Pierick Smith is a Wisconsin native who lived for years in Chicago and now resides in Bloomington, Ind. So why does the 36-year old artist keep making Redskins paintings?
It all started with a two-dimensional piece he completed last winter, featuring Robert Griffin III sprinting around the Washington Monument.
“I picked RG3 for a few reasons when I started out,” Smith wrote in an e-mail. “One, I liked him as a player ever since he torched Illinois in [the 2010 Texas Bowl]. Two, it’s like the stock market in a way. I invested my time, at that time, in the athlete who I thought would be most well-received as a subject for an art piece. I picked correctly, I think. I mean, it was him or Tim Tebow at the time. I say that half-jokingly. Three, how can I say this? He has a certain athletic fluidity that I wanted to express. I suppose when Matisse saw ballet dancers, and was inspired to capture that, he may have been thinking the same way.”
Smith hastened to add that he was comparing Griffin to ballet dancers, and not comparing himself to Matisse. Although this allowed me to deploy my first-ever “Matisse” tag in the Bog. Next week, Cezanne. Insert your own jokes about the Caps’ blue-liners and still lifes.
Anyhow, Smith completed the Griffin piece. It gained traction among Redskins fans on social-media sites. And thus, even though he has no natural connection to this community, Smith picked up a D.C. fan base.
“I have a few other sports cities that seem to be interested in what I do in my basement: Seattle and Denver fans have been supportive,” he wrote. “But yes, I will always have an appreciation and respect for D.C. sports fans, as it pertains to their enthusiasm for their team and coincidentally, my art too.”
Smith — who largely works with acrylic paints and varnishes, foam board and wood — left his day job about two years ago to pursue art full-time.
“Just a regular guy who quit his soul-sucking job to do what he loves,” as he put it on his Web site. “This ‘job’ keeps me happy and I appreciate my investors to no end for allowing me to do it every day. My goal is to develop a relationship with you, as an investor, that enriches both our lives.”
Which brings us to the Redskins totem pole, a piece commissioned by a client in New York, featuring Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgensen, Joe Theismann and Griffin. The client picked the four quarterbacks; Smith then selected several photos of each player that he thought “favored their quintessential look(s).” Those images were amalgamated into the final project.
Smith had never done a totem-pole project before, and he put well over 60 hours into this piece, which allowed him to learn some new technical skills. He also likes the progression of time that you can see through the changing helmets and uniforms. The piece is about 26″ x 10″, and Smith posted the finished product online this week, which you can see above. Some of the earlier images are below.
Desk shot on this Redskin totem pole of quarterbacking…Still amazed that Theisman had a 1-bar facemask pic.twitter.com/sK1glrm3v9
— Paintin’ Manning (@PierickSmith) January 17, 2014
progress shot on the Redskins QB totem pole: pic.twitter.com/IpKz89i9cR
— Paintin’ Manning (@PierickSmith) January 18, 2014
Progress shot on the Redskin totem pole: pic.twitter.com/KEdvfPdusd
— Paintin’ Manning (@PierickSmith) January 19, 2014
Progress pic on the Redskin totem: pic.twitter.com/X3YJzvZOad
— Paintin’ Manning (@PierickSmith) January 20, 2014
Shot of the Redskin totem dismembered before assembling. pic.twitter.com/8znMEVslab
— Paintin’ Manning (@PierickSmith) January 22, 2014