Growing up in the Midwest, I was surrounded by football from August through January of most years. I’ve never been a fan, but I’m interested in how people can throw themselves into fandom, loving a team while connecting to others through such love.
I had an early idea for these paintings from a New York Times photo of a rural high school team in practice, showing football more as an ideal than a reality. The image was sentimental and nostalgic. It was playful combat under a large fall sky. This photo reminded me of my own experience growing up around football, disconnected from it, and it brought me to think about how easily this game morphs into an idealized, fantastical version of itself.
Around the same time, I was also inspired by a traveling show of Roman sculpture from a collection of the Louvre. I was especially interested in one small relief in particular (which is quoted in Memorabilia). I loved how the sculpture carried my attention throughout the scene by placing special emphasis on certain moments: a detail such as a facial expression or the gesture of an arm. While taking on some of the grandeur of football through large scale painting, I hope to bring together all of these influences into Scrimmage, combining Roman sculpture with American football, showing how strange, dramatic, and theatrical, on the scale of opera, this game looks to me.