Monday, June 18, 2012

He Floated Like An Angel - Jackie Robinson Portrait

In January 2011 I began collaborating with my brother, artist/illustrator Gregory Truett Smith, getting exposure for and promoting his art. When I asked what he wanted to do first, Greg said, without a doubt, "Print giclees on canvas of my 'Jackie'".

Greg considers "He Floated Like An Angel" (1997, 72" x 48")  his Jackie Robinson painting, his most important original painting. Started my research at National Baseball Hall of Fame, clicked on "R" for Jackie Robinson. When his profile came up there was a quote in a box: "He could hit, he could bunt, he could steal he could run. He played with intimidating skills and burned with a dark fire." Roger Kahn, Author. Little brother said he wasn't aware of the quote, and told me the flames off Jackie's back have a couple of meanings. When we were kids and watched cartoons in the 60's, flames coming off of something or someone meant they were going really fast. Jackie was indeed very fast. He was also a very persecuted man who endured terrible treatment for the sole reason of being African-American. Even his teammates wouldn't sit by him in the dugout.

My brother was drawn to paint Jackie Robinson because he related to Jackie as an underdog. Professionally  trained at Ringling School of Art in Sarasota ('82), Greg paints his visions, boyhood dreams and heroes. For three decades now, he's been degraded by many who've told him to get a real job, or paint stuff that has a broad appeal and paint a lot of them - pump 'em out. But that's not how Greg rolls. Just like Jackie, who courageously never wavered in his determination to break into whites only professional baseball and always fought for equality for all African-Americans in our country, my brother has never given up on his dream of "making it" in the art world and exposing his "social realism" art to the masses.

Greg told me "I don't care if people like it or not. I'm a social realist and just want my art to make people think, to evoke some kind of emotion". 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderfully written Carla. Your brother sounds like a true artist; passionate and true to his craft.