Hobby Musings: Graig Kreindler Brings Baseball to LifeHobby Musings: Graig Kreindler Brings Baseball to Life – Baseball’s greatest players and teams have been captured on many forms of artwork over the years. However, there may not be anyone today who does a better job of documenting the game’s rich history on a painting canvas than Graig Kreindler.  Known for portraying baseball’s famous and obscure alike, Mr. Kreindler’s works defy belief with just how lifelike they are.  I had the chance to catch up with him to discuss his origins in painting, as well as what he’d still like to accomplish with his work.

KS: How did you get started doing your baseball artwork?
So, I kind of started doing baseball artwork when I was young, I guess around 6, 7 or 8 years old. I’m 41 and grew up in the 80s. I fell in love with drawing the cartoons I was watching like He-Man or G.I. Joe. Some point at that age, I discovered what was left of my dad’s baseball card collection. It was the classic tale of mom throwing them out while he was away because she thought he had no interest in them anymore. Even with that, he still had some really nice cards that were from his childhood. They weren’t necessarily in great condition, but they had a lot of sentimental value to him, and they were still amazing to me. He was born in 1944, so he was buying a lot of late 40s Bowman and early 50s Bowman and Topps. The images then didn’t use photography as much, but they were illustrated. In my head, I made some sort of connection that these images of Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra were drawn and painted by somebody. I guess I figured, I draw too, so why don’t I try to draw some of these ballplayers my dad loves? So it kind of started at that age.

By the time I was an adolescent, I was still into baseball. Not as much as when I was a kid, and I think the kind of art I wanted to make was more fantasy and science-fiction based, because it was what I was into it at the time. As I got older and ready for college, I was wondering what I was going to do with my art. I had thought I would be a science fiction and fantasy book cover artist. I went to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, studied for about a year and found it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I still loved the imagery, but making the paintings didn’t really tug at my heart strings. During my senior year in my portfolio class, I got assignment to illustrate a relationship. The first relationship I thought of was the one between a pitcher and batter. Through that assignment, I did my first “mature” baseball painting. That was kind of when everything around it disappeared. I just enjoy it so much, the research, the painting. It makes me feel the way I want to feel when I’m doing artwork. I was 21 or 22 when I came to that realization

KS: How do you decide which subjects to paint?
A lot of work I do is commission-based, so I’d say more often than not, the client is deciding the subject. Very occasionally, they might give me carte blanche, and I can pick what I want to do. When it comes to that, the kind of image and subject I pick is something that has an interesting quality of light to it. I’m really kind of drawn to light and color more than a specific player. I love painting the Babe Ruths and the Mickey Mantles of the world. However, if I can find a reference image to a player that nobody has heard of and it has interesting composition or light, I’m going to gravitate to that nine times out of ten.

Hobby Musings: Graig Kreindler Brings Baseball to LifeKS: Typically, how long does it take you to finish a project?
Depends on the size of the piece and the involvement. Right now, I’m working on a painting of the 1869 Red Stockings. It’s a team shot with 10 figures. Not a huge painting, but because it’s pretty intense in terms of research and labor, it takes many, many months. If I’m doing a simpler portrait, I can complete it over the course of a few weeks or months. Some paintings take years. Not years of straight work mind you, but years of me going back and forth while I do multiple paintings.

KS: What’s the longest it’s taken you to complete one?
There’s one painting I did of the entire 1927 Yankees team. They are standing and sitting at Yankee Stadium right in front of the stands. So that’s 31 figures, 30 of whom are wearing their homes jerseys with pinstripes. 31 likenesses that have to be right. The stands in the background and architecture of the stadium have to be right. About 100 or so fans behind them that I have to render.  All of that stuff combined, and going back and forth with other paintings, it might have taken me close to eight years. The client is a friend who understood what a monumental undertaking it was, so he was very patient. It was a good feeling to finally get it to him, especially because he loved and still loves the painting.

**Be sure to check back next week for the second part of our conversation.**

Hobby Musings: Graig Kreindler Brings Baseball to Life – More Resources

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Hobby Musings: Graig Kreindler Brings Baseball to Life – Image Gallery

Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Hobby Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.

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