Sample of Portraits in the Paint / 28 Sample Pages
Portraits in the Paint is a 75-Page book illustrated by Joel Kimmel. This stunning book contains 31 full-color portraits of NBA basketball players with a detailed description of each piece and how it came to be. Portraits in the Paint is available for purchase as a Limited Edition book, signed and numbered by the artist and includes a signed Limited Edition print of a painting from the book. This book has been received praise from publications such as SLAM Magazine and DT Magazine, Italy.
KOBE BRYANT / MAMBA DIPTYCH Ink, watercolor and gouache, 12” x 9” portraits BY JOEL KIMMEL IN THE PAINT WWW.JOELKIMMEL.COM PAINTINGS ON THE DRAWING BOARD Clockwise from top left: Rasheed Wallace, Paul Pierce, Amaré Stoudemire, Baron Davis Text and artwork copyright © Joel Kimmel, 2008. Any NBA team logos or jerseys are copyright © their respective owners. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from Joel Kimmel (more or less the same message you hear between the third and fourth quarters of an NBA game). To view Joel’s portfolio, visit www.joelkimmel.com TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword by Graydon Gordian ....................4 Introduction .................................7 THE PORTRAITS Dwyane Wade ..............................8 Chris Bosh .................................40 Brandon Roy .............................10 Luol Deng .................................12 Amaré Stoudemire ....................14 Charles Barkley .........................16 Julius Erving .............................18 Allen Iverson .............................20 Carlos Boozer ............................22 Al Jefferson ...............................24 Carmelo Anthony ......................26 Baron Davis ..............................28 Candace Parker .........................30 Richard Jefferson ......................32 LeBron James ............................34 Dirk Nowitzki ............................36 Tracy McGrady .........................38 About the Artist .........................70 Acknowledgements ...................71 Pau Gasol ...................................42 Chris Paul ..................................44 Yao Ming ...................................46 Kevin Martin .............................48 Jermaine O’Neal ........................50 Tim Duncan ...............................52 Josh Smith .................................54 Rudy Gay ...................................56 Kobe Bryant ..............................58 Stephon Marbury .......................60 Caron Butler ..............................62 Ron Artest ..................................64 Paul Pierce .................................66 Rasheed Wallace ........................68 FOREWORD BY GRAYDON GORDIAN All the world’s a stage And the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts -As You Like It, William Shakespeare It is quite easy to think of the game of basketball as a narrow pursuit: a fundamentally pointless athletic event with arbitrarily defined rules, occurring in an arbitrarily defined space, etc… Society grants it a particular significance, but the idea of rivalries and grudge matches, or sometimes even the communal association fans feel with their team may strike the casual observer as artificially applied narratives rather than organically arising relationships. The capacity for the game to embody anything beyond merely being an example of inherent human competitiveness seems a difficult notion for some to swallow. It is exactly this limited conception of basketball that the artwork of Joel Kimmel undermines. Set among boardwalks of Coney Island, the deserts of Arizona, and the junkyard swamps of New Jersey, Kimmel’s artwork takes the personalities that inhabit the National Basketball Association and puts them in their rightful place: As symbols of a greater cultural and aesthetic importance than many wish to grant the game. His drawings and paintings do not allow the players to exist in the vacuum of the court. Instead they are often portrayed in other, more common settings, but still in uniform. This image, of a player standing in his jersey in a setting far from the bright lights and glistening hardwood of an NBA arena, allows us to begin considering basketball players for what they truly are: dynamic individuals whose off court personalities affect their style of play and vice versa. To see the game of basketball as arbitrary is to miss the beauty of drama unfolding spontaneously before your eyes. Each game unfolds in four acts, but unlike a piece of 4 theatre, the script has yet to be written. There is no archetypal tale off of which events will unfold, no mythological story that an author can appeal to: each game is the collective work of dozens of craftsmen trying desperately to force their own version of the story to the surface. What the artwork of Joel Kimmel so aptly captures is the inability to leave that drama on the court. Many people play the game of basketball casually: at recreational centers and concrete courts across the country, men and women are able to give their all while still casually walking away, win or lose. But for the athletes of the NBA, it is clearly not as easy to leave it all out there. For the players, basketball is their passion, their vocation, some might even say their artistic medium. Kimmel’s work reflects the inability of professional athletes to separate these two spheres: The triumph and tragedy ascribed to their play chases them home. But Kimmel’s art goes a step further. Rather than just place the men (and women) of professional basketball in their appropriate contemporary cultural context, it places them in their appropriate historical cultural context as well. In his work you can find traces of communist propaganda, medieval religious paintings, and American comic books, all used as lenses through which we can better understand NBA players as humans mired in the push and pull of history, rather than merely seeing them as phantasmagorical figures that haunt our television screens. I am honored that Joel has asked me to write the foreword to his book. No other cultural phenomenon as prevalent as sports goes so unconsidered by serious artists and intellectuals. Because he approaches sports not as a flat form of entertainment but instead as a stage on which flesh and blood humans act out their lives, I find him to be an intellectual colleague, although we work in different mediums. My hope is that with this book, the valuable work that he is doing in the field of illustration will increasingly receive the recognition it deserves. Graydon Gordian is a writer living in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of 48 Minutes of Hell and a contributing writer for Hardwood Paroxysm. You can read his work at 48minutesofhell.com. DWYANE WADE Born: January 17, 1982 Height: 6’4” Weight: 216 lbs School: Marquette Drafted: 2003 I ’VE ALWAYS BEEN A FAN OF THE FLASH comic book character. I dressed as the Flash for Hallowe’en when I was 10 years old, and then again when I was 17, 20 and probably at least one other time after that. My mom made me a great costume with a mask made out of a bright red tuque (that’s French for winter hat) and an awesome lightning bolt symbol patch hand-sewn onto a tight, red turtleneck. I had a lightning bolt belt and yellow knee-high socks covering my shoes. Early in his career Wade was given the nickname ‘Flash’ by his teammate Shaquille O’Neal. I couldn’t resist working that into my illustration of Dwyane. For this homage to a Flash comic book I studied a lot of old Flash covers and decided to use a classic running pose with some speed lines. The Miami skyline can be seen on the horizon with a few seagulls flying about to give it more of a Miami feel. Wade wears number 3 so I snuck that into the illustration in a few different places and gave him an altered Miami Heat jersey as his ‘costume.’ Ink, watercolor and digital, 10” x 14” 8 BRANDON ROY Born: July 23, 1984 Height: 6’6” Weight: 229 lbs School: Washington Drafted: 2006 DURING A PERIOD SPANNING from the late 1990’s through 2006, the Portland Trail Blazers employed players who were associated with crimes such as impaired driving, drug use and assault. Some players were hottempered and insubordinate and many of the fans turned on their team. Popular players were traded while the team loaded up on troubled stars unable to find any team chemistry. In the next few years, on-court and offcourt issues with the players got so bad that the team was nicknamed the Jail Blazers. Finally, in the 2007-2008 season the Blazers had a resurgence with the solid play of second year player, Brandon Roy. Portland is known as the City of Roses, and the rebirth of the Blazers is portrayed by the broken and wilted roses at the bottom of the piece (representing the past few seasons) with the roses then blooming into a fresh, surging bunch surrounding Brandon Roy as the centerpiece of the up-and-coming team. Ink, watercolor and pencil crayon, 10” x 14” 10 JULIUS ERVING Born: February 22, 1950 Height: 6’7” Weight: 200 lbs School: Massachusetts Drafted: 1971 D R.J PLAYED IN BOTH THE ABA AND THE NBA for the Virginia Squires, New York Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers (his career spanned from 1971-1987). He won two ABA Championships with the New York Nets and one NBA Championship with the Sixers in 1983. He was a prolific scorer and helped bring the game above the rim. He was an incredible dunker with long, sweeping arms. His dunks were acrobatic and graceful, and he finished at the rim with his classic tomahawk jams. Dr. J could really, really dunk. He leaped over defenders and glided through them towards the hoop, his arm extended. He would cradle the ball and rock it to sleep, back and forth, before unleashing a powerful windmill slam, all while in the air, floating towards the hoop to finish the play with a snap of the wrist, flushing the ball through the rim over hapless opponents. Ink and watercolor, 10” x 14” 18 CANDACE PARKER Born: April 19, 1986 Height: 6’4” Weight: 175 lbs School: Tennessee Drafted: 2008 I PAINTED THIS PORTRAIT of Candace Parker because I was intrigued by her game and the interest she had brought to the WNBA. I had never been to a WNBA game before or even seen a full game on television before I decided to attend a game between the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks, the team that picked Parker with the number one pick in the 2008 Draft. While Parker didn’t put up impressive numbers in that game I found the contest extremely entertaining. The crowd was into the game from before the tip-off, ecstatically cheering the players when they were introduced and giving Parker the largest welcome of all. The WNBA gets a bad rap for supposedly boring games with unexciting players, a slow pace and sloppy play (amongst other criticisms). If the game I saw at Madison Square Garden says anything about the league, it’s anything but those things. I’ve watched a few games on TV since then and have come away impressed. I think the league can only get better. With more and more players like Parker in the WNBA more people are going to take notice. It’s a different game than the NBA and it’s on its way to developing its own identity and a larger fan base. The NBA didn’t truly blossom until after many years of small crowds and limited interest, so with time the WNBA will flourish. Ink, watercolor and gouache, 9.5” x 14” 30 LEBRON JAMES Born: December 30, 1984 Height: 6’8” Weight: 250 lbs School: Lincoln High School Drafted: 2003 EVEN IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW BASKETBALL it’s likely you’ve heard of LeBron. He’s a household name by now and has been for a while. He was on the cover of SLAM magazine and Sports Illustrated before he was a senior in high school. There was a lot of hype, shoe companies clamoring for his feet and a few controversies. Now, five years since he entered the NBA, LeBron has lived up to the hype as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whenever I mention LeBron James to someone who doesn’t follow basketball I usually get a response like, “Oh yeah, that guy, is he actually any good?” He actually is! And he’s actually really good. In Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals LeBron scored an incredible 29 of his team’s final 30 points in an important double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons. At the same time, the streets of Ottawa flooded with excited NHL hockey fans celebrating their Senators winning a Stanley Cup Finals game. I stood on my balcony and watched the pandemonium. People waved their flags and I listened to their cheers. Cars honked their horns and I looked out on the city and imagined they were basketball fans, applauding the amazing performance by LeBron James that occurred just moments earlier. Ink, watercolor and gouache, 15” x 22” 34 PAU GASOL Born: October 13, 1977 Height: 6’9” Weight: 235 lbs School: Kansas Drafted: 1998 PAU GASOL BEGAN HIS SIXTH SEASON in the NBA as a member of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. During the season, however, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, making his new team an immediate favorite for the NBA championship. Born in Barcelona, Spain, Pau also plays basketball for the Spanish National team. I decided to draw this portrait of Pau as a comic book page. His first name works well as a sound effect often found on the pages of comic books, so I included Pau’s name along with Bam! Crash! and Zap! I finished this piece on some special comic book paper called Blue Line Pro. When I was younger and really into comic books I would buy packages of this paper wherever I could find it. It was always really difficult to find and I treasured the collection I had accumulated. Unfortunately, I was always too nervous as a kid to use it. I was afraid of messing up the small stack of it that I had, so I just never used it. This is one of the first drawings I’ve ever done on the paper. It is a nice, smooth, bright white Bristol paper that takes ink especially well. Ink, 11” x 17” 42 TIM DUNCAN Born: April 25, 1976 Height: 6’11” Weight: 260 lbs School: Wake Forest Drafted: 1997 THIS IS TIM DUNCAN, also affectionately referred to as the Tim Duncan Robot. A stoic man of rare outbursts of expression, a game as fundamental as James Naismith intended, with the athleticism and basketball mechanics resembling those of a robot. Behold the half man, half robot known as Tim Duncan. Designing Duncan as a robot involved getting those mechanical shoulders just the right width and trying to imagine how all the parts would move and work. I wanted to try to design the robot Duncan to be built like he moves on the court. I gave him a simple swivel waist, long arms perfect for bank shots and used a cold, simple metal with a flat finish to reduce flashy play and encourage a polished game. Duncan’s robotic shoes are specially fitted with spurs that are useful in backing down defenders. They are also designed to be wind turbines, storing energy in Duncan’s robotic reserve tanks for late game heroics. Ink, watercolor and gouache, 15” x 19” 52 STEPHON MARBURY Born: February 20, 1977 Height: 6’2” Weight: 205 lbs School: Georgia Tech Drafted: 1996 STEPHON MARBURY (nicknamed Starbury) was one of my favorite players in the league not too long ago. I got to see him play once in person while he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves early in his career. A fast and physical point guard, Marbury had flashy moves that made him a fun player to watch. Since starting his career with the Timberwolves he has been shipped around to a few different teams, finally ending up in New York in 2004. Marbury is originally from Coney Island, so it was a homecoming for him and it was what he had always wished for, to play for his hometown team. The Knicks have struggled for a few years and more recently things have really turned sour. Marbury has feuded with coaches, he hasn’t played very well, and his playing time has decreased dramatically with his inconsistent play and nagging injuries. I decided to portray him in Coney Island in an old sideshow-style poster. The poster advertises Starbury as Coney Island’s finest (he has a tattoo stating the same), but the boardwalk is completely empty, and maybe the curtain is closing – as if the once popular attraction is shutting down. Ink and watercolor, 10” x 14” 60 CARON BUTLER Born: March 13, 1980 Height: 6’7” Weight: 228 lbs School: Connecticut Drafted: 2002 C ARON BUTLER OF THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. He had a difficult childhood and started selling drugs at the age of 11. By the time he was 17 he had been arrested numerous times and had spent 9 months in jail on drug and weapons charges. The view through the tiny window in his cell was a basketball court, seen between the steel bars. With that view and a goal in mind, he started to believe that basketball was his way out of trouble. He recalls his grandmother sending him Bible verses while he was in jail, one of the most memorable being 1 Corinthians 13:11 that read: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Basketball became Caron Butler’s salvation and that is what I wanted to portray the most in this illustration. This piece was influenced by medieval religious paintings. With a basketball halo around him, Caron is being protected from the dangers and temptations he grew up around in Racine. Caron used basketball as his way out and attended the University of Connecticut. In 2002 he was a lottery pick in the NBA. Ink, watercolor and digital, 10” x 10” 62 RASHEED WALLACE Born: September 17, 1974 Height: 6’11.5” Weight: 230 lbs School: North Carolina Drafted: 1995 RASHEED WALLACE, a 6’11.5” forward, has an aptitude for picking up technical fouls and his outspokenness helps him lead the league in memorable post-game interviews. In the last 8 seasons Rasheed Wallace has led the league in technical fouls 6 times, and made the top three 7 times. Since the 2000-2001 season, he has 173 technical fouls! Because of his association with the technical foul, I wanted to show Rasheed with the NBA’s official rules regarding technical fouls in the background. I designed it as if it was an actual page out of the rule book, with Rasheed’s picture shown to display a prime example. I also drew in a couple illustrations showing how to properly assess a technical foul, something Rasheed has seen too often in his career. In my basketball career I only picked up one technical foul. It came after I was hammered driving the lane for a layup and I asked the referee, so politely, “Mr. Referee, what constitutes a foul these days?” Maybe that isn’t exactly what I said, but I felt pretty bad about getting a technical foul. My dad, as my coach, probably led our league in technical fouls. Like Rasheed, he probably didn’t deserve half of them, but the refs were trying to set an example. Ink, watercolor and photocopy transfer, 9.5” x 12.5” 68 WWW.JOELKIMMEL.COM