19nine has followed Adam Ballinger Art (adamballingerart.com) for a while on social media and continued talking internally about how to incorporate him into to what we do. It seemed like a natural fit. Indiana raised, Michigan State alum, basketball junkie with a talent for drawing caricatures. Something 19nine has been wanting to get into for quite some time. After reaching out to him and bouncing ideas back and forth we are proud to release our first collaboration with him (our vintage caricature of Purdue coaching legend Gene Keady). In doing so we wanted to give him a proper introduction to our customers through a two part interview with High Volume Shooters. Be sure to follow him on Instagram (@adamballingerart) and Twitter (@adam_ballinger) and show him some love.
Part II- The Artist
HVS: Basketball ends and early in life for most people when did you start thinking about your next chapter and was it art from the get go?
AB: I started thinking about it more seriously when I turned 30, I always wanted it to be art but wasn't really sure how to go about it.
HVS: Your mom was an art teacher so artistic talent runs in the family. Did you grow up drawing or was that something that came later in life?
AB: I started drawing young and never stopped!
HVS: Did you take any art classes at MSU?
AB: I took one art class over one summer, there just wasn’t enough time with basketball. I majored in advertising so unfortunately I only took that one art class and not more.
HVS: Do you have any art influences?
AB: Many! I've got probably 4 or 5 artists that I look to as direct influences and inspirations.
HVS: Who are they, if you don't mind naming a few and what do you admire about their work?
AB: Travis Millard, Jim Rugg, Raphael Grampa, Gabriel Ba. They have very unique hand drawn styles that are immediately recognizable.
HVS: In two words describe Adam Ballinger Art.
AB: Cartoonishly grimy.
HVS: Our personal favorite is your half Larry Bird, half Birdman “Threezus” logo. What was the inspiration behind that logo?
AB: The inspiration behind it was how ridiculous it would have been to see Larry Bird in modern day attire celebrating like a madman after hitting one 3.
HVS: You’ve done 100s of caricatures since retiring from professional basketball. In your opinion what are some keys to creating a good illustration of a real person as a cartoonish character?
AB: Practice! But also paying close attention to what that person is about and sticking to your own personal style.
HVS: Your designs/t-shirts have been featured on The Starters. How cool is that seeing your product on a national show?
AB: Very cool, but more because they seem like great guys to hang out with.
HVS: You just did your first collaboration with 19nine on our Gene Keady caricature shirt. What features were important for you to try to capture in the Keady illustration?
AB: The Gene Keady scowl!
HVS: If you could hand pick one design/illustration job, besides 19nine (sarcastic plug), where would it be and why?
AB: Illustrating a book of legendary stories of sports cult heroes.
HVS: What's your favorite sports logo current or past?
HVS: Why that particular logo?
AB: I think it was the early 90s that they re-did it to what it is now. I just remember seeing it the first time and thinking it looked tough. It fit those Knicks teams perfectly.
HVS: Speaking of art. Hoosiers or White Men Can't Jump?
AB: Hoosiers by a mile.
HVS: My guy!!!! You couldn't have returned to Indiana if you went with any other option.
AB: I'm well aware. Ha!
HVS: We've got a few more collabs with you in the works. Besides that, what are the next steps for Adam Ballinger Art?
AB: I just want to keep improving and drawing what inspires me in life. If I can get paid to draw and actually enjoy the subject matter...then I'm living the dream!