Most artists who specialize to any degree in the creation of baseball-themed artwork are aware of the Baseball Art Facebook page. Many artists have used the page as a resource which has led them to finding information about shows, links to articles about issues affecting sports artists, or for finding others who also work hard within the same demanding profession.
Anyone who has ventured on to the Baseball Art Facebook page over the past two years has seen the hard work and dedication of sports artist Brent Naughton. The Cincinnati-based artist has posted and shared hundreds, possibly thousands of times as a manager on the page in an effort to move baseball art forward for those who are involved in the profession. Naughton, who was featured in an informative Q&A on this site last year, has devoted his time and effort (for no monetary reward) with the hopes that his work would lead to greater exposure for the artists and galleries, and make it easier for fans of baseball art to find quality artwork depicting America’s pastime.
Well today, as Naughton steps down from the position after nearly two years, I want to publicly thank him for a job well done. The baseball art community has benefitted greatly because of his work — and artists, galleries and fans of baseball art will benefit in the years to come, thanks to the selfless work he has done. Naughton’s willingness to promote other artists who could easily be looked at as competitors is something that many artists would be unable or unwilling to do. Naughton shared the work of scores of artists, and actively encouraged galleries to hold shows featuring baseball art. He also introduced artists to each other, allowing them to escape the island that many had previously inhabited for years.
Naughton has also put up with more than his share of the nonsense and criticism that goes along with trying to perform a public service in this world we live in. He continued to work with the best interests of the baseball art community in mind, even when he was criticized and even at times attacked by individuals lacking the vision or understanding to comprehend what a service he has provided.
When he initially volunteered, it was during the 2012 postseason, and the goal was to drum up some support for the baseball art community during the lead up to the World Series. Well, the posting and community-building worked. Interest spiked, and he was motivated to continue his work into the 2013 season, where he helped develop a successful Q&A series that then carried over into the 2014 season. Naughton ended up serving far longer than he had ever planned, and we’re finally at the point where he has decided to step down from his official role as manager.
I’m hoping that the time Brent gets back will allow him to create even more of his brilliant artwork, and that he has the chance to exhibit in more shows than ever. As someone who has long admired his work, I hope 2014 is the year that I finally get the chance to see his work in person.
Thank you Brent, for a job well done!