Miami Who?

Medium: Acrylic paint on plywood
Dimensions: 35" W x 52" H
Price: $40,000

In the early 1980's I made the acquaintance of John Ayers, an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49'ers. He stopped by my studio/woodshop on half a dozen occasions because he loved fine woodwork. Our rambling conversations of woodwork, life and families went on for hours but we never once discussed football.

Because of that brief personal connection, I paid attention to his career and got caught up in 49'ers fever. When Super Bowl XIX was to be played in Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, my old stomping ground, I got carried away by the hype. Before the game, as the stadium was being readied, I walked around to enjoy the building excitement and became determined to create an artwork.

For years I'd wanted to do something stupid with the plugs used to fill veneer knotholes on the 'A' sides of commercial plywood. A zillion guys, myself included, had looked at them and thought, "Hey, footballs." So, all the design elements fell into place. I would do a plywood painting shaped like a football and accentuate a couple of plywood football 'plugs.' With characteristic in-your-face fandom I entitled the piece, Miami Who?

The painting itself was a ridiculous process. When you look at plywood you see the pattern of light and dark. The light wood are the summer rings when the tree that was peeled into a veneer grew fastest. The dark wood are winter rings. The lighter wood covers a much greater percentage of any sheet of plywood and I determined to paint most of the background image only on the summer rings. It was laborious! The two knothole plugs became footballs and various elements were painted on top of the background on which I had even painted the Stanford Tree. Those included the Stanford Stadium, the main marquee at the stadium and a 49er’s helmet among others. It was a real labor of Love and topped off by a wooden frame I created to embellish the painting.

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Here is a larger version of the painting:

http://www.theoreticsinstitute.org/pics/MIamiWhoLG.jpg