With all the different blog and Facebook posts from the Denver road trip, it's finally time to actually reveal the reason behind the road trip. We were driving the "Sparty: The Mascot" painting that I created for ArtPrize 2010 to its new home and owner in Denver, Colorado. It just so happens to be that the new owner is a Michigan State alum who helped make their basketball program into one of the top in the nation. He won the 2000 National Championship and numerous other awards, accomplishments, etc., too long to list.
[View the step-by-step images of the Sparty painting]
[More images after the jump]
Did I mention that he already has an incredibly successful NBA career, is known as a great shooter and powerful dunker, and even won the NBA Dunk Contest? Oh yeah, and he's only 30 - which means he is just now in his prime.
Spencer and kids showing off their muscles like Sparty...
We didn't have the easiest time installing it. Let's just say we tried our best and decided, after drilling numerous holes in the walls, that we'd leave it up for the hanging professionals to come in and make sure Sparty is secured and level. Apparently, we should all keep our day jobs.
I only had to make one alteration once the piece was hung: the Michigan "M" in Sparty's eyes. Sparty was initially staring down and taking on Michigan head-on. However, the rivalry is so strong that true Michigan Staters cannot even bare to see that Michigan logo. So, I simply painted over the "M" and upgraded it to the Michigan State "S" logo.
Jason is best known to most for his basketball abilities, but the highlight of the trip for me was being able to spend some time with him and his family. Fans often forget that the players they watch on TV are also human beings off the court, outside of their jobs. The greatest experiences I have had doing "the T.WAY collection" has been getting to know the players as individuals.
Jason has a beautiful family that is a blast to be around. While we were out there, it felt like we were visiting family. They opened their lives to us for a few days and I'm grateful for their hospitality. I certainly hope we'll be able to do bigger and better projects together in the near future.