Bats for Brats

In late 2015, Scott Schindel, Cam Hoff, and myself began work on a baseball bat art show. We chose 10 Calgary-based artists to create a piece of art on one of Scott's beautiful handmade bats.

On top of organizing the event and creating branding materials, I also completed a bat. My concept was based on baseball advertising from the 1970's and 80's in and around Alberta.

“390 ft.” is the marker at straightaway center field at Burns Stadium in Calgary–home to the Expos, the Cannons, the Vipers, and the Dinos.

The outfield wall of a ballpark contains prime advertising real estate. The pace of the game is slow and a fan’s mind has the opportunity to wander, be distracted, and become fixated on the oversized outfield ads.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, advertising was hitting it’s stride. Everyone from Pepsi to John Deere wanted a piece of the pie and were using ballparks to spread the word. The ads included above serve as a snapshot of the time, celebrating the trends, cheesy messages, jingles, and best wishes from “Jim and Scotty of Gentlemen Men’s Wear.” The included ads were extracted from season programs from teams playing in Alberta, Montana and Idaho during the 1970’s and 80’s.

Acetone Transfer

Stencil

Hidden Gem

I'd heard that Jeremy Klaszus was in possession of a milk crate filled with local baseball ephemera. Jeremy was gracious enough to let me borrow the stash, which I then scoured for usable material and scanned. I found about 150 ads that were usable, and went about cleaning them up a bit, reducing extraneous text, and preparing for print.

Acetone worked perfectly to transfer the ads, one-by-one, onto the bat. Following the transfer, I created a "390 ft." stencil and used it to thinly apply red oil-based paint, carefully ensuring that the ads beneath would still show through.

Since the bat was auctioned off at the event, I wanted to create something that would preserve the bat as well as to give away as a thank-you for everyone who helped me out. I put together a poster and created some risograph prints which are available on the cheap from my shop.

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