Featured Baseball Artist - Monty Sheldon
Some of Monty Sheldon’s earliest memories are of creating and telling stories through art. His early love of drawing was influenced mostly by comic books and sports cards and ultimately led him to attend the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. After two years in the New Jersey school, Monty packed a suitcase, a bag of art supplies, a selection of books and a bag of cassette tapes and headed to Portland, Oregon. Portland was supposed to be a stop on the way to Australia, but Portland was to be the place where his artistic path would present itself. For nine years he worked at Dark Horse Comics and in his leisure time played and followed baseball.
In 1997, at a sports memorabilia show, a friend and memorabilia specialist, Mark Macrae showed Monty the art of Eric Black. Black had painted players’ images on the baseball. “I can honestly say that at that moment I had an actual epiphany.” Sheldon says. “There in front of me was the Rosetta Stone that tied my three passions, baseball, collectibles and art, together in one object. I knew instantly what direction my life was going to take.” Sheldon painted his first baseball, Rube Waddell (his all-time favorite baseball player) on January 10, 1998, and has completed nearly 725 fully painted baseballs since that time.
Monty’s baseball art has been shown in galleries and sports memorabilia exhibits across the country. His dedication to the game of baseball and his passion for art are evident in the exquisite rendering of images and in his careful story telling. His baseball art is painstakingly realistic and endeavors to portray the history of baseball in a unique and personal way. “A baseball is the most obvious canvas on which to tell the story of the game.” says Sheldon. “It’s not just the story of Major League Baseball or of the Pacific Coast League, Negro Leagues or All-American Girl League that is important, it is also our personal history of the game that I want to capture.” Sheldon is a unique baseball artist and has painted cards and balls for his son’s little league career and with this new project, is offering a new way to represent our connection to the game. The Piece of the Game project takes game used and autographed balls and allows the owner to create a one-of-a kind collectable. Sheldon’s hope is that folks with a connection to a particular game, player or experience can combine the actual in-play ball with his art and preserve a memory. This project combines the history of baseball with our personal history. “I get to tell the history of the game on a piece of actual history. How lucky am I to get to do that for a living. I am never going to play major league baseball but this project allows me to connect with the game on a new and exciting level. Game used, tagged and signed balls with an artistic representation of a moment in the game—really the connection doesn’t get any better than that.”
Monty understands that he is fortunate to be able to do what he loves as a full-time job. He lives in rural Ohio with his wife, Heather, his son Monty.