Neal Portnoy Leaving his Mark Through Baseball Art

Artist Neal Portnoy

Artist Neal Portnoy

Artist Neal Portnoy uses his personal experience, love of sports, and artistic talent to bring his subjects to life. Remarkably, the Massachusetts-based artist creates his stunning works with nothing more than an arsenal of markers, creating paintings with an evocative quality that capture the essence of the athletes depicted. Baseball Art recently pulled Portnoy away from his studio just long enough for him to answer a few questions about his long history in the sports art field.

Baseball Art:  When did you realize you wanted to become a baseball artist and did you have anyone help push you along the way?

Neal Portnoy: I realized that utilizing my past as a former player, college coach and current pitching instructor I could combine my artistic abilities with my knowledge of the game and create my baseball artwork. I’ve been honored to be commissioned by former players, organizations etc. to create my baseball art for a number of outlets from presentations of originals to publishing reproductions for creative applications from both the print media to charitable organizations looking to generate revenues.

Baseball Art: Have you ever had the opportunity to share your artwork of a particular player with the athlete?

Reggie Jackson, by Neal Portnoy

Reggie Jackson, by Neal Portnoy

Neal Portnoy: Being a baseball artist, I’ve rubbed elbows with a number of current and former players. My favorite is former Boston Red Sox closer Dick Radatz. I still remember my old friend, known as “The Monster”, who passed a number of years ago, as the funniest person I’ve ever met!

 Baseball Art: Who throughout the history of baseball would you like to have the chance to watch a game with?

Neal Portnoy: I would have loved to watch a game with Ted Williams. I was commissioned by MLB Players Assoc. to illustrate his retirement piece a number of years ago at an event called “An Evening with #9 and Friends” at the Wang Center in Boston.

Baseball Art:  Could you describe your “Studio Space” and what we would see if we visited you during a project?  (Your table, what is on the walls, what music is playing or TV shows?  What time of day are you most productive?

Armed with literally hundreds of markers, artist Neal Portnoy has established himself as a leader in the sports art category

Armed with literally hundreds of markers, artist Neal Portnoy has established himself as a leader in the sports art category

Neal Portnoy: My studio is in my home and covers about 1200 square feet. Clients come and expect to be here for about 10 minutes — and I’m kicking the out two hours later. With over 40 years in the business, my studio is a museum!

I’m kind of unique in that the medium I work in is marker. A former sports writer once said, “No one seems to be able to do what he does with those things!”

I don’t have the 9-5 type job. When the juices flow, I could be on the drawing board well past midnight some days, or when I’ve got a deadline. My former baseball instincts as a relief pitcher kick in and I love the pressure.

When I’m at the drawing board my table is covered with markers (I have about 3000 markers in the studio. I’m either watching sports center or CNN.

For more of Portnoy’s work, visit his website.

Painting of David Ortiz by artist Neal Portnoy.

Painting of David Ortiz by artist Neal Portnoy.

Painting of Dustin Pedroia by artist Neal Portnoy.

Painting of Dustin Pedroia by artist Neal Portnoy.

 

 

Posted in Baseball Artists, Q&As

2 comments on “Neal Portnoy Leaving his Mark Through Baseball Art
  1. Very nice but his particular interview seems a little sparce. With over 40 years in the business I would like to know more about Neal! Perhaps questions about artisic history (did the person attend art school, self taught, etc.) technique (how did he come to be so proficient with markers and is this the only medium he works in?) and artistic admirations and influences (in and out of the genre) could enhance these interviews.

    • Chris S. Cornell says:

      Hi Jonathan,
      Neal gave us great answers and we published every word he gave us. Artists are free to provide as much info as they want, and to date we have not had the need to cut any of the answers. That being said, you are correct in noting that Neal’s Q&A was a bit shorter than some of the others. Perhaps one day soon we’ll get a chance to talk with Neal again, and we’ll be sure to try to get some follow-ups.
      Hope all is well in your art career, Jonathan. We’d like to catch up with you for a Q&A sometime soon.
      Best,
      Chris

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