Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Incredible Jackie Robinson Painted Glove and Interview with the Artist - Sean Kane

Do you see that glove above?  It's got to be the coolest thing you've ever seen... right?  Well, it get's even better.  Look at the reverse side of the glove below.  Just brilliant!

Last week I stumbled upon the website of an artist named Sean Kane (through twitter) and I couldn't be more pleased by what I saw.  As you can see, Sean has taken Baseball art to another level.  Sure, I've seen Baseballs with drawings on them.  I've seen uniforms that have been painted on.  I've even seen artwork done on bases.  But this is the first time I've run across art on a glove- a vintage glove no less.

His website is called Painted Glove Collectibles, and he recently completed the beautiful Jackie Robinson glove you see here.  In fact, I do not think he has a Buyer for it yet, so if you're so inclined I suggest heading over there.  Here is the link again.

Being an inquisitive fellow, I decided to reach out to Sean for a short interview about his work and inspiration.  Thankfully, he was happy to oblige.  Check it out below.
  • I was very happy to come across your website the other day, and really enjoyed seeing your artwork.  It is certainly unique.   I was wondering what was your inspiration?  How did you come up with the idea?
The inspiration for my baseball art on classic gloves just seems to have emerged from my dual love of both art and baseball and tinkering with how to overlap the two in a distinct way. I've always drawn and painted and have been enchanted by the look of baseball since I was a boy, from the uniforms to the baseball cards, to the game-day program covers and stadium designs. 
I don't recall exactly what prompted painting on gloves, other than I've been painting on all sorts of things throughout my life, including on batting helmets as a boy -- I recall using quite a bit of paint to create my own Expos tri-colored helmet, among others!  A few years ago I created and sold painted baseballs as gifts for newborns and parents called Baby Baseballs.
  • How long have you been working with Baseball gloves as a medium?  How many different gloves have you completed?  What players are you planning to do next?
I was heading down to watch Arizona Spring Training in 2001 and wanted to have something special to catch foul balls with, a conversation starter up in the bleachers, and so I painted my first baseball glove. It was colorful and fun and didn't include any portraits. Hall of Famer Tony Qwynn laughed and signed it.

Ten years later, in 2011, I decided to revisit and refine the idea of painted baseball gloves. This is a young enterprise for me and I've got glove numbers 5 and 6 in the works. My list of players to feature and ideas keeps growing. My on deck circle includes Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Roberto Clemente...  It's an amazing game with an amazing history and so many avenues I could pursue.

I've evolved my approach with the painted gloves so that I try to match the era of the glove with the era of the player, as with the Jackie Robinson glove. It's good fun tracking the gloves down and digging into all the baseball books and online to research the players. Then through editing and selecting and designing the layout it all seems to come together and create something that is a hybrid of antique, art, and bit of baseball history.
  •  Who are your artistic influences?
 Not sure if the influence is evident, but the work of John Singer Sargent is inspiring as are German Expressionist woodblock prints and paintings, Otis Shepard's old Chicago Cubs program covers, as are the illustrated graphic designs of European and India matchbox covers, among others. Travel near or far and seeing new things is always an influence.
  • I understand that you've been an illustrator since 1994, has sports (Baseball) always been your main focus in what you draw?  What would you say is your favorite painting/drawing you’ve done? And what subject matter is your favorite to paint?
No, the main focus of my career has largely been creating artwork for my clients, including some big hitters in publishing, advertising and corporate worlds. Colorful, upbeat, conceptual and decorative imagery for magazines and books, event posters and annual reports, kids products, greeting cards and more. Baseball is working its way into becoming the main focus now with these Painted Glove Collectibles. 

My favorite painting is probably a portrait I painted of my son as a baby. One of my daughter will be finished soon, so I'll probably have two favorites.

As for subject matter, I'm mostly fond of sketching what I see when on a trip or out and about locally, including at a ball game.
  • Your website says that you grew up near Chicago, so are you a Cubs or White Sox fan?  Who is your favorite player?  What is your favorite Baseball memory?
Growing up I probably went to as many games at old Comiskey Park as at Wrigley Field, but I'm a Cubs fan. I really don't have a favorite player. Growing up I liked watching Rick Monday when he was with the Cubs. Then I actually got a bit of Dodger fever when he went to LA and I remember getting to see Fernando Valenzuela pitch at Wrigley Field and being there during batting practice up close to the Dodgers' dugout and getting autographs. Taking my kids to their first ball games in Seattle and Toronto are favorite memories. Oh so many.

And it looks like more baseball experiences are on the way thanks to my painted glove art. The Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in New York City will be hosting a show of my glove art in Fall 2013. (

It's a treat for me to learn more about players and history and visual elements of the game while getting to spend a bit of time with these old gloves. And it's very exciting to be able to create something unique that resonates with baseball fans.
It's awesome to hear Sean is getting some exposure. Heck, I'll be sure to check in with Sean again when he finishes the Sandy Koufax glove.  Again, check out his website, Painted Glove Collectibles.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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