One New England artist has taken an old idea and put a baseball twist on it to create some unique pieces.
Chris Speakman is a history buff. He’s also a big baseball fan. The Somerville, Massachusetts resident has taken two passions and melded his own talents as an artist into a series of "propaganda prints" featuring the Boston Red Sox.
Those who’ve seen the original war-time messages will recognize the theme. During World War II, artwork was created to send appeals to citizens to buy war bonds, stand united or back soldiers in uniform. Speakman has applied the theme to his work, specializing in messages supporting his beloved Boston Red Sox past and present. The prints are for sale on his website and via his MySpace page.
"I’m a bit of a history buff, and have always enjoyed looking at the artwork on the old propaganda posters of the 40’s," Speakman related to SportsCollectorsDaily.com. "Not just the American ones but the British as well as the Axis powers too. I am also a Red Sox fan and season ticket holder, so I think the two interests were bound to meet at some point."
Speakman tries to marry the theme of a vintage poster with a related baseball slogan, designing the artwork on his computer and using a process similar to silk-screened t-shirts. "Each color requires a separate screen to print from. From there, ink is actually pressed through a stretched mesh screen with a stencil adhered to it to create an image on the paper."
Speakman creates 100 hand-signed and numbered prints, each for sale through his website. "From time to time I like to print on alternate surface like cardboard or wood, and that is usually a much smaller edition. Its a balance of printing enough to make it worth the time, but not so many that the allure of a limited edition is lost."
"The process takes about a week, depending on design time which can vary," Speakman says of his creations. "There is a chemical process involved to prepare each screen and that takes a day. Each color used takes a day to print and dry. The next color is layed over the previous color once it is dry."
Speakman is a life-long fan and collector who saved vintage baseball cards and spent hours writing players for autographs as a youngster. Now he’s creating his own collectibles.
The first print was entitled "United We Are Strong" and featured an image of David Ortiz. "It was more of an experiment than anything," Speakman explained. "I was familiarizing myself with the medium. I put in on MySpace and received a surprisingly good response. I decided to do more."
Thus far, other prints he’s created feature artwork of Jason Varitek, Curt Schilling, Diasuke Matsuzaka, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski among others. He’s hoping people will see them as a set that can be collected.
"I’m not sure if i have a favorite. They are all pretty special to me. The process involved is time consuming and takes concentration, so you become attached to all of them in their own way. That being said, I’m starting to create more complicated designs, which has been challenging. When im successful with one, it becomes my favorite for the moment."