Friday, 24 May 2013

Painting a Baseball Bat For the Toronto Blue Jays

I recently created a piece on a raw spruce baseball bat for the Toronto Blue Jays. This was for their annual gala fundraiser called The Curve Ball, held in Toronto, each May.

My piece was based on the interests of a particular player; #53, Melky Cabrera. His interests include Land Rovers, Reggaeton music and movies. These played an integral role in the images I painted on the bat.

Painting on a round surface was a lot of fun. It opened me up to new possibilities and possible future endeavours of painting on various primed objects.

One thing I did was use the roundness to my advantage. For example, the handle of the bat has a long strip of film wrapped around it. I felt this was a neat way to draw in a 360-degree manner.

The process was very similar to my flat pieces. I primed the bat with a clear gesso and did all the ink drawing first.

I filled in various parts of the bat with paint and stencils. One thing I couldn't do that I usually add is the effect of a flat pool of liquid paint left to dry before adding more layers on top of it. Because the bat is round the paint would just run off to the sides!

At the end, the bat was on display and ready for charity auction in Toronto. However, it was pulled from the show last minute because the player association did not like the fact that I had included a Puerto Rico flag on the bat, as Melky Cabrera has an issue with that flag. I included it as a reference to the origins of Reggaeton music.

I am happy I got to finish the piece but I am pretty upset that my piece was subject to an obvious case of art censorship - where one person got to decide its fate without understanding what was in my piece and why.


  1. Censorship of such a beautiful work is ridiculous! If they had restrictions, they should have mentioned them before you did all that work. If the Jays continue to struggle, it must be because they have horrible art karma!

  2. ya i agree - i was given interests and hobbies to make my art piece there should have also been a mention of what NOT to include. Pain in the butt for me because I was banking on all the people at the event seeing my work..and that was taken away :S

  3. What a frustrating outcome after all your hard work. If someone has the power to pull your piece then they should have been given the opportunity during the creation process to okay the design, otherwise tough luck.
    Were you paid for your time? Or was this a total volunteer job? I have done "charity" pieces for the BC Lions Society, but there were strict rules about symbols, such as flags, as they can carry so much meaning for people. Designs were discussed before creation. I was paid a fee for my time, and then signed over the piece to the organization.
    Thanks for sharing your story. It's a good learning experience and one to keep in mind when we do work for others.