Chicago baseball has always been a part of Grant Smith's life. His motherís side of the family is Cubs fans by proximity, raised on the north side of Chicago on Wellington and Ainslie. His fatherís side of the family is White Sox fans and lived on the west side of Chicago.
ďThose days spent at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park as a child were extremely important parts of my life. People may think itís silly to put so much importance on baseball but I think the sport is a symbol for life."
Grant's paintings illustrate the elements of hate, greed, racism, war, religion, intolerance and depression.
"My paintings have a bit of an edge to them. I describe my work as tongue-in-cheek, tragic-comedy. Things can get so crazy in this world, I think sometimes you have to laugh.Ē
Grant describes his subjects as those of the bygone era. Many of his paintings' heroes were deceased long before Grant was even born.
"Many times when I paint Rube Foster, Joe Jackson or Hack Wilson I think of the issues and questions I have with the world, critically dissecting American culture. If baseball is Americaís national pastime, it makes perfect sense to use it as a platform for these topics."
Bring Home The Bacon - This painting is Joe Jackson in his old age about to crack an egg on a burning skillet. Eight pieces of bacon hang on the wall with flies eating it as it rots. Itís about how the owners used the players, often paying them rock bottom wages. Itís about manipulation and money. Outside, Joeís wife is trying to make sense of it all.
We Can Dream - This is a painting about Rube Foster and his wife. The originator of the Negro League has a white baseline above his head representing the white racial divide. His hat is close to the edge, about to break through. The black and white image of the Fosterís is blurred - a statement about how instrumental his wife was to the Leagueís success being forgotten. A copy of an early 1919 interracial game and a Foster wedding invitation are affixed to the canvas.
Misinforming the Innocent Eyes - This painting shows Joe Jackson's eyes repeating with a contour line painted on top. Joe probably had the best statistics of anyone who played in the 1919 World Series but unfortunately he was never allowed to finish his career, which in my opinion, would be a Hall of Fame career.
Click here to see more of Grant Smithís artwork.