I'm a Cleveland Indians fan from so far back that Lou Boudreau kissed me during a victory pennant parade. (Of course I experienced this kiss while trapped in the confines of a stroller, but my mom swooned so I figured it was a good thing.)
Today, high profile debates about Chief Wahoo's political correctness have opened the floodgates to satire. No matter which side of the debate you come down on, you have to agree that our beleaguered sports icon has taken a beating.
Here he is, ready to fight the next round. Could 2015 be a pennant year?
Press: Belt Magazine - The secret history of Chief Wahoo.
News in February 2017:
The Chief - Still Fighting
is being published in
The Cleveland Art Book, a compendium of local notables compiled by Scott Kraynak. It's release in July of 2018 will co-incide with the citywide FRONT art triennial festival. You can view the work at the book release party and exhibit to be held at E11even2 Gallery. More as the story develops.
The Chief's Look
I scouted around for images. Though the nose is a bit too long, the expression of the original Indians' icon (left) is my favorite. His eyes are friendlier and more direct than the out-of-the-corner glare of the modern model. Skin tone is an issue in both versions for me: one is yellow enough to look Oriental; the other is an unnatural red.
My Chief will be influenced by elements from both icons and I'll add riffs of my own. At least some of you will be reminded of my dad when you see The Chief's nose. :)
If you like to see your team icon satirized, I'd be delighted to create something just for you.
A.) Skin color undercoat. It's been a real challenge to imitate American Indian skin color. I'll admit that a first attempt, not shown, was too brown: looked like a face from the American Negro League or maybe too sun parched like George Hamilton. Faced with these difficulties, I'm suddenly a whole lot less critical about the skin tones of the icons on the left. I'm going to wash over this copper basecoat to cool the color temperature down a bit.
B.) What's not to love about that face? The skin color is quieter. The eye is blackened and the uniform blocked in, and oh boy, do I ever love his cheesy smile.
C.) A wider shot. Lots left to paint.
D.) Statuette mounted on bases. Brass plate in place.
E.) Right profile. Stripe still needs to be added to pants.
F.) 3/4 front shot. (The circular base is moveable.)
G.) Painting moving along. I love The Chief's whole demeanor. He's a fighter. He's taken his lumps, and he's still on the ball. Yet he's managed to maintain a boyish look of confidence; it's almost as if he knows something we don't. Could this year be a pennant season?
H.) Almost there. 45+ hours start to finish. Labor plus materials, $920 plus applicable taxes.