The title says it all, evoking feelings of anticipation and pride that make me so excited to be part of this project.
The air of suspense as fans wait to see the originals in person is what make this project both special and exciting to work on. Being able to view the re-creation of iconic sports masterpieces in person at 22 x 30, and in watercolor, is what make this traveling exhibition and sale so unique .
I have been honored to create some very special sets over the years for Topps, Upper Deck and Kelloggs, with many still highly collected to this day.
From the days when I first started painting my first Topps set in 1999, trading cards have become art in their own right, considered by many collectors to be miniature sports-art masterpieces.
Creating them in detail is both a challenge and a delight. I try to craft each painting to match the original card as closely as possible, with my own style coming to the forefront.
Many of the vintage paintings include some of the same brushstrokes in spots, for example.
Very personal to me, is working on the 1953 Mickey Mantle card. The original artist for the set, Gerry Dvork, was a mentor and friend to me growing up.
I also love the contrasting mix of vintage and modern cards, and different challenges they present in this overall collection.
Some of the “Mona Lisa’s “ of the card-world are in this collection, and the most noteworthy is that I will never paint any card that size again in my career. This means that collectors will have the opportunity to own a very rare original piece of art.
Having the opportunity to work with Joe Drelich and ECSM has been an honor, and we are proud to be able to highlight the sports-art side of collecting on a fine art level.
Joe and I have known each other since I was in high school, and to have someone so well-respected in the hobby be so passionate about this project is very exciting to me.
I hope you enjoy the collection as it grows over the years, and I invite you to see it in person at a number of the many interesting stops the show will take.
Artist, James Fiorentino