A special painting, "Brothers-In-Arms," featuring Mean Joe Greene carrying Lynn Swann in his arms will be used to raise funds for 412 Food Rescue as a part of their #HuddleforHunger program on December 1, 2019. See Q&A with the artist below!
Q & A with Artist – Kait Schoeb
What inspires you to paint Pittsburgh's legendary sports figures and scenes?
What inspires me to paint legendary sport figures and scene are the fans. Give the people what they want! Pittsburgh’s a great sports town and they love and support my work especially when it’s sports related. It also is a way to show my Pittsburgh pride. I was really excited when My BFF Social reached out about this. 412 Food Rescue is a great organization and I’m happy my art can support such a worthwhile cause!
When did you first start working as an artist full time?
I started working as an artist full time a few years ago. I started commissions about 10 years ago but balanced working as an artist and juggling part time jobs to make ends meet till a few years ago. I’m incredibly fortunate to now be able to work full time as an artist, but not without paying my dues and working hard to achieve that goal.
What other projects are you working on that we may look forward to?
Some other projects I’m working on right now: I’m currently gearing up for the holiday season with pet portraits and other portraits as Christmas gifts. I’m just wrapping up filming an episode about commissioned artist in the Pacific Northwest for the Design Network. That has been a lot of fun showing how I create a commission painting and how I connect and work with my clients. I’m also pushing hard to have rainbow crosswalks painted in Shadyside to represent the LGBTQ community. Seattle has such a visually cool and business supportive LGBTQ neighborhood. They all support each other and continue to grow and thrive their businesses in one collective area. I really want to bring that to Pittsburgh. Although I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore, I still have a lot of love and pride for the city and want to continue giving back to the community. Pittsburgh made my career. I owe it to Pittsburgh to give back.
What is your art process like?
My art process always starts with a photo or multiple photographs. From there I draw the image or images on the canvas and get to painting. If it’s a commission piece I send photos of the progress to the client as I go along. I love to show progression photos on social media as well. It’s one of my favorite parts and I know other people really enjoy seeing before and after photos of the painting.
Do you look at the sports image and then paint free hand using acrylic paint? or is it a mixed medium like Warhol?
Yup! I look at the image in my left hand and I paint using acrylic paint (or oil depending on the painting) to paint with my right. Over the years I’ve just used the image on my phone in my left hand to look off of instead of a hard photo. This way I don’t get paint on someone’s photograph and I can use my phone to zoom in so I can see more detail in the photo.
Would you send a picture that we may use to publish and promote you when we promote the painting?
When you do figure out where and when you’re going to auction off the piece can you let me know? I have a couple people already asking for it on LinkedIn so I’ll give you guys a shout out and send people your way.
History of photo and painting featuring Mean Joe Greene carrying Lynn Swann in his arms.
The iconic image was described in Dan Rooney’s book, My 75 Years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL, “The brutal conditions of the game stand out in my mind, but even more brutal was the hit Raiders’ defensive back George Atkinson delivered to Lynn Swann. The blow knocked Swann unconscious. Almost before the whistle sounded, Joe Greene bolted onto the field, ran over to Lynn’s motionless form, and by himself picked him up and carried him off the field.”
The painting was commissioned and donated by My BFF Social, a Pittsburgh-based digital marketing agency. According to Matt Gentile, Managing Director of My BFF Social, “We are happy to support 412 Food Rescue as our sole philanthropic partner and donate 100% of the profits from this one-of-a-kind piece of art and sports history.”
"We are so thankful for everything that our community does to support 412 Food Rescue," said Leah Lizarondo, CEO & Co-Founder, 412 Food Rescue. "Matt Gentile and his team at My BFF Social continue to develop innovate ways to support our mission and we are truly thankful for the effort."