Monday, March 14, 2016

Art of art

I'll get to some baseball cards in a moment, but I want to address some other cards sent to me by Jason of The Writer's Journey.

The first time I remember announcing what I wanted to be when I grew up was in fourth grade. I think it was some sort of class assignment, but what I recall clearly is that I said I wanted to be "an artist."

That's right. Not a baseball player or football player like every other boy (perhaps even at that time I knew it was a pipe dream), but an artist. I even visualized myself with a palette and tubes of paint, wearing a beret and standing in front of an easel. It seemed weird to me even then, as if I was already questioning my decision.

But art, in all of its forms, has always appealed to me and been in me. My family is filled with people who drew, played musical instruments and wrote. My grandmother wrote music and her ability to write was handed down to me, which was handed down to my daughter. And because I can write, other art forms that include writing have interested me -- mainly musicians and comedians. I can relate to both of them and see myself in both of them, because of how much of those pursuits hinge on writing.

I can draw, but I don't really do it much, so I'm not practiced in it. The ability to create a picture has always been interesting to me and is one of the reasons why I enjoy baseball cards -- the photograph, the presentation of that photograph, is creating a picture. It's creating art.

Some of my favorite artistic moments are when art is created of art. Musicians singing about painters. Comedians talking about actors. And that's why I enjoy the subset -- historic concerts -- in 1991 Pro Set MusiCards so much. Each card shows the poster art for a famous concert from the late '60s/early '70s. The posters were art about art.

Jason sent a few of them:

Very psychedelic and very cool.

I still need five more cards from this subset. I don't have a big urge to complete the full MusiCards set, but I do want to complete the subset.

There's the want list: #247, #248, #256, #259, #260

Just in case I do want to complete the full set, Jason sent a few more cards:

A bunch of legends, most before my time, but they were all over the radio when I hit my teenage years.

A couple of wild men. Jason didn't send me any pop princesses.

All right, some of you are still waiting for baseball. The Writer's Journey did not disappoint:

Here are four Dodger needs from the very smoke-filled 2016 Topps. Very little that's redeeming in this set, but I do appreciate an acknowledgement of the "4+1" game on cardboard. The Dodgers' epic back-to-back-to-back-to-back ninth inning HR binge against the Padres and Garciaparra's clinching blast in the 10th will celebrate its 10th anniversary in September.

Oh, look, four 1991 Topps. How exciting.





Fooled you! It's four 1991 Topps micro minis!

I am deathly afraid of losing micro cards, so I bundle them up tight in a box and they almost never see the light. I hate to do that, but making cards that tiny is not a good idea.

That's one thing about art in the baseball card world. It has to be functional, too.

Last card is a 1993 micro of the four-rookie Mike Piazza prospects card. It's virtually impossible to read anything on this card except for "Top prospects." I only know the names because I have the card memorized.

As I grew older, being a traditional "artist" stopped appealing to me. Painting was too messy. Drawing became a hobby, but that's all I wanted it to be. Music was too time-consuming. Writing ended up becoming my main medium and I found a career through it -- erasing every artist's fear that they will be nothing but a "starving artist."

So, actually, the fourth-grade me was correct: I did become an artist when I grew up.

Art may not pay the bills like jobs in the financial, engineering or technological industries. But it is satisfying in so many other ways and it's helped me appreciate many aspects of life that I would simply overlook without that artist's perspective.


  1. I have a few of the original 60's Fillmore West postcards in my collection

  2. I have a solution for those Micro cards. They fit perfectly in mini card pages. (the A&G mini size pages) You turn the micros sideways and put 3 cards in each pocket. I know you are kind of a perfectionist about how cards fit in pages but you have to at least try it because they fit perfectly.

  3. How funny.I clicked on the micro Piazza ,Delgado card to get a better look at the other two guys,and the card was still micro.

  4. Took me forever to realize what the name of the group was on the one next to The Doors. (It's Big Brother, as in Big Brother & The Holding Company, with lead singer Janis Joplin.) There's such a thing as TOO psychedelic! B^)

  5. I really, really, really wish someone would buy the Pro Set franchise and start releasing new series of MusiCards. Those poster cards are awesome... and so are Crosby, Stills, & Nash.