As long as baseball has been around, it has been a source of creativity for all kinds of art. It's always great to see all kinds of links passed around pointing out cool drawings, paintings and other types of media and designs on display. While there has never been any shortage of this kind of creative work, larger outlets like the mlb.com shops and other large sports fan shop chains lack a lot of these things. That's not necessarily a cut at any of these places. Rather, it's that they don't specialize in art, and, often times, customers will be looking at mass-produced posters, or photos of sports venues on wooden plaques with some sort of etching on a gold plate at the bottom. These kinds of things are great for sports-themed bars and restaurants, or stuff that my dad has on the walls...But, generally, the businesses that cater to sports fans aren't places one would go to in order to find cool artwork. Luckily, It would appear that this is about to change, as far as MLB is concerned...
Recently, I've learned that MLB has officially teamed up with a company called RareInk, that happens to specialize in art and, only art!
A statement, via the company:
Based in Carlsbad, California, RareInk’s mission is re-invent sports art by creating an extraordinary and accessible collection of art for fans. RareInk is an official art partner of the NBA and MLB.
“RareInk is reinventing sports wall décor by offering an enormous collection of cutting-edge art in styles typically not seen by fans,” said Tim Muret, CEO of RareInk. “Today’s fan is looking for something uniquely artistic for their walls to capture their passion for baseball and RareInk delivers the game like it has never been seen before.”
Looking at the site, there are already some really neat items up. Each team has its own area where drawings, photos and photo art in various formats. Paper prints, canvases, and, even metal, in some cases! Although this is a Brewers blog, I'm generally not shy about my love for Wrigley Field. Judging from the image in this particular piece, it would look great as a metal print....for Cubs fans, I mean. And, as is the case with all of the art and photography, one has the convenient. option of having the work framed.
Each team has a special design representing its stadium, all of them done by UK artist, Marcus Reed. Here's Miller Park (you'll want to visit these links to see the full-sized images) along with another example work of Dodger Stadium - both are cool minimalist designs. Apart from Reed, I've noticed the artists are from all over the world are represented on here, and it's neat to see the different perspectives.
A basic paper print of 18 x 24 of this drawing ($99) gives you an option to buy
a frame ($90) - The $189 total cost * seems to be very reasonable, given the size of the image. In addition, getting it
framed may even cost a bit more, so it could be much easier to pick the frame option, I think. This custom black frame that comes with the paper print looks like a nice one (and, 100% recycled material! If you're like me, and you get excited about things like this…you're probably excited!) Here are the details, right here (as listed on the site's product description)
• 2-inch modern, black composite molding (100% recycled material)
• 2-inch acid-free white matting with 1/8th-inch UV protection acrylic
• Finished with black dustcover and pre-mounted hanging wire, ready for your wall
(*) I should mention a paper print + frame for the Yount/Molitor drawing pictured above the stadiums goes for the same price. In addition, if you explore the RareInk site, it appears that most of the artwork fits under the same pricing structure, with the exception being some of the photo art. Also, I'd like to add that this Ozzie Smith piece by Japanese street artist Dragon76 is really cool. If you read publications like The Classical, where work by emerging artists is prominently featured, the picture of the Wizard reminds me a lot of what I see when I read pieces from that online publication.
To put the pricing into perspective, here's a really neat 12x12 Ballpark Map Design from City Prints which also fits along these lines, including the minimalist stylings you see in Reed's stadium work - this is an example to show what the cost of getting a somewhat similarly-styled print framed on your own. This stadium art is $49. To add a frame, the total price might be closer to $90. Considering the dimensions of the RareInk stadium are much larger, the price isn't over-the-top by any means. It would be like buying a couple hobby boxes of Topps Heritage...which might seem like an odd comparison, but I've personally bought a couple of these boxes, mostly because I like the design. Some of the pieces on the site featuring individual players would be like getting a very large, beautifully-designed baseball card,..
Back to the Marcus Reed Stadium art - For a canvas version of Reed's stadium designs (and the same for each team), it's an extra $50 + $100 for the frame. So, $250 for a high-quality 18 x 24 framed canvas also seems quite reasonable.
Really, for a person who really wants some unique artwork to put up proudly on their walls or buy a nice gift, and something you've discovered, I think it's worth it to spend up to a couple hundred dollars to have something sent to you, all framed.
Oh, and, speaking of having the items sent, RareInk is offering free shipping through (8/15) for its MLB Launch Event.
I think it's a great thing, to have MLB-themed artwork, and hope the company will continue to add a diverse array of drawn artwork and photo art. It's not just a great thing for consumers - it's a great thing for free-lance artists to gain exposure and receive compensation, as well. This is something I believe will be incredibly welcome and well-received.
Special thanks go out to Tim Muret of RareInk, for permission to include the art product photos for this piece. Thank you, Tim.
Rickey Henderson -Grzegorz Domaradzki