Five Questions with Kevin-John, Resident Sports Artist
Kevin-John Jobczynski is an artist specializing in celebrity sports portraiture. He works with the biggest athletes and teams in professional sports, including Curtis Granderson, Joe Haden, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens, Andrew McCutchen, Smokin’ Joe Frazier and the Roberto Clemente Foundation. His art has been showcased at the Super Bowl and other major sports events throughout the country as well as on ESPN, NBC, Spike TV, Versus, the Golf Channel and the PGA Tour. He is also the official artist for Leaf Trading Cards and Beckett Media / Beckett Sports Publications.
We first met Kevin-John when we were in Pittsburgh for the 40th anniversary of the Pirates 1971 World Championship, where we interviewed many of Dock's living teammates from that group. The Willie Stargell Foundation was having their annual fundraiser at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh during that reunion. Kevin-John had set up at the front of a large room in front of a blank canvas. As the party progressed, a crowd grew around him as his painting of Willie Stargell "in action" progressed. We talked with him over the course of the evening, and he loved the Dockumentary. We thought his style and skill would be an amazing add for us, and we are thrilled that he has committed to join the team as an illustrator for the film.
The concept sketches, portraits and animation studies Kevin-John is creating for the film are AVAILABLE AS REWARDS AT THE $500 LEVEL AND ABOVE. Check it out!
How long have you been drawing sports figures for a living? What cool projects are you working on right now?
I’ve been a professional artist since 1987, with a concentration on delivering action portraits exclusively for pro athletes, their teams, and sports-related entities since the mid 90’s. The focus on providing this product to my clientele was a gradual occurrence. It began with a few pro football players requesting me to create portraits for them. From there I decided that there was a significant need for this product in a very specific market. There are many artists out there that draw or paint sports figures because they are fans, they like sports, or they feel they can sell their work directly to the fans. I wanted to take a different approach and not pirate player images or team logos. That is why I only work within proper license.
The sketch card projects for Leaf Trading Cards and Beckett are very interesting in this respect: each 2x3 inch card is a hand drawn original work of art, not a reproduction. It allows every collector access to my original art that ordinarily would be out of the budget for most. It also allows me the ability to explore subjects other than sports figures by creating images of celebrities and other figures in pop culture and history. From what I understand my sketch cards are among the industry’s most sought after products.
You have drawn and painted some of the biggest stars in pro sports. Who have been some of your favorites to work with?
I always say that my favorite client is the one that I am currently working with, but seriously - Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Jerome Bettis, Joe Haden, and Curtis Granderson are on the top of that list. Pittsburgh Pirates’ Chuck Tanner was one of the kindest most honorable men that I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Cutch (Andrew McCutchen) and (Neil) Walker are really good guys, good for the Pittsburgh community, and two of the brightest stars in baseball. I really enjoyed capturing their images on paper.
What draws you to the Dockumentary? What about Dock Ellis, and this project, inspires you as an artist?
The thing that I love the most about this project is that I will be able to explore my creativity and speak visually in so many different ways than with my other projects. Dock was such an incredibly colorful character that I look forward to interpreting all those different shades of color. The stories that I will be responsible for bringing to life are some of the most outlandish that I have ever heard from the world of sports. These portraits created exclusively for this film will be my best work to date and will push my creative power to places it has never been. I hope that the viewing audience truly enjoys them.
Talk about drawing Dock's face and features. What do you see in your study of his face, and his many hairstyles?
As I comb through the many photos of Dock that I am using as reference, I notice that his look and style constantly changes. As an artist that will be creating many different images of Dock for this film, it’s going to be very important to find some consistency. For me, I think that I am going to focus on his eyes. Although his hair changes, his clothing changes, and his body changes throughout his career, his sleepy yet intense eyes remain the same.
How are modern sports stars different from those you remember from the 70s Pirates - Dock, Clemente, Stargell, and Dave Parker?
With the ever-present media microscope, today’s athletes can never live the life - on or off the field - that guys of Dock’s era did. The scrutiny by the fans is too intense. It was a different world, different money was made, the relationship between the fans and the athletes was different, and the relationship between the teams and the athletes was different. I am not sure that you can compare the two eras fairly.
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A "Dock Ellis Has a Posse" sticker, in black and white. An original postcard for the film. A pair of vintage 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates color stickers.Estimated delivery:
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THE POSSE -- Digital download of the film, after we have digital distribution in place (2013 or later). Limited edition, silk screened June 12, 1970 - June 12, 2010 event POSTER featuring the art of Lil Tuffy and designed & hand printed by Billy Bishop. Special Name RECOGNITION on the Dockumentary webpage as a funder. "Dock Ellis Has a Posse" sticker and a postcard for the film.Estimated delivery:
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POSSE PLUS -- Digital download of the film, after we have digital distribution in place (2013 or later). Limited edition, silk screened June 12, 1970 - June 12, 2010 event POSTER featuring the art of Lil Tuffy and designed & hand printed by Billy Bishop. Special Name RECOGNITION on the Dockumentary webpage as a funder. "Dock Ellis Has a Posse" sticker, pair of vintage 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates color stickers, and a postcard for the film.Estimated delivery:
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ALL BENEFITS OF THE POSSE, PLUS: 1978 Dock Ellis (Rangers) Topps baseball card. Vintage 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates cloth patch. ACCESS to a private mailing list with notification of special events in Austin and around the country as the film is completed and shown.Estimated delivery:
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DOCK ELLIS ZOMBIE HUNTER -- "I had to go ... We were in a jeep. We got to a certain area. I saw these people walking - four of them, ZOMBIES." (Hall, _Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball_ p.135) One color, hand-drawn, original 4x6 sketch card signed by Kevin-John ~ from an illustrated series inspired by Dock Ellis, Manny Sanguillen, Manny Mota, Tito Fuentes and Rico Carty. ALSO includes ALL BENEFITS OF THE POSSE & private mailing list.Estimated delivery:
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ALL BENEFITS OF THE POSSE, PLUS: Hand-drawn CONCEPT SKETCH by Kevin-John, celebrity sports artist and illustrator for the film. http://www.kevin-john.com. "Additional Funding By" end CREDIT (two column) in all versions of the film, theatrical and digital. 1978 Dock Ellis (Rangers) Topps baseball card. ACCESS to a private mailing list with notification of special events.Estimated delivery:
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Hand-painted FINISHED SKETCH by Kevin-John, celebrity sports artist and illustrator for the film. PERSONAL invitation to EXCLUSIVE, behind the scenes events and dinners during the post-production and festival run of the film. "Additional Funding By" end CREDIT (topmost, single column) in all versions of the film, theatrical and digital. ANY or ALL perks available at lower reward levels.Estimated delivery:
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ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Optional opening credit in all versions of the film as an Associate Producer and in the film's IMDB entry. Two SEATS to any (and all) public (and private) screenings of the film, if arranged in advance (travel not included). ACCESS to the Producers and the Director, even if you ever just want to call and chat about Dock. Limited Edition, signed and numbered, framed canvas giclee featuring a full color portrait of Dock Ellis by Celebrity Sports Artist Kevin-John. One item of memorabilia SIGNED by Dock Ellis from the filmmaker's collection (choices vary based on availability). PERSONAL invitation to EXCLUSIVE, behind the scenes events and dinners during the post-production and screening run of the film. ANY or ALL perks available at lower reward levels.Estimated delivery:
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