington, Ind. where he works in his studio each day. His artistic genes are impressively spread throughout his family.
One of his relatives worked in correspondence with Andy Warhol in the 1950s and 60s. His great-grandmother was a professor in music-theory. His mother is painter and his father, who supplied him reams of paper to draw on as a child, could learn and play music just by ear.
“I am very thankful for fans of my artwork and thankful, as an artist, that I live in the age of the internet and social media,” he wrote, “which has given artists an unprecedented opportunity to share their work.”
You can find, and commission, Pierick’s artwork on his website.
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