Thursday, February 11, 2010

This will be an ongoing documentation of the development process for my master's thesis.

Baseball has seen a dramatic decline in the number of African American players over the past few decades. Once numbering nearly 30% of the baseball population, the current black population in Major League Baseball is down to 10.4% as of April 2009. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a program that works to keep inner city youth off the streets and introduce them to the excitement and virtues of baseball. What began as a program to develop a neglected resource of talent also sought to teach the children the value of an education. The appeal must be made to this next generation of players to make baseball relevant once again. I will be producing 8 portrait illustrations that strive to highlight the heroic and active qualities of baseball. These images will have the goal of fashioning stronger icons from current MLB stars like Torii Hunter, CC Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard etc. The illustrations will be used as posters to promote baseball, little league, RBI, and the positive impact baseball can have on a child's everyday life. Rather than using a stock player photo that captures a split second of the action, these paintings can offer more dynamic attention to the sights, sounds and emotions of the game or conceptual ties to the player's life. These posters should excite, inspire awe and stir an emotion within the viewer. While not expecting these images to change the world, I hope for the youth audience to connect with them in some way. Whether or not they would want to hang the posters up in their room, I would consider it a success if they realized that there are other avenues to pursue and people like them who have blazed the trail. Baseball can become a cultural touchstone as it was in the past, but the marketing needs to make it relevant to today's easily distracted youth.


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