Passion: Designing original card art, posters, logos, and other visual arts to celebrate the history of baseball
Background: Eric has been an artist since he was a kid, and a professional graphic designer for his entire career. He has rich memories of baseball with his dad, his son, and other family and friends. Recently, he has found new ways to blend the two passions of art and baseball into visual commemorations of significant moments in history.
Part of Eric’s draw to baseball in his artwork is the way that sports not only coexist with “real life,” but that they also can have an important impact on the culture of the day.
Eric began his current path of doing graphic design within the community of Negro League Baseball history by stepping out and saying “yes” to a request from a previously unknown contact on social media. This led him to being a part of a group of artists who raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Negro League Baseball Museum. Next, he worked on an original baseball card design in a contest for the Josh Gibson Foundation in their continued efforts to have the MLB MVP trophy renamed to honor Josh Gibson.
Eric continues to see opportunities to share his love for baseball, art, and educating the community about the significance of various figures in the history of the game. He is truly a student of the game and a constant developer of his craft.
“Starting when I was six or seven years old, we would get up to 18 to 20 kids together on the elementary school baseball field almost every night, and my dad was the all-time pitcher. My buddy’s dad was usually out there in the outfield. Kids would just come from all over. It was a great neighborhood for growing up. It’s where I learned to play baseball, it’s where I learned to love baseball.”
“I started collecting cards when I was probably 9 or 10 years old. It’s just fun. It’s got design, it’s got nostalgia, it’s got art… it all just meshes together everything that I like. I keep some cards around, and draw inspiration from them from time to time.”
“One of the things I remember with baseball cards as a kid was when we'd meet up with the other kids from along the street. We would get all of our baseball cards, throw them in a bag, and then everybody would just reach in and pick out their cards. Then, we would each make a line-up from our cards, and we would compare stats, and see who was the winner. We just beat the heck out of those cards. It was a blast, and that's what I remember about collecting baseball cards back in the day.”
“I can’t wait to get to the office everyday. There’s nothing I would rather be doing than art. This (combining baseball into graphic design) has reinvigorated me. I have fun doing it. Over the last couple years, I was busy doing a lot of other stuff, and then the economy went bad… and I really wasn't pushing to get new clients. I had clients either retiring or passing away, or companies taking things in-house. Business kind of dwindled down over that time, but I've kept some core clients. At this point, I’m trying to build the second half of my career.”
“I would always do one baseball piece that would go on a Christmas card, every year. That's really all the time I had to spend on baseball art. A lot of times I would have to push to find times to get it done, because I was so busy with regular stuff. But then, Covid hit and I was contacted (about this time last year) over Instagram. A guy out in Seattle messaged me and said, ‘Hey, it’s the 100 year anniversary of the Negro Leagues. I’m contacting all of the baseball artists I can find on Instagram. I’d like to start something, where artists do some pieces for the Negro Leagues and all the proceeds raised would go to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.’ I showed it to my wife and said I didn’t know if this guy was legit, but I’m just going to do it. So, he sends me his info, and I join in on the idea. After the first campaign in October 2020, they donated about $30,000 to the museum.”
“I also began doing a daily drawing of a baseball player for a “This Day in Baseball History” series of posts on social media. Each day, I set a timer for myself and just try to get it done in 10 to 15 minutes because I wanted something that I could post every day. And people really started to gravitate towards it, and expect it. It’s become my favorite part of my day, when I get to do my half hour drawing.”
“I do have some cool opportunities possibly coming my way, from the work I did for the Negro Leagues and the Josh Gibson stuff. I’ve just said ‘yes,’ a bunch of times, and the worst thing that happens is I get to work on a bunch of baseball stuff… which I was doing for free anyway!”
“There will be times where life gets in the way and you lose touch with some people for a while. The guy that was the Best Man in my wedding, and he’s probably still my best friend to this day... we haven’t talked a whole lot on a regular basis. Out of the blue, I sent him a card, in my designed box and packaging. He was like, ‘This is too cool to open, I’m going to put it on my shelf.’ It’s just neat to be able to do that to let him know I’m thinking of him."
“This whole thing I’ve gotten involved in.. it’s done good things for me too. I’ve always been kind of shy, I would have never gone on these podcasts and interviews that I’ve done. But now, I think they are a blast. I just go on there and get to be myself, and it’s fun. I find myself just talking and talking… that’s not typically me, but I have begun to enjoy everything about it. I’ve made a ton of friends through this… I could call up any one of those artists that I’ve done things with through social media. I respect their work, and they respect mine. It’s awesome to have these connections and friendships. The community is everywhere. Recently, I've been talking and working with people in California. It’s been a great experience.”