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Nov 05, 2019
The story of my latest KU piece, The Fieldhouse
Any Jayhawk would agree that 1651 Naismith Drive is hallowed ground. So, just as I did with my collection of six Jayhawk paintings, I researched the Fieldhouse extensively before beginning this painting to pay it’s due respect. In the words of Kansas All-American, Tameka Dixon, “There is no place like Phog Allen Fieldhouse…It’s the mecca of basketball.” This painting is also officially licensed by KU.
Early on, I decided to pay homage in this piece to that special KU tradition of throwing newspaper confetti into the air when our team is announced at home games. There’s an electric energy when you’re at a game in Allen Fieldhouse, and - to me - the confetti has always been this uniquely celebratory element that you can’t find anywhere else.
In order to do this, I visited the Spencer Research Library on campus and pulled the original University Daily Kansan newspaper from March 1, 1955 — the day Allen Fieldhouse was dedicated. While no one would give me an original copy (believe me, I tried), I was able to very carefully photograph and reproduce that newspaper.
I carefully tore that replica into confetti and later glued it onto my canvas.
The newspaper makes up the base of the building itself in the painting. See a timelapse video below of the full painting process of this piece.
In addition to the newspaper, there are lots of hidden Easter Eggs in this painting. You’ll see the “Daily Kansan” masthead divided up between the upper windows, one letter at a time. The date from the masthead, March 1, 1955 can be found directly above the statue of Phog Allen. And Dr Naismith himself is hiding in the painting. But you’ll have to come see the original to learn where he is. See below video for details of the original painting.
Fun fact: there is a photo of the original scoreboard in that paper and the article talks about how the Jayhawk on the board “blinked its eye” every time K.U. scored. I love that!
I also, of course, spent time in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics at Allen Fieldhouse, combing through the amazing collection of KU tradition. I stood inside the empty Fieldhouse which buzzes even when no one else is inside. I may have even dug up a little bit of dirt in the front lawn, but don’t tell the groundskeepers...
And stay tuned for the limited edition prints and open edition prints to launch soon.
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