Collect in Texas Collector Feature: Grant Smith
Grant Smith grew up in the Dallas Metroplex and now resides in Denton where he collects, and creates, baseball themed art. Grant has earned two art degrees from the University of North Texas and also played baseball for the Eagles. Just like many baseball fans in the Metroplex, Grant has been a life long Rangers fan and has attended numerous games in Arlington. Among them are many notable moments in Rangers history, including No Ryan’s 5,000th punch out, Rafael Palmeiro’s 500th home run, and Sammy Sosa’s 600th home run.
As a collector, Grant has an eye for Ted Williams, the Cubs, and players from the Negro Leagues. Grant also hunts unique items that are tied to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. However, Grant isn’t just a collector of sports memorabilia. He is also a talented artist that uses sports as a platform to discuss social issues.
Grant uses his researcher mentality to find interesting, and oftentimes dark, stories about historically significant players. He then uses that information to portray some of the more arcane issues surrounding that person, as well as the subject’s social circumstances. Grant’s art allows him to add his visual narrative to their story. And who doesn’t love a good story?
“These paintings place the hero on a pedestal, only to kick it out from under them at the same time. They become ordinary in their misfortune, allowing the viewer a more realistic bond.”
Here are some of Grant’s pieces with descriptions provided by the artist.
WE CAN DREAM • The subject of this painting is Rube Foster, the originator of the Negro leagues. The white baseline above his head represents the white race line, his hat close to breaking through. The brown dirt under the baseline represents the skin pigment of the African-American players and how they were treated. The black and white image is of Foster and his wife. She was a great help to him, but was also unrecognized (that is why the image is blurred). There is a copy of a ticket to an early 1919 interracial game, along with a copy of a wedding invitation to the Fosters’ wedding. Foster sadly died in a mental institution in 1930. © 2001 • 48 by 48 inches • oil on canvas
OVERLOOKED UNFIT APPEARANCE • The subject of this painting is Satchel Paige. Half of his body is hollow, which represents the respect and dignity denied to him merely because of his skin pigment. A minimalist rectangle protrudes from the missing section of his body. The actual 3-D sculptural aspect forces the viewer to take notice of the minimal form initially, and to create the remainder of the image in their mind. In the center of this image is a small reflective piece of metal. The blurred reflection goes back to the viewer, asking them to question themselves rather than being a product of Social Learning Theory. © 2000 • 48 by 24 inches • oil on wood
EIGHT MEN OUT • Shoeless Joe Jackson and his seven teammates who were banned from baseball in 1919 are the subject of this painting. Although it was obvious by his play Jackson was innocent of throwing the series, Judge Landis banned him for life. The painting is on a 2″ deep wooden box with 8 holes drilled in the face. When you look through the holes you see money attached to the back of the box. 36 by 30 by 2 inches • oil on wood