Friday, March 23, 2012

Bases Loaded Series by Brian Lindstrom

I can't even remember how I stumbled across Brian's work, but I am sure glad that I did. As a painter and graphic designer who loves baseball, I am especially fascinated by those who combine their love of baseball with the other facets of their lives. When I am lucky enough to find one of these talented fans, I will feature their work on my blog and tell you a little bit more about them.  

This work attracts me for reasons beyond it's subject matter. I LOVE typography, and hand lettering is one of the skills I do not really possess. While this is clearly art, it is quintessential graphic design in that it conveys a lot of information in an aesthetically pleasing way. I feel like there is a romance and humor about these pieces that is attractive - I can't really say enough about how much I love this work.  I would love to own an original. Or have him do one of Bob Uecker!

From Brian's website:

"The Bases Loaded Series is an exploration of conceptual graphic design and storytelling using American Baseball as the vehicle. The concepts are driven home with the relationship of text and image, and the process is 100% hand-done. The work in this series tackles issues that have been pivotal to the game of baseball and reflective of our American society.The game of baseball is intertwined in the fabric of the United States of America. The players are household names and the sights, smells, and sounds conjure up memories of our past. These players, events, and emotions, which have contributed to baseball as our National Pastime, are the inspiration for and the subject of, the Bases Loaded Series. All banners measure 26″x40″ and are screen printed onto wool felt with a 1″ felt border.

Currently the Bases Loaded Series is being exhibited at the Big Ten Conference headquarters in Chicago, IL. It will be a solo exhibit at the national Sports & Society Conference in May, 2012 where Bud Selig will be the keynote speaker.

PLEASE make sure you click on the images to view them larger, in order to enjoy all of the detail and nuance.  Also make sure you visit his website to see the rest of the series, as this is only around half of them:  Also if you are in the Madison area, make sure to pick up the April edition of Street Pulse, Madison's Homeless Cooperative Newspaper. Some prints from the Bases Loaded series are featured in the Hearts & Minds section!

Brian runs Newbaric Design Shop and had done impressive graphic design for a wide variety of high level clients. ( - follow him and his company on twitter: @BrianLindstrom_ and @Newbaric respectively.  Brian was kind enough to spare some time answering some questions for me.



I’d like to get a better idea of your relationship to baseball -  what’s your team, how many games do you watch, attend in person, favorite player and why?
"Chicago Cubs - I watch a handful in their entirety on TV, but for me baseball is about being at the ballpark. I keep up with the scores and updates about the Cubs everyday during the season and usually follow their games on ESPN’s scoreboard…I go to a handful of games each year. Most all at Wrigley, a few when they travel to Miller Park in Milwaukee (Wrigley North J).
Favorite player would have to be Ryne Sandberg or Greg Maddux. I was an 80’s kid and grew up watching Ryno, Grace, Dawson, Dunston, & Greg Maddux.
 Ryno you have to love. The guy went about his business in a non-flashy way and was one of the best natural hitters of his time. A lot of these guys like Ryno and Ken Griffey Jr. have to garner a lot more respect since they played in the steroid era, and accomplished what they did without steroids.
 Greg Maddux is simply one of the greatest pitchers of all time. I would always try and go to the games he pitched, even when he didn’t play for the cubs (I lived in California for the last 18 years so he made appearances with the Dodgers and Padres) He dissects the batter with precision, not power.

 I used to go to spring training in Mesa, AZ and got meet all those guys when I was a kid. That kind of thing sticks with you your entire life. In modern baseball I have no loyalty or love for individual players. I like having certain players on my team because they contribute, but there isn’t any emotional attachment. I am a die-hard Cubs and Chicago fan in general. Who is on the team, and who the manager is doesn’t phase me. I guess growing up in Chicago in the 80s and 90s spoiled me with characters like Ditka, Walter Payton, Jordan, Phil Jackson, Don Zimmer, Ryne Sandberg etc. It was a different time when players and organizations had loyalty to each other. It made the emotional attachment as a fan that much greater.

 Now it’s a merry-go-round and there isn’t anytime to become attached. Look at the Pujols and Fielders of today, there is no reason they should not be with their teams until they retire. For what? 
 I always have love for Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. They were my dad’s childhood heroes and I’ve have been fortunate to meet them both. They define class and they both had an unwavering love for all things baseball and Cubs. They are true role models as humans and athletes. They talk to their fans and treat them like fellow humans."
How do you feel about the recent changes in their organization? (Dale Sveum as new skipper, Theo Epstein) What should they do about the goat?  Not part of the interview - I think they should get the cutest pygmy goat they can find, preferably one that was born with a ‘C’ on the side in it’s fur.  Put the goat on the roster, name it after the historic goat.  This includes a full goat-tailored major league uniform (home and away, all versions) with a hat.  The goat will live in the home outfield.  The goat is in play but must be avoided.  If the goat picks up the ball it is a live ball.  If the goat eats the ball in its entirety it is a home run.  The goat does not bat.

"I LOVE the changes to the organization. For the first time in recent memory I am excited for baseball season to start with great expectations. Not just to win, because it might now happen right away, but to be able to watch passionate players that look like they care. The last three managers Baker, Lou and Quade didn’t have any discipline over their players. As great as Castro was this year, he looked like a kid that was bored. I just want to watch professional athletes play like they are getting paid millions. 
 Theo gives us great optimism. 
 Sveum is a Brewer, so I’m skeptical. Not that he was a Brewer, but that he is relatively unproven. Being a hitting coach is different than being manager. I trust Theo knows what he is doing, and that’s good enough for me, for now… 
 As for the goat, I hope these first few seasons go so well that we don’t even have to talk about the goat anymore. No more goats, no more excuses.
 Although seeing the goat make the line-up could be fun J "

Why baseball? How did you decide on baseball as a subject?
"I was looking for a subject that provided a lot of history and subject matter. Basesball is intertwined in the fabric of America, even if you’re not a fan. I felt my audience could relate and find the subject matter interesting, even if they don’t care or follow baseball.
 I love baseball and respect it has an American tradition and as a sport. Football is my favorite sport, but it does not have the same storyline or history that baseball has, even though it’s been around almost as long…"

Did your professors approve of baseball as an artistic subject?
"Yup, they were all for it and very supportive. They encouraged it and were all looking at it from a different angle."

Did you ever feel like baseball wasn’t appropriate subject matter? (We spent a lot of time discussing high art vs. low art, fine art vs. kitsch )
"I have the benefit of categorizing myself as a graphic designer, not an artist, so I don’t have to deal with that critique. I like baseball, I wanted to explore baseball and bring it to life, so I did. If critiques have an opinion, then they should make the art they want to see, not tell someone else if their art is worthy of being created."

I see that you are selling small prints. Since these are screenprints, why not full size reprints? (you have the screens, right?)  Do you take commissions? I’d love to see ‘a history of the Milwaukee Brewers’ or something about Bob Uecker, or Bud selig. Or one about baseball superstitions!
"I have a few duplicates of the artwork, but they are being shown at different shows right now and not for sale. I started doing a few on paper to also sell, but the felt banners soaked up so much ink that time, supplies and money were a factor. I have the screens, but I wash out every stencil after I print, so I would have to coat, burn and print each one again. Happy to do a one off if someone requested it for the right price J"

How do you feel about the expansion of the wild card?  About replay and expansion of?
"I don’t mind the expansion of the wildcard. The playoffs are the fun part of the LONG baseball season anyways, so more games that matter are always good.
 Replay is necessary. For a game to be decided on a wrong call is inexcusable. I think it should be used for every pitch. Let the ump call strikes and balls etc. But for tagged outs, fly balls that weren’t really caught etc we need replay. Do we think these umps have Superman vision? No questions asked, replay has to be used."

How do you feel about Ryan Braun? (guilty or innocent?) About PED’s in general?
"Don’t care about Braun. Only he knows, and I hope he is OK with his decision and ready to pay for his decisions (or not).

 PED’s in general are cheating. All that have been found to use them illegally should be banned from the record books and the sport. If any other American citizen cheats at their jobs and break the rules to get ahead, they are fired. Why do we hold athletes to a different standard?"

Future shows?
"I am in the Big Ten Show right now in Chicago and will be in the Sports and Society Conference show up in Green Bay in May (Bud Selig and an ESPN exec are the keynote speakers, so I’m looking forward to that!)"

Future plans?
"Revamping my website to start working again and finishing up my MFA this Summer."
Anything else you’d like to add?
"Thank you, I appreciate the interest and the response to this exhibit. It’s been very rewarding and educational. Go Cubs!"

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for doing this for me! - Shelly