In the world of popular art and illustration the main attraction is film. Comics. Super heroes. Bands. Miscellaneous and ironic pop culture icons. Subject matter with roots in subculture, pulled from the fog of cult magnetism.
From Cleveland, Ohio comes illustrator Oliver Barrett tossing baseball into the spotlight. ‘Baseball Jerks‘ is his series of portraits depicting some of the sport’s skilled misfits.
Barrett’s take on ‘Mark McGwire‘ places the overt declaration of ‘Cheat’ across Big Mac’s jersey, with the twin cardinals defecating on that title. In this portrait is the distaste from the depths of fandom for Mark McGwire’s steroid use. That giant letdown from a simpleton hero.
Barrett shows his keen sense of wit and detail by adding the facepaint of the Ultimate Warrior of WWF fame paint on the marked potential Hall of Famer. In Barrett’s depiction, McGwire is equated with the faux athleticism of the buffoonish acrobatics of staged wrestling entertainment.
His portrait of ‘Billy Ripken‘ takes aim at a controversy every kid from ’90s knew about, the famed ‘Fuck Face’ bat Ripken held in his sought after 1989 baseball card from Fleer.
For a young baseball fan and card collector of that era it was our first taste of how the ‘machine’ can go wrong, how mistakes can be made on a major level and how celebrity can be put on the chopping block for open ridicule.
Barrett’s illustrations are loose and to the point — each portrait the mugshot of a career.
8″ x 8″ prints of Oliver Barrett’s ‘Baseball Jerks‘ can be found at his store HERE.